Using facilities management technology to meet rising service demands

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Satisfaction and success can be ever-moving targets. Once a milestone is reached, in business or personal endeavours, we set new goals, new expectations and new benchmarks.

In competitive markets, excellent service quickly becomes the new normal. Unlike years gone by, business customers are more educated, savvy and empowered in the buying process. They are spoilt for choice and aware of leverage, like an only grandchild at Christmas.

Aside from managing the expectations of existing customers, the changing behaviour of business customers is also impacting how companies win new business contracts. Research undertaken by the Corporate Executive Board shows that, on average, B2B buyers are likely to be 57 percent of the way through their purchasing cycle before they contact their potential new supplier.

If your company maintains and services customer’s facilities or equipment, then you are likely to know, first hand, the rising level of service demands that exist in the market today. So, what can your business do to make sure your value proposition sits above that of your competitors?

THE MODERN ROLE OF SOFTWARE TO MANAGE YOUR FACILITIES MANAGEMENT

Growth and success mean different things to different businesses. However, regardless of your scale of measurement, it is hard to imagine any business in facilities management being deemed successful while using substandard software solutions.

Many service level agreements (SLAs) and service contracts are in themselves a prescription for a leading facilities management software application. The combined complexity of scheduling, maintenance and contracting can leave you feeling like a contortionist who’s been given an even smaller box to squeeze into.

But squeeze you must. So, let’s unpack some of the key features that you could expect from leading software solutions, such as those provided by IFS, to meet the growing challenges faced by facilities management companies.

THE PATH TO PRODUCTIVITY

Firstly, preventative maintenance, a practice which consists of numerous repetitive tasks conducted on a regular basis, with the necessary human and physical resources available to prevent equipment failure. By pre-empting asset failure, downtime is reduced and the business can be more productive.

Preventative maintenance tools, such as what is provided in IFS Service Management, provide easy to use, integrated features which work seamlessly with a broad range of functional and serial objects in facilities management. The sophistication which can be gained by optimising lifecycle elements such as warranty management, servicing schedules and automatically maintained maintenance costs, help streamline your operations.

Even with effective preventative maintenance systems in place, your organisation can also drive further productivity still, by improving scheduling.

IFS Mobile Workforce Management software, for example, provides scheduling tools which are designed to facilitate higher productivity and improved adherence to customer commitments. The Dynamic Scheduling Engine (DSE) in IFS Mobile Workforce Management automates scheduling decisions based on the business requirements that you set, adapts as your needs dictate and can be optimised by multiple criteria to increase profit, reduce cost and ensure SLA compliance.

Contextualising scheduling information through an ability to define the various technician’s skills, physical resource availability and requirements, shift rosters and staffing changes, helping to boost first visit fix rates. Moreover, wireless collaboration with your wider team and immediate access to technical documentation help expedite problem resolution for your clients. Using wireless mobile devices in such a manner improves speed and accuracy while greatly reducing manual administrative tasks.

The ability to work offline and online and include touch and mobile applications to support better access to information anywhere, anytime, further illustrates the types of enhancements which allow your business to operate with the necessary agility and accuracy to meet the ever-changing needs of your customers. If you can provide the type of service that meets and exceed your customer’s expectations, then they are much more likely to speak positively about your business and act as an extension of your sales and marketing function.

MOBILITY─THE KEY TO SUCCESS

Arguably, one of the most effective ways to deliver service worthy of such customer loyalty is through mobile-enabled solutions.

In facilities management, the reality of new, adapted and cancelled service calls have a significant impact on productivity, which emphasises the need to maintain fluidity in your mobile work order management. Success amidst such complexity can be achieved with software tools which have the capability to automatically notify technicians about a service request which they have been assigned to, with the appropriate service and travel details delivered in real-time to their mobile device.

When selecting a mobile workforce management solution, it is important that you choose one which caters for all the current mobile platforms, including iOS, Android and Microsoft. Moreover, your chosen system should leverage smart devices capabilities, machine-to-machine (M2M) communications and the Internet of Things (IoT) to instantly detect potential problems in customer equipment and simultaneously notify service staff of the issue.

Regardless of whether your business is delivering facilities management services directly to your customers or via the engagement of B2B contractors, you need complete, end-to-end, integrated software to manage your facilities management. A system, which delivers the types of functionality we have covered above.

It is hard to imagine market competition and consumer behaviour detouring from its current trajectory, which means your business needs to embrace a culture of continuous improvement if it is to be successful in the years ahead. To learn what you can do today to prepare for tomorrow, read the “Advanced analytics and the digital transformation of ESM” white paper.


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