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Buyer’s Guide to Facilities Management SoftwareUpdated: Feb. 15th, 2019
Facilities management software solutions help align the physical workplace with people who perform the work. This encompasses a range of activities, from asset management to equipment maintenance to work order processing. Consequently, there are a wide range of applications available to help facility managers control day-to-day operations. The facilities management software landscape stretches wide, and vendors can choose from a number of platforms to best service their management needs.
In general, facility management software is designed to manage assets and equipment, streamline the work order processes, and reduce space and maintenance costs. Most software applications offer an automated system for managing preventative and scheduled maintenance of an organization’s facilities and assets. It gives lower-level workers tools to work efficiently and enter data about repairs, parts, and materials, and offers managers control and visibility into maintenance histories, compliance, and the condition of company property.
Facilities management software plays a role in organizing and managing duties for a variety of industries, including government offices, campuses, religious institutions, manufacturing centers, property management companies, healthcare facilities, and myriad of corporate offices. It’s versatility makes facilities management software adaptable for almost any use case, but it can also lead to feature-bloat and unnecessary complexity. Furthermore, there are multiple different subcategories, including computerized maintenance management software (CMMS), enterprise asset management (EAM), and integrated workplace management systems (IWMS). While similar in design and function, there are important distinctions between each type.
This facilities management software guide will provide tips for managers and decision-makers during the purchase process. You’ll find insights on essential features, techniques for product comparison, and use case examples. You’ll also gain a better understanding what facilities management software can offer and how to narrow your search.
- Asset Management:Helps users differentiate and track physical assets. This includes managing equipment and inventory, tracking location, recurring costs, condition reports, and recording relevant data on warranties, service schedules, technical specifications, parts inventories, etc. Managers can use data to make informed decisions about upcoming orders and budgets.
- Maintenance Management:Offers automated evaluations on preventative maintenance and scheduled maintenance for routine tasks. Preventative maintenance can help preempt equipment and facility failure by using time-based or meter-based triggers to remind you of service needs. Regulatory compliance features store data and documentation to help managers stay current with safety codes, permits, and industry rules, as well as respond to audit requests.
- Inventory and Procurement:Ensures the upkeep of appropriate parts, tools, and materials levels, tracks specific inventory locations, and allows built-in order placement/purchasing. Some facilities management tools may need to integrate with ERP platforms or other outside systems to enable inventory tracking.
- Administrative Management: Organize leases, real estate portfolios, purchase orders, and billing for your facility’s team. Keeps track of tenant renewals, vendor contracts, and offers comparisons on financial data and performance. Admins should also be able to standardize job and material expenses to prioritize work, reporting, and accounting.
- Labor Resource Tracking: Stores personnel skill profiles for future job-to-skill matching and forecasting of personnel gaps. Track employee labor and human resource paperwork, and make sure certifications and documents are up-to-date. Some systems may also include time tracking and invoice processing, which is helpful if you work with outside contractors.
- Mobile Capabilities: Cloud-based platforms offer a real-time data exchange between maintenance supervisors and are accessible from nearly any device. This allows office personnel and on-the-ground maintenance staff to stay in communication and prioritize tasks. At minimum, look for a mobile web interface, but note that native mobile apps (for Android and iOS devices) are going to work best.
Benefits of Facilities Management Software
Dashboard View of Managerial Duties
A comprehensive facilities maintenance platform works to extend the lifespan of assets, and in turn, minimize the cost for ownership. Through scheduled and preventative maintenance, this kind of software cuts down on reactive maintenance costs and inconveniences. Developing a rigid asset upkeep schedule ensures that assets perform at their peak while maintaining a smooth operational schedule and employee safety. Users can access detailed reports to determine replacement times and costs. Managers can track labor resources and determine employees most qualified for specific assignments.
Strategic Resource Planning
Facilities maintenance software platforms organize the administrative, inventory, and labor resource aspects of an organization. The streamlined connection between office administrators and service technicians minimizes miscommunication and increases efficiency between departments. User can connect specific jobs with qualified employees and track job times for future decision-making. Managers also use facilities management to determine ongoing maintenance needs and provide upkeep for existing assets.
Reduced Energy Costs
With facilities management software, organizations can empirically reevaluate their energy performance and identify areas to cut waste. Reporting dashboards offer a detailed view of energy consumption, resource allocation, and time per job to point out operational inefficiencies. This analysis demonstrates how an organization is performing and where there’s room for improvement.
Tips for Comparing Solutions
- Determine the Right Fit: EAM solutions tend to offer deeper functionality for handling assets of any kind—whether physical machinery or IT equipment—with centralized access across an entire enterprise. CMMS systems, on the other hand, are more often limited to physical assets in a smaller network of facilities, or even a single site. That said, CMMS and EAM are not mutually exclusive; many CMMS systems even integrate with EAMs and other enterprise software, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions.
- Define Your Use Intent: For simple, single-site facilities, a basic maintenance management tool can focus on facility upkeep and one-off troubleshooting. Managers at these types of facilities prefer simple, intuitive CMMS solutions for tracking work orders and building compliance. For multi-resource management, organizations can group assets to manage all at once. For example, fleet managers (school buses and other public sector vehicles) are grouped outside of a company’s stationary equipment (factory, hardware, servers). Complex facilities (college campuses, medical institutions, industrial plants, global enterprises) can span multiple locations or consist of a campus environment with multiple buildings, work zones, and interfering variables like terrain, environmental hazards, and pedestrian thoroughfares.
- Choose a Cloud-Based Solution: Facilities management software comes in several different deployment options, depending on the vendor. Cloud-based solutions allow users to connect to the system from any location, on mobile or desktop devices. Localized/on-premise software must be installed on your own servers, managed onsite, and typically require a large upfront expenditure.
Facilities Management Software Case Study
Denton Rehabilitation & Nursing Center is a professional, skilled nursing care center that supports patient recovery after a hospitalization. With on-site physical, occupational, and speech therapists, the staff accommodates long and short-term recoveries. The campus stretches across wooded and scenic grounds just outside of Dallas, TX, and patients are offered varying degrees of independent living, depending on their needs.
Maintenance supervisors needed a mobile application to manage facilities and services in real-time. Workers were spread out around the campus and needed a one-platform solution for reporting work issues and avoiding multiple entries. After researching various facilities management, EAM, and CMMS solutions, the team decided on UpKeep because of its mobile-first design. The biggest hurdle was justifying costs to upper-level management, but proponents of the software conveyed UpKeep’s ability to streamline workflow, reducing costs and increasing asset uptime.
At Denton Rehabilitation & Nursing Center, the UpKeep mobile application has expedited work orders and reduced redundancy for users, helping the maintenance department be more effective. Users emphasize the importance of the mobile application for maintenance software: “We have absolutely no issues with work orders being lost now,” Ryan C. from Denton said. “We also have a more structured process, because of the app . . . and we don’t have multiple entries for the same issue.”
UpKeep maintains communication between maintenance crews that work at different sites. The system has allowed for more time working in the field, and less time updating information or traveling between site/office and back. Ryan said, “Our facility has used the Upkeep App for about nine months now. It has been a great asset for us. The app has greatly improved our maintenance process, from reporting issues all the way down to completed work orders. We see a much better turnaround time from issues reported to work completed.”
Other Leading Vendors
- vx Maintain
- COGEP (CMMS software)
- Maintenance Connection (CMMS software)
- Infor EAM Enterprise (EAM software)
Choosing the Best Facilities Management Software
Use the Product Selection Tool above to compare dozens facilities management software options based on your unique requirements. Build a shortlist of 3-5 final contenders, and try to run a demo or free trial of each. Does the interface make sense? Do the workflows match your own? Does the vendor provide accessible customer support for issues?
When you’re ready, take your final recommendations to the appropriate decision-maker, and choose a vendor that fits your budget. Still have questions? Call one of our unbiased Technology Advisors for a free consultation.