Using Energy, Portfolio Data To Reduce Facility Costs
Predictive maintenance isn’t the only way to reduce facility costs. Energy and portfolio data — about leases and vacancy, for example — can also lead to savings. One example involves lease administration. By accurately managing and monitoring all the options in a lease, decisions can be made in a timely way. For example, should this lease be extended or closed out? If that decision cannot be made in the appropriate “window,” the landlord may hold all the leverage: if the organization can’t find another place and move quickly enough before the lease kicks into month-to-month, the cost of staying in the existing space will escalate.
Given that thought process, having high-quality data to make timely decisions to do productive analytics was critical. Accurate information and real-time analytics allowed the portfolio manager to conclude that relocation would be better both immediately and in the long-term.
A second example focuses on a company that installed systems to monitor their energy usage only to get surprised. Immediately, they discovered big garage exhaust fans had been turned on to help alleviate the effects of a spill — but continued running non-stop for more than a year because nobody realized they should have been turned off. Several of these surprise findings actually paid for the system investment. When they finally had access to good data in an accessible format, they were able to perform useful analytics and quickly pinpoint areas of energy use outside the expected range.
A final example involves a company that believed they had a significant amount of their space vacant but not knowing how to prove the specifics of the vacancy nor its potential future use. When they refined their space management process and the metrics around space utilization and allocation — then applied a new space management solution to track the space utilization — they determined that they could comfortably jettison 30 percent of their space. It was a huge dollar savings, but decisions like that can only be made with quality data.
Accurate, appropriate and trusted data is critical in optimizing portfolio investments, specifically when that data is derived from good procedures backed up by standardized business processes. Then, by measuring and monitoring key metrics for which management is responsible, costs can be steadily driven down.
On the technology side, an important tool is having software, such as IWMS (Integrated Workplace Management System), for a holistic view of a company’s entire portfolio and all associated activities in a combined categorized data set for doing metrics. It’s the launching pad for predictive data.
A key takeaway for facility managers is that appropriate data is an absolute necessity to best manage the portfolio. To get appropriate data, the facility manager must put in place processes and procedures, then support them with technology to collect accurate and readily available data for technicians and staff to use in building management that supports the corporate mission.
The other side involves using that data set to run analytics against it and start seeing where opportunities are, as contrasted with spending too much time and energy producing little benefit. By making it possible for people to best do their job with the appropriate data, and using that data for more strategic analysis, together it helps directly drive the next level of facility management cost savings.
Phil Wales is CEO of Houston-based eBusiness Strategies (www.askebiz.com)