In an age when data and information is readily available, there is no reason why significant business decisions should ever be based on gut feelings, especially when it comes to facilities conditions and maintenance projects.

Too often, time and money are spent in areas of an organization that are not the highest priority for investments, but are asking the loudest. That is why making decisions based on defensible data—and not on gut feelings—is imperative for organizations to successfully prioritize capital spend. To make these kinds of data-backed decisions, your information needs to be reliable. You need to be able to trust that your data is accurate and up to date, and will continue to be throughout your projects.

Ensuring access to defensible data should be foundational groundwork for your capital planning. It is the key to understanding where maintenance is required—and more importantly, where it is needed first—allowing you to justify your expenditures and make smarter spending decisions.

Making capital planning decisions with data you trust.

Data is the cornerstone of any capital plan. You need to be able to accurately predict your preventive maintenance needs by understanding your assets performance. If an asset is not operating properly, it can hurt your organization just as much, if not more, that an asset that has failed completely. By understanding and using the most accurate live data information, you are setting your organization up for success right from the start.

Maintaining accurate physical data will also help minimize expenditures in the long run, while maximizing your buying power. This allows you to be proactive in your maintenance measures and spend less money on emergency maintenance for preventable system failures.

Ultimately, any uncertainty in the accuracy of your information will undermine your capital planning decisions. To ensure quality data, you need to remove any opportunity for error. That includes manual data collection. Without tools that can streamline and automate this process, you run the risk of being forced into a reactive repair loop because you are using industry standards versus your physical on-site data. This can lead to inaccuracies and missteps in your capital budget planning.

In order to accurately plan for the future, you need to pivot to a reliable and repeatable process for data collection. This ensures that the information you base critical spending decisions on can be trusted, and your decisions can be backed by defensible data.

Ensuring consistent data collection in the field.

The best way to protect yourself from bad data is to start at the source—the collection of data in the field, as a consistent data collection experience should be the first point of contact. The best way to do this is with custom-built surveys and forms.

Survey templates can be a great launching point. Crafting your own survey that asks technicians to record exactly the data they need helps to create a secure and repeatable process tailor-made to fit organizational needs. Ensuring that teams are all working from the same template also helps eliminate variable responses in the data collected.

Getting a better picture

A photo is a valuable addition to the data your team collects in the field, but it does not always tell the whole story. Putting a camera in your surveyor’s pocket will allow them to take and edit photos on the spot, but the ability to add markups, annotate site assets and draw plans on-site adds a layer of insight that gives you a more complete understanding of your assets and eliminates additional trips.

This takes the guesswork out of interpreting pictures uploaded with no indication of what the technician sees. And incorporating photos in your quality control process will enhance the overall validity of the information you are relying on.

Using the Right Data Collection Tools

Defensible, reliable data is the key to informed capital planning. The only way to ensure you can trust your data is to have a consistent way of collecting and updating your information.

Contemporary applications can create a smooth, repeatable data collection process, giving you the facts about what you have, the condition it is in and a more unobstructed view into the current state of your portfolio.