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How Can Facility Management Improve Productivity? With Analytics and Automation

Image of Jon Schoenfeld
Jon Schoenfeld

Whether you manage all aspects of your facilities or contract out maintenance and integration services, a fluid operation is essential to the success of commercial properties. This means attending to multiple, evolving, and, often, competing priorities—and compromised productivity can quickly have a negative impact.

How can facility management improve productivity? The simple answer is: by streamlining your system monitoring so you can more efficiently and holistically examine operations to find and address problems quickly and assess where things can be improved. Focusing on peak efficiency and having the time to develop strategies to achieve it can be a complex process. By using analytics and automation to parse through the operational data created by your systems, you can have a real chance at impacting the productivity of your team and may even uncover opportunities for reducing waste and optimizing equipment performance while you’re at it.

How Can Facility Management Improve Productivity?

Strategies to improve productivity often focus on doing more with less. However, simply doing more doesn’t necessarily improve productivity, especially in the long-term. Instead, it’s important to understand exactly what needs to be done, prioritize tasks, and allocate resources strategically. Analytics and automation can greatly enhance your ability to do that. 

Intelligent Analytics

When you are managing a commercial building, improving productivity begins with understanding the behavior of the building itself. An intelligent analytics platform continuously collects, organizes, and analyzes the vast volume of data generated by equipment and devices throughout your building. This gives you extraordinary visibility into building systems and provides insights that you or your contractors can use to make informed decisions regarding maintenance efforts and efficiency strategies. 

Intelligent analytics allows you to:

  • Access prioritized information. A smart analytics platform can prioritize data to ensure you get the information you need when you need it. Historical and real-time data is presented intelligently, revealing clear, actionable insights rather than an exhaustive list of alarms and metadata. With a mobile-accessible dashboard, this information can be accessed from virtually anywhere.
  • Produce custom reports. Reporting customized to the needs and preferences of each user is invaluable for making data meaningful to all stakeholders. Significantly, this allows you to examine the relationship between fixes and performance, increasing transparency between stakeholders and allowing you to refine efficiency and performance strategies.
  • Better understand the status of facility equipment, whether you want specific malfunctions to be flagged or just want to confirm online status. 
  • Rapidly correct faults and identify areas of potential improvement. By cutting through data noise and offering advanced fault detection and diagnostics, analytics can help you easily see where performance and efficiency can be improved, whether in the short or long-term.
  • Track progress toward goals. By revealing historical data trends, whether over a few weeks or a few years, analytics gives you an objective and precise way of assessing progress.

These capabilities open up important opportunities for improving productivity. When an analytics platform continuously monitors building conditions and equipment, you can drastically reduce reliance on human intervention and change the nature of intervention. Rather than spending time and resources on a time-based maintenance service that provides little value, you can rely on intelligent analytics to flag anomalies as they arise. Because even small anomalies can be detected, corrective action can often be taken long before malfunctions reach a point of crisis, resulting in less time-consuming fixes. Significantly, intelligent analytics doesn’t only tell you when to intervene, it can offer suggestions for how to intervene, allowing you to quickly identify the best course of action.

While analytics can free up time and resources previously spent on specific activities like time-based maintenance or uncovering the root cause of an alarm, it also allows facility management to improve productivity by informing day-to-day priorities, shaping long-term strategies, and helping team members better understand where to focus their energies overall. 

Automation

Automation has transformed the way facilities are managed, and the emergence of ever-advancing smart technologies is continuously opening up new possibilities. While many benefits of automation primarily concern energy efficiency and creating better occupant experiences, automation can also have a profound impact on productivity. 

In some ways, this is obvious; when a function is automated, it’s one less thing for the facilities management team to worry about. However, automation can also improve productivity in ways that may be less apparent at first glance. For example, if lighting, heating, and cooling systems run according to variables like occupancy or outdoor weather conditions to minimize energy waste, wear and tear on lighting and HVAC systems is reduced. Automatically pre-heating or pre-cooling buildings or parts of buildings in anticipation of unusual weather events can reduce occupant complaints. Automated response actions can adjust equipment settings according to defined rules, potentially preventing equipment failure and damage. All of these effects can have important implications for productivity and greatly reduce time spent on maintenance, repairs, and managing occupant expectations. 

The Value of a Master Systems Integrator

Realizing the full potential of intelligent analytics and automation is best achieved by partnering with a master systems integrator (MSI) with deep domain expertise. The right partner can assess the specific needs of your property and your facilities management team and architect secure solutions that address them. 

A recent effort to improve energy savings and occupant comfort at 757 Third Avenue in Manhattan is a prime example of how a master systems integration can make this possible. By working with Buildings IOT, the facility team was able to achieve its primary objectives while greatly reducing reliance on manual oversight and intervention.

Buildings IOT replaced two of the existing controls systems in the 502,000 square foot high-rise with EasyIO panels and controllers integrated to the Niagara framework and finished with a centralized, visual user interface for comprehensive control and continuous system monitoring.  The second phase of the project included installation of a fiber backbone and expanded analytics, metering, and other services to ensure maximum streamlining and productivity. The ultimate outcome is:

  • Ongoing energy performance tracking
  • Continuous identification of energy saving opportunities
  • State-of-the-art automated fault detection and diagnosis
  • KPI dashboard customized for the needs of different stakeholders

In addition to immediate benefits, the Buildings IOT system provides the framework for future peak-demand management programs.

Finding the Right Solutions

The increasing complexity of building equipment and systems has fundamentally changed the way buildings are managed. Collaborating with an MSI can ensure those changes are for the better by giving facilities management teams the tools they need to meet their operational goals and expand productivity. 

Buildings IOT’s master systems integrators can design custom solutions with advanced analytics and automation capabilities to support facilities management teams. Contact our team of experts to learn more about what we can do for you.

 

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