Spring has sprung – birds are chirping and plants are budding. As exciting as it is to see winter in the rearview mirror, every facility manager knows that April Showers bring more than flowers.
All facilities require regular maintenance to keep processes running smoothly while protecting equipment and infrastructure. During the changing of seasons, special attention is required. In the spring, there is new potential for damage from excessive rainfall or thawing ice. As well, undetected damage from winter weather is more easily discovered. Add all this to emerging needs like landscaping, and it makes for a great time to review, overhaul, and optimize your facility management.
This article explores steps facility managers can take to enhance efficiency, security, and productivity while reducing safety hazards and downtime from repairs or stoppages.
The Cost of an Inefficient Facility Management System
Efficient facility management is essential for the smooth functioning of any enterprise. However, the cost of an inefficient facility management system can be staggering. Poorly managed property maintenance, obsolete equipment, and disorganized scheduling result in high energy bills, increased breakdowns, and, ultimately, facility downtime.
As well, a facility that still uses pen and paper visitors logs to sign in guests and contractors experience inefficiencies that leave them vulnerable. Sign-ins are slow and inaccurate, data is disorganized or missing, and meeting audits and compliance needs may be time-consuming, expensive, or impossible.
Inefficient facility management also leads to increased liability risks. Inadequate maintenance and inspections often result in accidents, property damage, and legal action. To avoid these costs, invest in a robust, streamlined facility management system that leverages the latest technology and best practices in the industry.
How to Optimize Facility Management for Spring & Summer
As spring and summer come into bloom, facility managers need to prepare for a fresh set of challenges. With warmer weather comes new hazards and safety concerns, contractor types, and the potential for emergencies. You must optimize facility management to ensure that your facilities run smoothly during this time of the year. Keep reading to discover some best practices for facility management below.
Complete an Audit of Your Facility
The first step to optimizing facility management for spring and summer is thoroughly auditing your facility. This includes the following steps:
Review Your HVAC System
HAVC systems should be inspected at least once per year. Spring is an ideal inspection time, especially in climates where you are transitioning from heating to air conditioning. Hire a specialist to inspect your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system to ensure it is in good working order for the upcoming warmer weather. Clean or replace filters and make sure all components are functioning properly.
Check for Damage
The winter months can damage your facilities, especially in climates with extreme cold, ice, and heavy snowfall. If dealt with swiftly, the damage is often minor and easy to repair. However, if left for another winter, cracks and gaps expand as the damage worsens, leading to large and expensive repairs. As such, it's important to have inspections performed in the spring or early summer.
Inspect your roof for any damage or leaks that may have occurred during the winter months. Also, check your gutters and downspouts to confirm they are clear of debris and functioning properly.
Check Your Fire Safety Systems
Fire detection and suppression systems save lives and protect property – in buildings fully protected by sprinklers 99% of fires are controlled by sprinklers alone. Modern emergency solutions are powerful but require regular inspection and upkeep to ensure success.
Depending on the industry and region, fire alarm and suppression systems need to be inspected annually, semi-annually, or quarterly. As well smoke detectors, extinguishers, carbon monoxide detectors, and exit lighting all need regular inspection. It makes life easier to run these inspections together and at consistent times of the year.
This is all in addition to running regular evacuation drills. Enterprises can streamline drills with a digital evacuation and emergency management solution like EmergencyOS.
Inspect Outdoor Areas
During winter, outdoor areas take a beating from snow, ice, and other harsh weather conditions. Before spring and summer start, inspect these areas and make them safe for visitors and employees. Specific elements to check include cracks or potholes in parking lots and sidewalks, which could be tripping hazards.
Check Your Equipment
As you prepare your facility for the summer and spring seasons, test your equipment to ensure it is in good working order and safe to use. Check generators and other backup power sources. Also, inspect outdoor furniture for signs of wear and tear that could pose a safety risk.
Review Your Pest Control Measures
As temperatures rise, so do the populations of certain pests. Review your pest control measures and take control and prevention steps to protect the safety and comfort of your visitors and employees. Inspect your facility's exterior for areas where pests can enter, and schedule regular pest control treatments.
In many large facilities and manufacturing plants, total eradication of pests is near impossible. But at the very least, minimizing their impact is possible so that your buildings aren't overrun like the Canadian Prime Minister's residence.
Invest in Facility and Visitor Management Software
Facility and visitor management solutions empower facility operations. Managers and operators have complete oversight of essential data from a remote dashboard. The use of digital visitor sign-in kiosks is always impactful, but their effects are even more pronounced with the high volume of new contractors coming in for spring maintenance. Kiosks automate the sign-in process, reducing demand on your staff and increasing induction speed. They also create detailed logs that can support reporting and compliance needs.
Visitor badges can even be printed as part of the sign-in process, all without interacting with reception or security.
Investing in facility management software is particularly important for larger facilities with complex maintenance needs. Centralizing all operations into one system will streamline work processes, save time and money, and improve productivity.
Be Prepared for Any Potential Emergencies
Facility managers should always be prepared for emergencies, no matter the season.
Managers should have a comprehensive emergency plan, including evacuation procedures, backup power sources, and emergency contacts. They should also conduct regular drills to ensure their staff is prepared for emergencies.
Leverage digital emergency management solutions to improve evacuation efficiency and have complete digital oversight of your emergency processes. Automated solutions replace outdated manual processes that make roll call, mustering, and communication a challenge.
Improve Operational Efficiency with iLobby
Improve operational efficiency in your facility year-round. The iLobby FacilityOS platform streamlines your operations, automates manual processes, and increases productivity. You can manage your facility more efficiently and effectively with features like visitor management and compliance integrations.