October 26, 2016
Business Intelligence and the Facility Manager of the Future
Facility management is a forever-evolving role that relies on a unique mixture of time-tested methodologies, ever-improving technologies, and business intelligence tools that, when combined, offer a flexible toolset reliability managers can utilize to increase profitability and reduce downtime.
Staying on top of the latest trends and newest gadgets is not always an easy job, as it seems that every month or so, some new system or smart device is unleashed upon the world. If there was one area that a facility manager should focus on in particular, it would have to be business intelligence and data-gathering. This particular area is crucial for the growth of a business and to help combat competition in an increasingly competitive market.
The more data that is at a facility manager"s fingertips, the better, and this philosophy will dictate the trend of reliability technology for years to come. Being able to access this data, in particular, will be a hallmark of new computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS), especially as the trend toward working remotely continues. The same holds true for managers and field agents who are on the go, handling multiple remote facilities. Having technology that lets you access maintenance systems and the data they contain from your mobile device or tablet is and will continue to be essential.
Another area that will see continued growth, particularly in the business intelligence arena, is data interpretation, including the use of smart hubs. Collecting data is great and all, but without someone, or in this case, something, to interpret it, it is useless. More and more, we are seeing systems that can sense deviations in data and automatically, within a given set of parameters, correct aberrant behavior. This interpretation of data and the toolsets facility managers will have access to will increase their ability to better maintain equipment, increase production and productivity levels, and avoid downtime. By detecting deviations in performance, smart systems can alert a facility manager about machines and equipment that are experiencing failures on the most minute of levels, allowing you to fix a minor issue before it becomes a major one.
Of course, while a large portion of the future of facility management will be dictated by data collection and business intelligence trends, there are other evolving areas of technology FMs will need to keep an eye on. One such arena is green technology. Now, more than ever, it is important for managers to be aware of energy usage and resulting energy waste in their respective facilities. Relying on emerging technologies such as solar power, LED lighting, and other energy-friendly tech is not only a great way to reduce overhead costs, but it is also part of a company"s responsibility to help reduce their impact on the world.
Finally, we would be remiss if we neglected to mention the significant impact that virtual reality (VR) will have on the reliability industry as its use grows and this technology begins to be integrated with maintenance management systems. Imagine the possibilities of virtual training sessions or virtual maintenance manuals, where you can pull up any fact sheet for a particular piece of equipment and view the parts in three-dimensional space!