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File Management Best Practices for Facility Managers

February 12, 2019

Here’s a challenge: stop what you’re doing and find any data pertaining to one of your boilers. Can you reference the O&M manual? Can you find paperwork that tells you the last time it was last serviced? Hopefully the answer is yes. But how long did it take you to gather it? Was it a hassle to find?

Facility data is powerful, but only if you know where it is and how to use it. If your space information and assets are currently paper-based, unorganized or unaccounted for, it may seem nearly impossible to sort through. Whether you haven’t implemented a facility management software yet or are currently struggling with the one you’re using, you need to prioritize organizing your building data. Remember that it’s never too late to start. Not only will this put you on a more proactive path, but also prep you for when you can finally implement the software solution you want. Read how to get started below.

Organize Your Floor Plans

Floor plans are the base that we can build this data collection on, and one of the most important documents to have at a moment’s notice. Because so many different tasks we complete depend on our space data being accurate, floor plans should be the first thing you prioritize as you go through the organization process.

Why should I organize my blueprints and floor plans?

1. Help yourself and others understand your building layouts.

Your facility layout is second-nature to you, but not to everyone. Sick day? Transferred? Retiring (someday)? If you don’t properly document building layouts, you’re missing out on an opportunity to help out.

2. Have an accurate idea of your facility’s net square footage.

Once you have an idea of your net square footage, it’s a short hop to figuring out net cleanable square feet. This allows you more effectively budget time and order the correct amount of supplies.

3. Be prepared with updated plans in case of emergency.

Nobody hopes for the worst, but you need to be ready for anything. If emergency workers are responding to an issue, correct and accurate floor plans ensure that they can move around as quickly and efficiently as possible.

AkitaBox floor plan viewer with equipment and asset management

How should I organize my building’s floor plans?

1. Go digital by using facility management software.

Lack of space is the enemy here. If you aren’t going to implement a facility management software, you’re dealing with stacks and stacks of paper floor plans. Scanning and storing documents digitally guarantees order, longevity, and accessibility

2. Resize large documents to save space.

If electronic document storage isn’t an option, scanning and resizing large blueprints can more than halve the space they take now. Keep originals safe and use smaller printed copies for in-the-field reference

3. Avoid too much unnecessary detail.

Use only as much information as you need. Blueprints and floor plans can get dense, and you’re hurting your efficiency if you’re spending time thumbing through stacks of paper.

Organize Your Work Orders

Navigating a paper-based work order system can get messy quickly. Work orders come and go at a very high frequency and will pile up if they aren’t carefully organized. Trying to keep them straight is daunting, but can and should be done for proper record keeping.

Why should I track maintenance work orders?

1. Avoid missing something.

An accurate work order organization system will help you make sure nothing falls through the cracks. Keep your occupants happy by responding on time the first time.

2. Track recurring maintenance problems.

If your wrench time starts feeling familiar, the ability to go back and identify repeat problem areas can save you from making the same maintenance trip every other week. From there, you can consider your options for more permanent fixes. If your permanent fixes are beginning to feel a little less permanent, it may be time to consider replacing an asset instead of a fix. Although this may seem like the much more expensive option, sometimes replacements can actually end up being cheaper than chronic repairs. Need help figuring out which assets are best to repair versus replace? You can easily download a cheat sheet here.

3. Monitor hours spent servicing assets.

Tracking hours can sometimes feel like a chore, but it pays off in more ways than one. From estimating work times for teams to budgeting how much that work will cost you, tracking hours gives you metrics to measure against for future planning.

AkitaBox maintenance work order software

How should I organize my work orders?

1. Use a digital work order management system.

The right facility management software should include a robust work order module that allows you and your team to easily organize and prioritize service requests from occupants, reactive work that needs to be performed on assets, and preventative work orders that needs to be completed on a regular basis. AkitaBox has modules that offer all three solutions that can either work independently or powerfully together depending on what your facility team needs. If you’re interested in learning how a digital work order management system can up your facility team’s game, schedule a product tour with an AkitaBox facility specialist here.

2. Embrace Excel.

If you currently are using clipboards or binders to track your work orders, you’ll probably learn pretty quickly that these are the first to pile up and the easiest to get frustrated sifting through. If you don’t currently use a CMMS that has a work order system as a dedicated feature, your next best bet is getting your team to use spreadsheets. This will allow you to search faster and with more accuracy to find what data you need.

Download Now - Maintenance Work Order Template - CSV Version

Organize Your Facility Asset Data

Asset data is tricky. Equipment can age, things can get replaced without being recorded, and paperwork can get lost as it changes hands over the years. Although it feels like a larger undertaking, taking the time to record asset data in one concerted effort ensures consistency and completeness. You’re laying the groundwork for future asset information gathering.

Why should I collect my facility asset data?

1. Cut down on time spent searching for equipment.

You need to know where things are, and sometimes a quick look at a floor plan can be easier than relying on memory. Start your day by planning out an efficient route to take as you cover daily tasks. Time spent walking back and forth across the building could be better spent servicing assets or performing preventive maintenance throughout your facility.

2. Make communication between yourself and contractors more efficient.

Building renovation is not something you want to drag out. You can do your part by having asset information consolidated and ready to pass on to whoever needs it. If a contractor can organize the assets they’ll be servicing and working around, they can perform their job more efficiently and everyone can avoid interruption.

3. Make building data easily available for the rest of your team.

You don’t want to make information unaccessible. Outside parties coming to help you out don’t have the same innate knowledge of your building as you do. No two facilities are the same, so a detailed record of quirks and tips can save someone hours of problem-solving and help them get the job done fast.

AkitaBox accessible facility management data

How can I organize my asset information?

1. Record any and all information currently available to you.

Begin by making sure you’ve documented critical documentation for each of your assets. These can include:

    • Name/distinguishing characteristics
    • Location
    • Manufacturer
    • Model number

Download the Ultimate Preventative Maintenance Checklist to help you capture asset information and establish naming conventions.

2. Keep O&M Manuals Connected to Assets.

You’re saving yourself frantic searching in the future as problems arise. An O&M manual can expedite repairs, give you a list of parts when it comes time for replacement, and provide manufacturer contact information for problem assets.

3. Consider outsourcing data collection if you’re short on time.

There’s another important reason to organize your files: implementing a CMMS. Any CMMS that you implement will depend on your collected information to be a foundation for a more dynamic approach to preventative maintenance for your buildings.

AkitaBox Onsite Data Collection Services for Facility Management

Worried you won’t have the time to organize these files? Facility management software offered at AkitaBox does all of this data collection and organization for you. Learn how it can be done in under 90 days.

Have your own tips or tricks? Comment below to share with the facility management community.

Eleanor Jacobson

Former Blog Contributor and Marketing Communications Manager for AkitaBox.

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File Management Best Practices for Facility Managers

February 12, 2019
Eleanor Jacobson

Former Blog Contributor and Marketing Communications Manager for AkitaBox.

Subscribe to the AkitaBox Blog

Be the first to receive the latest in facility management information, trends, and thought leadership