Facility managers define their operation.
They create the foundation, the processes, develop their team’s talent, and bring goals to fruition.
But, what does it take to achieve the level of being a truly effective facility manager?
From the way you train your team to how often you achieve a perfect compliance rating, you might be thinking that it’s a surface-level concept.
Yes, that’s worth an applause.
But, while all of that is commendable, we wouldn’t have written this article if we thought that was enough.
We like the purposeful details, actions, and habits.
What are the specific measures facility managers need to take? How do you ensure you become a highly effective manager?
How can this result turn a cost center into a profit center? Then, how do you ensure you can continue to increase profit?
Keep reading; we’re going to lay it all out for you.
Highly Effective Facility Managers Are Habitual Planners
It might seem simple.
But, planning is often a missed practice when managing facility maintenance.
We’re sure you’ve heard of the term “necessary evil.” This is a universal concept, and many managers conduct maintenance activities this way.
They wait for the next piece of equipment to break. Then, they waste valuable resources to fix the equipment. What’s the ‘effectiveness’ in that?
With a little focus and an understanding of the small yet powerful actions you can take to achieve operational effectiveness – you’ll be proactive in no time.
You need to:
- Reduce your operational and equipment downtime
- Reduce costs associated with completing your maintenance activities and tasks
It’s simple really, and it affects your overall production.
Now that you understand the importance of ‘necessary effectiveness,’ we’re going to outline the habits of highly effective facility managers.
Don’t be shocked; these are not rocket science.
That’s the point, but they work, and we want you to take action today.
Are you ready? Here we go.
7 Ways to Become Highly Effective
1. Automate the work order process.
When you automate the work order process, you remove human error associated with it.
Essentially, you’re taking the people out of the process and ensuring nothing gets missed or overlooked.
Doing this allows you to create, track, edit and automatically communicate work orders for your facility.
This is number one on the list, because it’s one of our favorite habits – and arguably the most important!
Don’t let problems with employees slow down your operation or increase workplace stress for others.
2. Develop checklists for completing all types of work throughout your facility.
Lean organizations like Toyota take this concept to a level beyond what we’ll discuss below.
They introduce lean management strategies into their process. We won’t get into the technical details today.
But, for managers like yourself, you can begin the valuable routine of using checklists today.
Create lists for all of your work types. This’ll give you ultimate control and consistency of maintenance activities.
Fire extinguisher inspection? Your checklist might look like this.
- Easy accessibility? Check.
- Easy to see for the time of need? Check.
- Check the tamper seal.
- Check the pull pin.
- Check the pressure.
- Look for physical damage.
- Are parts damaged? No.
How difficult would it be to miss something now?
You can use checklists for something as common as a fire extinguisher inspection or as complex as a unique process for your facility.
All we know is, the most professional managers use them. You’ll want to as well.
3. Put inventory tracking in place.
Do you like not knowing what’s available in inventory? This is certainly a rhetorical question.
Top-notch managers always have a streamlined inventory tracking system in place through their CMMS software.
Time to reorder material or equipment? Without question, if you have a system in place it’ll alert you, so you never run out of what you need and you can buy it at the best price.
We can’t stress enough how valuable this is.
You’ll have to see your numbers. Then, you tell us.
4. Produce schedules for work to be done.
Preventive maintenance scheduling changes the playing field.
With the availability of these innovative solutions, the presence of highly effective facility managers throughout the industry is growing.
Your operation has tons of moving parts. How do you ensure your maintenance efforts are proactive?
You use preventive maintenance solutions to create, track and manage facility maintenance schedules.
We are back to automation.
Creating a well-thought-out scheduling process puts you at the top of the facility management mountain.
You’ll have a global view of your routine maintenance, all associated materials, and equipment.
Now you can see who’s doing what, and make necessary changes as needed.
Then, you’ll have the habit of achieving peace of mind.
(Pro tip: Some of these systems give you the ability to track maintenance activities in a calendar format with drag and drop ability to change dates.)
5. Ensure all work is completed on time and as scheduled.
This habit doesn’t need an explanation.
Put your preventive maintenance solution in place and automate your work order system. This system will quickly become a walk in the park.
It’ll become easy because you’ll already have created an environment conducive of completing work on time and as scheduled.
Having the appropriate processes in place will help too.
6. Proactively Inspect equipment for additional work to be completed.
Inspecting equipment may very well be a part of your preventive maintenance efforts.
But, it goes deeper when you are in the practice of being proactive.
Systems for conducting equipment inspections allow you to institute a process for ‘keeping an eye on things’ all the time.
Are you walking near an air handler, you haven’t passed in a week or so? You know the scheduled maintenance is coming up soon, but why not check it out now?
To your surprise, the filter is ready to be changed. You’ve had some construction near that location, so some additional debris made its way into the equipment.
It’s a good thing you took the time to check it out a few days sooner.
You might have even identified a broken piece of material that needs to be fixed today.
You never know.
Trust us. Being proactive is how you can reduce downtime and keep you and your facility looking good.
7. Digitally document details of all work for historical reference.
It goes without question; you can’t be effective or manage what you don’t measure.
Why? You can’t control what you can’t measure.
As a professional, you have access to the most progressive systems in the marketplace. These systems offer extensive and robust reporting for your specific management needs.
Why not get all the valuable info you need to be a highly effective manager?
Access to comprehensive statistics and maintenance data gives you all the information you need.
Use the insight to increase your operational efficiency, effectiveness as a manager and to achieve lasting peace of mind.
See the information the way you need. Be highly effective.
Over to You
We always want to provide you with the best information in the information. We do it, so you look good to your boss and peers.
So, will you make these habits part of your life?
Editor's note: This post was originally published in May 2015 and has been updated for comprehensiveness and freshness.