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Understanding Your Facility Starts by Understanding Data

By Luis Fernandez

Being a maintenance and engineering manager means getting swamped with work orders, service requests, a steady stream of inquiries from contractors and vendors visiting institutional and commercial facilities. There’s no such thing as a free moment, but when you’re not getting any complaints or equipment failures, you shouldn’t have any reason to believe performance isn’t going great, right?

That used to be the case, but now it’s more common for facility managers to be aware of the facility’s financial performance, and determine what is and is not working.

By understanding the numbers you can truly understand the issues facing your facility and how to prioritize and address them. For example, if you have a piece of equipment constantly causing problems, and lack staff properly trained to fix it, number curating can help determine if it’s easier to replace the piece of equipment, train staff (increasing staff pay and/or pay for training), or continue outsourcing equipment servicing.

To go about this, first capture all the data related to your facilities management program, including service requests, maintenance schedules, equipment data, warranty info, and invoices to ensure data is easily accessible and always available. Ideally, you already have a complex business intelligence engine that can help analyze data and information. This type of system allows for easier tracking of the financial performance of the facility’s repair and maintenance activities.

By automating information and analysis you’re able to get data to use as action points. Although difficult, it’s important to understand data is extensive and broad to ensure uncovering the true causes of current issues and fix them at the source. Managers should regularly monitor repair and maintenance costs and compare them to data points, such as warranties, NTE limits, square footage, planned and scheduled maintenance activities. Depending on the facility, this list could be extensive.

It’s crucial that managers gain visibility across all program aspects to drive performance for the facility. Be smart with the collected and analyzed data to ensure that facilities management can add value to the bottom line.

If managers are still unsure about what data is relevant, the CFO should have a good idea where to begin. 

Luis Fernandez was Professor and Chairman of the Economics Department at Oberlin College for 30 years before becoming President of Clean Alert, the award-winning air filter tech manufacturer and distributor based out of Ohio. As president, Fernandez is responsible for strategic and financial planning and is a member of the board.