In the Facility and Property Management profession, I see an important ingredient missing from many organizations – good information.
That’s information you can use to make decisions and improvements both with internally delivered services and with your suppliers.
An excellent example of the value of information, even if not directly related, is Wal-Mart. Their retail success is something that even Facility Managers can learn from.Like them or not, Wal-Mart is the largest retailer in the world and one of the key things that made them successful is their information systems. They have almost real-time information available about their business that they use to make decisions that improve results. Not next month, not next week, not tomorrow – Today. This involves lots of data that includes reporting/analysis to make it meaningful.
I’ve seen the value of having information and the drawbacks of not having it. I went from one company where I had all work order information from a large portfolio at my fingertips – and could review the information by city, technician, supplier, completion, etc. and drill down to the comments – to another very large company where I didn’t have anything. It was challenging to see what was happening and identify things that needed to be fixed.
The only real information I had in the second company was a monthly list of Call Centre calls but with no detail or close-out info and an annual customer satisfaction survey result that at least I was able to share with my key suppliers to help them understand what they needed to do better. Wal-Mart also shares their information with suppliers – all in a bid to leverage them to make improvements as well. That’s a concept we should use more in Facility & Property Management.
I was also working for a service provider at one time and when we tried to get data on our services from the Facility Management company Call-Center, it was like pulling teeth – they didn’t seem to understand why it may be valuable for us to have it. Not very forward looking or strategic of them. With the information they had, we could have managed our services better, giving them better results.
I’ve discussed this issue with a number of organizations lately who either don’t have any information or have computerized systems (such as CMMS) but aren’t using them effectively. This is a lost opportunity – information they can get from the systems could enable them to make decisions that save operating costs.
If you don’t have the information you need to manage your Facilities or Property responsibilities, how can you be effective. Start now and get the information you need to make decisions that improve results and reduce costs.