As a facility manager, your range of responsibilities can be summed up into one goal: ensure the safe and efficient operation of your facility now and in the future. Keeping building occupants safe is a must, and efficiency allows you to reduce operating costs by avoiding waste of time, resources, and energy.

Operations and Management (O&M) costs are among the largest costs associated with a business. They are often filled with inefficiencies that can be improved upon to save money. In production facilities, can range from 15% to 40% of total product production costs. Reducing your O&M costs is an effective way to increase your return on investment (ROI) and contribute to the success of your business.

Typical responsibilities of a facility manager include:

  • Providing upkeep on all building systems to remove hazards to health and safety
  • Inspecting building systems to identify necessary repairs and deficiencies in need of improvement
  • Planning/performing refurbishments as they become necessary.

While these responsibilities may seem straightforward, the scale and complexity of most facilities add difficulty to a facility manager’s job. Additionally, these responsibilities can lead to growing costs over the life of a facility if they are not taken care of efficiently. Read below to find out how to reduce these costs.

1. Incorporate Software into your Maintenance Management

 

 

The growing importance of effective facility management has fortunately led to the creation of more sophisticated management tools. Instead of manually tracking all the moving parts of your facility, now you can use a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS).

CMMS systems allow you to track work orders digitally, assign maintenance personnel to these tasks, and assign deadlines and priority levels. These systems can also be used to catalog inventory and facility assets, aid in any future replacements, preventative maintenance, scheduled upgrades, and more. Many high-quality CMMS’s will also have built-in analytics to identify potential problems based on industry standards and real-time performance.

2. Design with Maintenance in Mind

Becoming an excellent facility manager for your business will require you to consider how the spaces within your building will be used, and then ensure that it is designed in a way that makes it easier to maintain.

Sanitation Procedures

For food & beverage facilities, one of the more unique challenges is ensuring that all machinery can be easily cleaned, thoroughly. Everything must be designed with washdown procedures in mind. This includes washdown-rated machinery, air filtration systems designed specifically for your needs, and hygienic drainage solutions.

Hygienic drainage systems, for example, are drains designed specifically to facilitate easy cleaning and deter excessive bacterial growth in your facility, providing for a healthier environment.

Flooring

 

 

Mechanical and electrical rooms are often the focal point of any facility’s O&M efforts, and thoughtful design can lead to a more efficient workspace. These rooms often undergo changes, and using a functional and versatile flooring material will best withstand these changes. Consider a polished concrete floor – it will not only have the longevity to last the life of the building but will also easily accept new equipment with few modifications.

3. Conduct Regular Building Surveys and Audits

 

 

Regularly checking for inefficiencies when it comes to your building O&M is essential for cost-effective maintenance that facilitates, rather than disrupts, the productivity of your business. or preventative maintenance can save your business up to 40% more than reactive maintenance. Predictive maintenance can be conducted by collecting live data points from throughout your facility to identify areas where equipment may not be performing as designed.

It can also be important to reevaluate the systems used in your building as changes are made over time. Buildings with internal data centers, for example, may no longer need a robust cooling system after moving to cloud-based operations. Conducting highly-focused studies and auditing individual systems regularly will reveal areas in need of improvement for your facility.

4. Upgrade to Energy-Saving Technologies

 

As technology changes, it is important to embrace new technologies that are often more cost-effective and efficient than the traditional methods they are replacing. For example, consider LED lighting and daylighting systems. LED lighting uses significantly less energy as compared to older lighting technology. It also gives off less heat to the facility, which means that less HVAC will be required for the space. Many modern LEDs also feature dimming capabilities for use in a daylighting system.

5. Conduct Life Cycle Cost Analysis on Renovations

 

 

When a retrofit, or a renovation of an old building for modern use, is performed, it is important to consider the monetary and energy savings that will be reaped over its entire lifetime.

It can often be tempting to use the upfront cost of a renovation as the key deciding factor. However, considering long-term costs and savings, especially those related to energy use and maintenance costs, is important. Hiring a professional to analyze your system’s operation may reveal some additional shortcomings as well.

 

6. Use Your Space Efficiently

 

 

An often-overlooked aspect of facility management is space usage. Facilities are often larger than they need to be, which means extra costs are needed to maintain the facility when all the space is not being used productively.

Facility managers can collaborate with owners to get the maximum usage out of the full facility space. While this doesn’t directly cut down on O&M costs, the improved productivity will offset a significant portion of O&M costs. Alternatively, a facility could simply not use wasted space within the facility, decreasing O&M costs for that space.

7. Reduce Equipment Downtime

 

 

When critical equipment goes down unexpectedly, it can be extremely costly. Since it’s usually imperative that system failures are resolved quickly, the associated costs for these repairs are typically higher. Reducing downtime by even a fraction of a percent each year can save thousands or more depending on your facility size.

Todd Gillman is the content director for the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.