Using a holistic approach to get the most out of your facilities

One of the most significant expenses of running an institution is the cost of providing and maintaining facilities.

To deliver the best business outcomes, facilities management needs to shift from a ‘condition’ approach to a ‘level of service’ approach that enables campus facilities to rapidly adapt to the changing student expectations and manner in which courses are delivered.

This evolves from simply assessing facilities maintenance based on the condition of the asset, to evaluating several parameters including capacity, fit-for-purpose, condition and frequency of use.

This is a strategic approach, requiring high-level asset management plans that consider the current condition and functionality of the asset, asset degradation, and the necessary treatments to deliver its service potential. For universities to be agile enough to keep up, this approach needs to be part of the long-term planning process and funding - rather than a reactionary change.

To get the most out of their facilities, institutions need to develop a holistic, enterprise approach to facilities management that considers the strategic, tactical and operational lifecycle of assets. This can be challenging in an environment where facilities management and its systems are siloed from the rest of the business.

While tactical asset management is all about delivering capital programs of work, operational asset management manages the ongoing maintenance of facilities, ensuring any compliance in the process. Strategic asset management, meanwhile, determines the optimised future spend to refurbish or upgrade existing facilities, as well as construct new facilities to meet future demands.

There are generally several stakeholders throughout the institution invested in the operational and financial management of its facilities. However, both the facilities manager and associated information management systems are not always integrated with the rest of the institutions.

If you are operating with disparate systems for financials, building management and contract management, it is challenging to improve outcomes and long-term planning. Similarly, you will have trouble managing buildings and assets from the acquisition or capital construction, right through the operating life.

Using one integrated information system for all stakeholders offers a single source of truth and transparency across the entire institution. It ensures the CFO has full visibility of facilities maintenance costs, utilisation measurements and operational costs.

A true enterprise facilities management system will allow an institution to improve visibility and gain compliance, by ensuring all the components are operating cohesively, not in isolation. It will allow entire lifecycle management of the facilities - from capital project management to long-term strategic planning.

We’ve observed that customers who embrace a holistic approach are achieving improved facilities utilisation, resulting in reduced operation and maintenance costs and enhanced customer satisfaction.

Best practice

For best practice, you need to consider more than just the day-to-day management of buildings. To get the most out of your facilities, you need to be able to determine for the next twenty years, what you need to spend, on what assets and when. This allows for a more accurate and scientific assessment of long-term capital planning, with the confidence that money will be spent on the right assets at the right time.

Publish date

13 Nov 2020

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