Posted on 05/14/2015
By Lora Mays, Product Marketing Manager
When it comes to predicting the future, none of us – even with a crystal ball – are very good at knowing what will happen. In the case of facility management, this can be quite scary as budgets grow smaller and resources become harder to come by.
A chiller can suddenly go out, or a roof may need to be replaced. However, just like when your car needs to go in for a repair, there are generally some warnings along the way that these small nuances are going to become major issues – and budget drainers. For facility managers, knowing what's coming around the corner can be just as important as checking off your to-do list for the day.
By using a facility capital planning solution, you can gain insight into the future. How much useful life do you have left for the air handler? What will it require to replace that part of the roof that didn't fare as well as the rest of it in a recent storm? How will you prioritize your capital expenditures to use your budget in the best way?
When it comes to facility capital planning, the first step is knowing what you have. If you manage numerous locations, you may rely on your staff to provide an inventory of assets and create a list of capital requirements. This may not include all of the assets within the facility; oftentimes, we only think about the ones that have been the most problematic.
Conducting a detailed assessment of what you have can be revealing in itself. Linking this information to an automated facility and maintenance management solution ensures that you can conduct and track maintenance activities against it. As a result, you have a detailed record of issues and visibility into the performance that can feed into your capital planning requirements.
Once you have the information in front of you, it's time to make decisions. What should be put at the top of the priority list? How much will it cost to fix the issue? A software solution like VFA.facility can do the hard work for you. The software will take the information that you have gathered and will prioritize what you need to focus your capital budgets on based on rules that you set, such as how much you would like to invest for the year and what are bigger priorities. For instance, banks may invest more money in improving the aesthetics of branches to improve customer satisfaction.
This helps to not only streamline your work, but also provide justification for your budgets by providing clear insight into how you will use your capital budget – something that your finance team will love to hear!
Now that you have a plan set in front of you, how will you execute? If you integrate your capital planning information with a facility maintenance management solution, you have the opportunity to inform both sides as you conduct preventive and reactive maintenance activities. In addition, you can create a checklist of sorts as you work on various capital projects. This allows you to manage your budgets and timelines and, as a result, closely track your capital budgets to understand where you are investing your dollars.
By integrating your capital planning and facility and maintenance management solutions together, you are able to create a clear loop of visibility across your portfolio. No longer are decisions made because "it would be nice," but instead they are based on facts that help your team smartly use its budget while improving your efficiency and operations.