If you work in a forward-thinking or tech-savvy organisation, you have likely heard about the benefits of using computerised maintenance management systems (CMMS) and capital planning software in your industry – and you may even be using one or both powerful tools on your campus today.
There’s a good reason for this. The right capital planning software can provide the defensible, comprehensive data your team needs to prioritise budgets, secure funding, and truly understand how your facility is performing against time and budget constraints. Similarly, a robust CMMS can provide actionable insight into utilisation stats, technician efficiency, facility management, and more – everything you need to optimise your day-to-day facility and asset maintenance strategies.
These benefits are only compounded for organisations that use these tools together. Here’s why CMMS and capital planning systems are more effective as a software suite and how using them can provide major benefits to your organisation.
The Basics of Capital Planning in Higher Education
Effectively managing budgets and executing effective financial planning is critical for most organisations – particularly in the ultra-lean COVID times we live in today. Real estate is often one of the highest expenses on an income statement – and it can be difficult to track the information required to get these numbers down, due to organisations using disparate systems and departments misaligning on budget needs.
That is where comprehensive condition assessment software like Realworld Systems VFA can help. Using VFA, our clients can:
These capabilities ultimately allow institutions like yours to unify their facilities’ information, prioritise spending, and promote alignment between facility spending and broader organisational goals.
Realworld Systems’ FAMIS 360 solution is purpose-built for education institutions, CRE, and the public sector – and it is easy-to-use, straightforward to implement, and simple to update for professionals in these industries.
The Basics of CMMS in Higher Education
The right cloud-based CMMS system can help facility managers optimise their facility and asset maintenance, thereby gaining efficiencies and maximising resources and/or revenue across buildings and assets.
More specifically, CMMS systems can help users – including maintenance technicians, managers, custodial workers, and other facility personnel – to:
Why You Need Both Tools for Your Organisation
Though powerful on their own, these tools are most impactful when used together. Each solution handles a different component of real estate and the asset lifecycle – with capital planning informing long-term plans while facility management focuses more on day-to-day issues and short-term maintenance – and using them in tandem will provide a comprehensive solution set.
By using VFA and FAMIS 360 together, you can accomplish many goals.
Align Day-to-Day Facilities Maintenance Tasks with Broader Goals
Capital planning software allows you to create budgets, optimise your organisation’s long-term investments and see how your spending decisions are impacting your broader goals and monetary constraints. In other words, it helps you to look at the big picture, plan, and see how your day-to-day decisions are helping or hurting your broader goals.
Computerised maintenance management software can help you optimise day-to-day decisions, so they do align with those broader goals. Automating work orders, evaluating vendor bids, streamlining schedules, optimising inventory – this all falls under the facility management (FM) umbrella. And due to the complementary nature of the two systems, if you do not get this part right, you are probably not going to like the data you see in your capital planning software.
Consider this scenario: A building’s classrooms need to be modified in line with COVID-19 protocols and allow a safe return to campus.
Your FM team goes in, submits work orders, evaluates bids, and ultimately procures and installs all the necessary materials, including plexiglass, social distancing markers, and sanitising stations. A week later, your capital projects team lets them know that, due to broader budgeting concerns, they are not actually going to use that building as a classroom at all. They need everything reinstalled at a new location ASAP. That all translates to additional costs, time and efficiency.
It is an overly simplified example, of course, but this kind of misalignment between facility management and capital planning teams is not unprecedented – and these communication silos can have significant negative consequences.
Using the CMMS and capital planning software in tandem could have avoided the headache entirely, allowing the FM team to see the broader plans before starting the install and perhaps even allowing capital planning to optimise their COVID-19 protocols based on what they learned from the FM team.
Maximise Clarity with Connected Financial Software
It is not just about your FM and capital planning teams being on the same wavelength, but also about the software itself being integrated – or at least in communication with one another. Think about it: capital planning helps forecast costs and prioritise investments that will ensure organisational alignment as well as bring the highest revenue and return, correct?
If your capital planners are in the dark about how much it costs to renew a piece of equipment or repurpose a space, they could miss something significant and ultimately face ongoing operational inefficiencies and have difficulty allocating funds. Those finer details might include: How much money goes toward emergency repairs; how much-scheduled maintenance is conducted; how much is spent on technicians, and difficulty allocating funds. Similarly, if your FM team does not know the larger plans for a building, space, or piece of equipment, they cannot guide their repair and maintenance activities to the areas of greatest concern.
Another scenario: Say you have a piece of equipment that has so far been reliable with no reactive maintenance and good preventive maintenance. Your organisation may choose to delay its replacement, despite the equipment reaching the end of its original expected life plan. This could save a great deal of money, particularly if it is scaled to many pieces of equipment in many buildings. Furthermore, this asset life and condition information would not normally regularly be tracked in the maintenance system alone. That is why alignment and sharing information within these two systems is so important. It can help both teams make optimised, informed decisions, which can ultimately increase efficiency and reduce costs all around.
Better Predict and Prioritise Capital Plans
Another scenario, because we love them: Say the capital team members at a university were looking back on their yearly spend and realised that they were over budget on their annual capital expenses.
Upon further inspection, they found that some expensive, yet unnecessary library renovations were the source of the problem, noting that there were some serious electrical issues in three classroom buildings that had gone unnoticed while the library was remodeled. If they had known about the electrical issue, they would not have moved forward with the unnecessary renovations – and now they have had to bear the financial brunt of both. In short, this oversight impacted revenue, efficiency, and the university’s bottom line.
So, what went wrong? Well, the capital planning team had no idea about the ongoing electrical concerns that the FM team was dealing with, so they could not effectively predict and plan where to allocate their capital spend. Similarly, the FM team had no idea that so much money was being spent elsewhere.
This, too, happens all the time, particularly with small repair and replacement work that adds up over time. And this lack, of clarity, can make a serious financial impact, particularly for organisations with smaller budgets or fewer staff members.
Fortunately, this concern can also be avoided by using a CMMS and capital planning software together.
Optimise Preventive Maintenance Strategies
Reactive maintenance consequences – like emergency repairs, unplanned downtime, and short asset lifecycles – can cripple any organisation, lowering maintenance efficiency and skyrocketing costs over time. Using capital planning software and a CMMS together can help diminish this reactive maintenance and maximise preventive maintenance strategies.
This largely has to do with the fact that a CMMS can provide detailed information that can inform broader capital projections. For example, while a capital planning software may see that there is an HVAC system, CMMS data can show all the component parts of that HVAC – including the maintenance history of that asset.
This nuanced information about assets can help capital teams prioritise system renewal and flag any repair or maintenance costs that are out of line. In the big picture, this kind of data from hundreds of assets and facilities can help capital planning teams better predict the risk of failure based on historical data. Translation: lower cost and higher uptime.
Integrating your capital planning and CMMS software can provide a myriad of benefits to your higher education organisation, helping you to effectively reduce costs, maximise transparency, stretch funding and align across departments and organisational goals.
Head over to our website to learn more about how we integrate CMMS into day-to-day activities – https://realworld-systems.com/.