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Solving problems you never knew existed: Mobile tools are giving facilities managers 20/20 vision

Industry Trends | By | 22 Mar 2019 | 3 minute read

Data. Love it or hate it, data provides us with a clear advantage – giving us the ability to see and understand things that others cannot. In the 16th Century, the Dutch humanist Erasmus summed this up by saying, “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.”

In 2021, we are pushing ever closer towards 20/20 vision through rapid advancements in technology, which has fuelled the desire for more data and more insight. We can capture site information, on the ground and in real-time, with the simple use of a mobile device. This data, in the form of failures, successes, and remedial actions, is easily analyzed from a central location, resulting in more insight, quicker decision-making, and the identification of issues that we may not have known existed previously.

The benefits of clearer visibility

Without this level of actionable data to hand, the identification of many recurring problems within a facility would be difficult at best. Senior management would instead rely on word of mouth, anecdotal evidence or on their own gut instinct. The level of complexity is greater still when there are multiple employees performing inspections and managing day-to-day activities. However, with the hard facts laid out in front of us, we can start to address the major issues we face with more certainty.

With consistent data, we can also spot trends, such as those frequently raised incidents or recurring problems that warrant closer examination. This might expose, for example, that there are common failures across multiple sites, such as supplier issues or work that doesn’t meet high brand standards.

Evidence of a systemic issue is obviously vital knowledge. If left unchecked, a persistent problem of this nature could have serious consequences. But, when facilities managers are also armed with information that can demonstrate this to the relevant people, they are in a much better position to deal with the problem.

Tackling the problems

When we know there is an issue, an investigation into the problem can often point towards a resolution.

For instance, the analysis could reveal that ongoing issues with a specific supplier, responsible for the provision of products, have led to workers having an inability to complete tasks across multiple sites. Alternatively, you might discover there is a systematic problem, and this will need to be mentioned whenever similar work is commissioned in the future.

We can also use the information gleaned to inform and educate our teams. This can allow us to highlight frequently found issues around cleaning, supplies, maintenance or health and safety – helping us to increase the quality of service provided across the board.

Facilities managers are also in a much stronger position to broach persistent issues with clients, especially where remedial action is required. Where a financial outlay may be required to resolve a recurring issue, for example, facilities managers can present a compelling case when they have evidence to hand. This ultimately leaves less room for misinterpretation or conflict.

Capturing the information

It’s crucial that facilities managers are basing decisions on good information, however. If we don’t have consistently clear, comparable data, it’s hard to draw meaningful insights. It’s key, therefore, that accurate information is available.

This means any incident details that might previously have been considered nice-to-have – because they took too long to capture and include in reports – need to become must-have data. Thankfully, facilities managers now have tools that make it possible to capture the level of data required.

Mobile apps allow inspectors to record information instantly and file reports in a fraction of the time. In fact, users of iAuditor are typically performing average inspections in half the time that it took them previously, with management receiving the subsequent report up to eight times quicker.

Equipped with these tools, inspectors can operate more efficiently and provide facilities managers with the 20/20 visibility they need to address critical issues, removing recurring problems and improving the overall quality of service offered to clients.

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