The Key Role of The Mobile in Facilities Management Today.

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Digitization is transforming all the sectors of business and the mobile is at the forefront of that transformation. Mobility is helping businesses create efficient business processes and models and enabling them to communicate and collaborate better. With more access to data, managers now have improved business intelligence and increased connectivity gives employees the flexibility to work from nearly anywhere. Personalization and automation through technology are also changing the way we live and work. As the workplace is becoming more flexible, facilities management must also embrace digitization to meet these changing demands and expectations. And for this kind of a digital transformation to happen, People, Processes, and Technology must collaborate together.

For the purposes of this post let us assume that Facilities Management (FM), involves managing the proper functioning of various aspects of a building, which include Cleaning, Security, Fire Protection, Air conditioning, Landscaping, Maintenance, Testing, Inspection and Asset Management. I guess all here can agree that it is an essential function in offices, shopping areas, schools, hospitals, hotels, conference centres, and other such locations.

Worldwide, Facilities Management has evolved from the basic spreadsheets and cumbersome email threads to a highly functional yet simple system and the role of the mobile is now key. Facilities Management apps run on the mobile within mobile web browsers, or similar interfaces and offer facility managers the flexibility they need in their day-to-day work. The on-the-go access that mobility provides becomes a key enabler as the reach of the Facilities Management solution is vastly extended to every team member, irrespective of the location. This vastly improves productivity and service levels.

Facilities Management companies are often under tremendous pressure to achieve operational efficiency, add value to their business, and reduce costs. They need to ensure that each service team member performs to the same high standard and follows the same processes. Providing excellent service is also one of the key drivers for customer retention and increased profitability. By using mobile apps with clear, and easily-accessible workflows, managers can ensure that their service teams are guided through the service tasks, ensuring consistency, reducing customer churn, and improving effectiveness.

With rising costs of real estate and facilities, Facilities Managers are under pressure to constantly improve space utilization – provide more bang for the buck for the facilities provided. The challenge is greater in an age of dynamic workforces, hot-desking, and flexible offices. Mobile apps can help Facilities Managers stay on top of the utilization efficiency in real-time even on-the-go. A mobile app can help them in tracking space usage such as desk occupancy, meeting room utilization and so on.

Facilities Management managers need to address a variety of safety-related issues. Managing these issues in a timely manner is important to avoid injuries, loss of business opportunity, and insurance claims. Documentation is also important, businesses (and client companies) require detailed Service Delivery reports, and Health and Safety compliance report. By using mobile applications, a facilities manager can log on a job anywhere and can be alerted to issues even while on the move. This can help ensure that all incidents are attended to within the agreed SLA. As all incident details are also recorded on the mobile, it provides a “unified view” of the service given. All this helps improve customer satisfaction, while also improving safety.

Field-service engineers find Facilities Management mobile applications useful, to improve productivity at work and are often able to manage their time better. It helps them log and close down jobs quickly. They can also track and manage asset data by scanning and reading QR codes using simple handheld devices. This delivers better insights and potentially improved performance too.

Many organizations are integrating mobile devices with the wider Facilities Management software. This helps to rollout projects faster as well as deliver cost-effective implementation. By deploying the facilities management applications on the cloud, they can speed up the deployment of applications and maintain and upgrade the software centrally. It is easier to train staff through online collaboration via, webinars, and online video sessions. The mobile makes this content accessible “on demand”. All these measures truly help shorten training times and greatly improve resilience and flexibility. It also delivers greater productivity and reduces operational costs.

There are several other potential benefits of these new generation FM mobile apps.

1. Reporting and tracking of field teams, such as plant engineers or remote facilities management personnel, who can input information on their smartphones while working away from the office. A facility manager does not have to wait for days to receive updates about the status of a job as updates can be logged in real time. These updates can be received or sent in minutes, thus helping to improve productivity.

2. Using a mobile app on a smartphone, facilities managers can collect important data, such as temperature readings, CO2 levels, and equipment operations and status without having to be physically present at the site.

3. It helps with maintenance and inventory control by keeping track of equipment and related assets.

4. As the mobile apps are location-tagged via GPS, it helps to effectively manage workforce allocation, tracking, and accountability.

Conclusion

Facilities Management professionals can avail the enormous benefits of using a well-designed mobile application. The new generation of Facility Management mobile applications brings a wide variety of choices from sleek designs to intuitive layouts, and much more. Mobile applications for facilities management will definitely help in the effective management of work and support strategic decision-making. Worldwide, mobile Facilities Management applications have already changed the way in which facilities are managed and this has ushered in the wave of the future for facilities professionals. I’m sure it will be India’s turn soon!

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