We won’t be going back to normal; we need a new business as usual

We won’t be going back to normal; we need a new business as usual

As the world begins to wake up from what has been a pretty crazy dream, the terms “business as usual” and “back to the way things were” have been thrown around. As we try to understand the future impact of a global pandemic on our lives and the way we work, do we want to go back to the “usual” – lack of insight into our asset’s and maintenance performance, with the inefficiencies of manually generating reports? Or, should we take this opportunity to embrace the possibility of a new normal instead?

While getting ready for your facilities and operations to start up again, take this time to think differently about the way you manage your asset portfolio. Start anew with a fresh approach and potentially some new ways to deliver insights and value to your organisation.

There’s no playbook for what the world has just been through. Of course, most companies have risk management and business continuity plans in place and many were able to adapt to a virtual working environment fairly quickly but it’s doubtful a pandemic on such as a scale has a position within it.

For those companies that were able to adapt more quickly, technology likely played a big role in enabling such a quick shift. Tools like Zoom and Whats App saw a huge uptake in use, and companies saw how productive employees can continue to be even if they’re not working in the office. Enabling a productive, remote working environment is no longer a nice to have; it’s business critical.

For facilities management professionals, the shift has been a bit harder. The buildings and assets under management are fixed structures, making it almost impossible to work remotely 100% of the time. Empty facilities can’t sit dormant for months on end – the buildings will start to fill up again but getting them to a position of full capacity isn’t like flicking on a light switch; there’s lots of planning to take into consideration.

While getting ready for your facilities and operations to start up again, take this time to think differently about the way you manage your asset portfolio. Start anew with a fresh approach and potentially some new ways to deliver insights and value to your organisation.

To start, ask yourself some simple questions to get you thinking:

  • What wasn’t working previously? Were you working manually, struggling with paper and spreadsheet reports, resulting in lost efficiencies? Do you have asset data spread across multiple sources, meaning you don’t have a single view of your responsibilities, or an understanding of what your asset base looks like?
  • Were you doing what you were doing because you didn’t know there were alternatives, or “that’s just how we did it”?
  • What tools do you wish you had that you could look to invest in as you start your budgetary planning for the next financial year? For example, an asset lifecycle management platform like our own Sapphire can help you build a clearer picture of the state of your asset your portfolio. At the same time, it will give you the tools you need to run scenario planning and data modelling to help provide evidence for the budget you have just requested.

Many of the day-to-day activities and tasks that facilities managers are responsible and held accountable for can be supported with a simple yet robust technology platform. Look for a tool that is cloud-based and supports remote working and reporting. A facilities management tool like FMI Works is easy to implement and can give you a good baseline to help you take charge of your maintenance and move from a reactive work environment to a predictive or preventative maintenance strategy.

When COVID-19 forced the temporary closure of workspaces and buildings, many non-essential maintenance tasks were deferred or stopped altogether. As things start up again, you may find you’re facing reduced resourcing or reduced budgets, but how will you know the risk of having to cut activities in the face of such a strategy? Waiting for two, five, or ten years to see what happens could result in significant issues such as asset downtime or huge liabilities.

A tool like Sapphire can help mitigate these potential future issues. Using asset data and robust modelling tools, asset owners can determine whether deferring maintenance activities puts the status and health of an asset at an unreasonable level of risk to the organisation. Just as importantly, looking back will help you make informed decisions as you plan for the future. Corporate Dashboard provides visual analytics tools that enable you to monitor your organisation’s KPIs and objectives with simple, easy to use reports that can be customised to best suit your requirements.

Some say COVID-19 forced a change that was bound to happen anyway. Organisations are rethinking the way they run their businesses: looking at how they can provide more flexible working environments for staff, and how they can utilise technology to improve efficiencies. Start the conversation and take this opportunity to think differently about the way you manage your assets as we move into the new normal.

Smarter analytics, better outcomes

See how Sapphire and Corporate Dashboard can help you make informed, data-based decisions.