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Facility Space Allocation 101

Facilities Management

Whether you are moving into a new facility, upgrading your current one, or building a whole new property from scratch, one of the most important factors to consider during the initial phase (including budgeting) is space allocation. How much space is needed for each department? Where will equipment be placed? These and more are basic space allocation questions every facility manager should be prepared to ask and plan for.

As a facility manager or maintenance supervisor in the reliability industry, you no doubt know well the importance of space allocation in a building. After all, everything has its place. Unfortunately, just as with a monetary budget, space budgets are limited as well, and inevitably, we never have as much space as we want. In fact, we often do not have as much square footage as we need. That is where space allocation planning comes into play.

Planning is key when deciding where every piece of equipment will go. Having enough room for the equipment to rest and operate is only part of the equation: We also have to consider the space required for workers to operate the machinery, maintain it, and even just walk around it. If there is not a clear work space and walkway, there can be traffic jams and worker safety issues. It can also affect production rates as well. All of these are big no-nos and things that must be factored into the space allocation equation.

Speaking of safety, fire hazards are another concern. If a fire breaks out, you need clear exit paths and enough space for employees to evacuate. You also need room for rescue teams to put out the fire, spots for fire extinguishers and fire alarms, and proper ventilation systems, all of which require space you may not normally think about.

In addition, certain machines tend to throw off a lot of heat and should never be placed next to flammable chemicals or materials. Be sure you plan how much space is needed between walls and other equipment to avoid a fire hazard. The same can be said for hazardous chemicals, too. In fact, you will want a specific place to store any chemicals and chemical cleanup materials as well.

Another concern that is not always on the immediate agenda of facility managers is creature comforts for employees. That isn’t to say that facility managers do not care about this. Reliability managers tend to think of equipment or customers naturally. However, carving out some of your property for break rooms and bathrooms is also pivotal, as is planning the best place for them. The farther an employee has to travel to a restroom, the longer the break will be. Putting a break room too close to work space makes it less relaxing for employees; it should be a place where they can unwind and put work behind them for a while.

If you employ a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), and hopefully you are at this point, it can make the space allocation process even easier, as it makes it easier to get an overall picture of your assets and equipment. It can also help you save on space, as you can store documents and other important information directly in your system, cutting down on wasted square footage. Finally, a CMMS makes it so you can easily track your spare parts and replacement pieces, meaning you can centralize their location and keep the space that you do have tidy!

It Takes a Plan to Change a Habit

If your maintenance department has fallen into the habit of chasing down repairs and fighting fires, it’s unlikely that implementing even the most feature-rich CMMS will change the culture.  In a reactive environment, the team member who gets saddled with the implementation will be sweating bullets as he slogs through asset data entry, while repairs pile up and work gets put on hold.

shocked worker

Without taking the time upfront to look at the “big picture,” understand maintenance workflows and come up with goals and objectives for the CMMS, the maintenance team will end up with an abandoned system that no one uses and a gradual return to paper binders and Excel® spreadsheets.

Hope Isn’t a Strategy

One way to ensure that CMMS delivers a decent return on investment in terms of time, money and a thriving team that can catch its collective breath is to utilize implementation consulting services to bring your team together to lay out a solid CMMS implementation plan and follow it through.

CMMS strategy and planning, configuring and set up, follow up and training are capabilities that maintenance directors should expect from their implementation consultants. An effective consultant should ask pertinent questions as planning gets underway.  For example:

  • How do technicians handle their workload today in terms of repairs and maintenance tasks? What steps are involved in that process?
  • Is there a champion to move the implementation along and gather knowledge that he’ll share with the team?
  • Ideally, what are the measures of success for improving processes and making maintenance more efficient?
  • How do you want to use the CMMS?  Will it be used to schedule preventive maintenance (PMs)? Track inventory? Manage work orders?  What about PMs for non-assets like safety tasks, training re-certification, fleet registration renewals, etc.?
  • Can the CMMS data be integrated into the budget process to help with decisions about replacing equipment when it starts to wear out?
  • Which reports will the CMMS need to generate for audits and regulatory inspections?

Matching the CMMS to Your Work Flows

For a successful set-up, managers need to configure the CMMS to match the work flows of their facilities and add unique information for the facility’s assets as necessary. And they ought to be able to eliminate redundancies. For instance, it shouldn’t require entering 20 separate PMs for 20 air conditioning units in different locations.

JumpstartConsulting

Smartware Group’s Jumpstart Consulting typically follows a sequence of eight steps, including four meetings, to assist clients in the setup, configuration, and implementation of its Bigfoot CMMS solution.

Once the team agrees on objectives and understands the benefits, and the CMMS is implemented, a competent consultant should structure the testing and follow-up phase to measure the success or failure of the implementation and make the proper adjustments by configuring the features that best match the needs of the individual facility or groups of facilities.

The consultant’s job is to also encourage team members to participate in training webinars and videos to learn about the CMMS early on in the implementation process.  Doing so can reduce the process down to a few weeks, if not days.

Championing the User

cmms_userFor technicians who lack computer skills, there’s an easy fix. First, it’s important that a solution is selected based on its simplicity of design, preferably with the maintenance user in mind. Second, technicians do not need to interact with the system at the same level as the administrator.

 

Initially, they only need to learn the basics: how to access work order (WO) assignments and what to do to complete them. As the CMMS becomes integrated into the maintenance functions of a facility, technicians can learn to use other features of the system when the need arises. Recap sessions to review CMMS procedures can also help build confidence and competency among staff members who do the hands-on work of equipment repair.

Once implementation is underway and the team is cranking out PMs and work orders, a CMMS consultant can move onto more advanced features, like generating reports that show which machinery is breaking down frequently, and which can be used to bolster requests for new purchases. He or she can show the team how to call up an archive of work orders and repairs in the CMMS and create an audit trail to make it far easier to comply with government or other third-party reporting requirements. In short, when all of the advantages of a CMMS become apparent to maintenance professionals, it tends to be a driver for follow-through to make the system more efficient and effective.

Preparing for a Disaster at Your Property

design for repair of housesDisaster Preparedness Tips

A disaster can strike with little to no warning, and can mean complete destruction to your building. Knowing how to properly prepare for any disaster can help to ensure that your building and tenants stay safe during a disaster. Keep these disaster preparedness tips in mind to be ready for any tragedy.

  • Check the structure of your building – at least once a year, hire a professional to take a look at the condition of your building to ensure that it is structurally sound. Make improvements or repairs as necessary to keep your building as stable as possible to ensure that it can withstand any disaster.
  • Think about fire safety – not only should you think of the immediate damage that a disaster can cause, but you should also consider any secondary damage, including fire damage. Make sure your building has the right fire safety procedures and systems in place to reduce the risk of a total loss caused by a secondary fire.
  • Insurance coverage – after a disaster hits your building, you want to make sure that you are covered with the right insurance policies. Before a catastrophe hits, look over all of your insurance policies to ensure that you have the right amount of protection for any peril.
  • Prepare your tenants – make sure all of your tenants know how to stay safe in case of any unfortunate situation. Place emergency escape plans throughout the property, and hold at least one emergency drill a year. The better prepared your tenants are, the less likely they are to get injured.

Having the right work order system in place can help to ensure that your property management team is able to get your property up and running as soon as possible. For all of your workflow needs, contact Landport Systems in Walnut Creek, California.

Keep Your Business Running with Facility Management Software

As any successful business owner can tell you, it’s impossible to stay profitable without ensuring that daily operations are running smoothly. The biggest, most successful companies on the market today can attest to this simple fact, as can be seen with the recent meeting of the Middle East Facility Management Association (MEFMA) in Dubai. These companies, which impact the global marketplace on a massive scale, know something which other businesses should take note: the key to success lies within facility management software.

Proper facility management will allow your company’s day-to-day operations to run without a hitch and allow you to focus on the rest of your business. To the casual observer, the driving force behind any business endeavor appears to come from the production end of the company. Yet production cannot be easily maintained if you’re wasting time, manpower, or resources on trying to constantly fix your basic business needs. Whether your focus is on sales, car parts, or any other marketable field, the fact remains that you are going to run into critical production problems and snags in your plans if your core operations are giving you trouble. The moment your company begins to expand with new locations, hire more employees, or even add new branches, you’re going to need to take the proper steps to reinforce the efficiency of your business.

Facility management software gives the savvy business owner a streamlined and accessible way to manage every detail of even the most expansive companies. When on the fast track to success, it can become quite easy to get bogged down in the minutiae of your company’s needs. Cleaning, maintenance, workplace utilities and the other thousand responsibilities your workface will have to handle on a daily basis can be difficult to keep on track. By implementing the right management software, you’ll not only have a means by which to keep an eye on these operations but also an up-to-the-minute account of daily tasks.

Regardless of what your business’ short or long-term goals may be, you’ll have an incredibly difficult time reaching them if your basic operations aren’t running smoothly. If you’re serious about blazing a trail in the business world, set your company up to succeed with top quality facility management software. Once those daily responsibilities are squared away, you’ll be able to focus on the part of your business that matters to you.

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Take Small CMMS Bites

As our training staff combs through North America teaching folks how to use MP2 CMMS Software I can’t help but notice a pattern of success we are teaching that I feel will benefit folks using any type of CMMS Software.

The advice I have to share is succinctly stated in the title of this post:  Take Small CMMS Bites.  And that means don’t try to pull off a CMMS project where everything is included at the outset.

In fact, make a small manageable plan, such as scoping out the entry of all PM’s into the CMMS system using your equipment manuals.  Identify the equipment, locate the manuals, identify your resources for data entry, THEN cut all that way down again.  Instead of entering PM’s for ALL your equipment, just choose 5 pieces of equipment for your first go-round.  Take all your air compressors, for example, plus two HVAC units, and enter the PM details as recommended by the manufacturer of each.

The result will be a manageable scope of work whereby you will identify all the hurdles on a smaller scale, find solutions to get past those hurdles, and find your team succeeding at this first…small…bite, before taking the next.