SPONSORED: Rolling out COVID protocols, monitoring sites from afar, reduced populations in facilities: the past twelve months have posed their fair share of challenges. As we look to 2021 (and beyond), are we maximising the opportunity posed by tech to pick up the slack?
With fewer boots on the ground and ever-growing expectations from clients, those charged with delivering excellence in facilities management have a tough task on their hands. Keeping sites compliant, managing staff and contractors from a distance, driving productivity and efficiency: how do we do more with less?
We’ve all seen first-hand the powerful role technology can play in helping organisations adapt to change. In the last twelve months we’ve rolled out mass remote learning; Zoom fitness and exercise classes; remote conferences, contactless shopping and more.
When it comes to managing our facilities, are we maximising the opportunities tech has to offer? Here are some of the biggest themes to expect in FM tech as we move forward:
#1. More power to the frontline
Front-line workers make up 80% of our global workforces and are at the heart of successful facilities management: whether it’s our cleaning teams or maintenance, our engineers or our auditors. They’re our first responders who can capture information that would otherwise be missed: our eyes and ears, at the actionable point of risk.
Despite this, they’ve been historically underserved when it comes to technology. Just 1% of venture capital funding is invested in tooling to support the biggest portion of our workforces.
Empowering staff with the tech they need directly on their mobile devices presents a huge - and underutilised - opportunity that will continue to accelerate in the coming twelve months.
This includes the ability to flag issues on-the-go, to assign actions to other teams when they spot a need, complete checks and inspections, or even undertake on-the-spot microlearning or training when faced with a new system or appliance they’ve not faced before.
#2. Accountability and proof of work done
One of the biggest pain points for any organisation working to deliver on contracts for clients is providing proof of work done in line with expectations.
Investing in our frontline tooling supports here too. With GPS technology to verify workers are checking in on site, photo captures of work completed, digital scheduling and recording of vital checks and protocols: technology can provide that much-needed evidence to demonstrate contractual obligations have been met.
More than that, though, it also builds a culture of accountability from the ground-up, by putting that power in workers’ hands.
#3. Real-time visibility
With staff able to capture issues or conduct checks straight from their mobile devices, syncing that data as they go, we open the door to real-time visibility.
Without having to wait for physical documents to be checked, signed and emailed or even physically returned to an office, management and clients alike can see what’s really happening within their facilities, at any time. We’ll see processes streamlined and issues identified and addressed quicker, minimising risk and improving both safety and efficiency.
#4. Uniting data across multiple platforms and sources
We’ve been anticipating the mass adoption of smart technologies, IoT, sensors and more for a long time. We’ll continue to see their role and importance grow in 2021.
But perhaps more important is what happens when we introduce these additional data points into our facilities - how we get that data flowing effectively, particularly when clients have their own different systems and tools in play.
The growing emphasis on different systems ‘playing nice’ through integration and the injection of intelligence to make sense of that data will be a focus in the industry going forward. A true digital ecosystem with all our tools and data talking to each other may seem like a far-off utopia, but it’s starting to grow.
With it, we’ll also see a shift from reactively addressing problems, to actually predicting them before they even arise.
Join the discussion
Interested in understanding more about the potential role of tech in FM? SafetyCulture will welcome global industry leaders from Sodexo, Mitie, Atalian Servest and more to it’s free virtual industry roundtable on 4th March, 3-4pm. Register for free today.