To say that these are unprecedented times in the field of Facility Management is to echo the feelings of individuals, businesses, and organizations globally.
In an uncertain era of nonessential businesses being ordered to close or modify their brick and mortar locations due to public health concerns, facility owners, tenants, and managers must grapple with how to best respond to this new normal that may continue indefinitely.
When Stopping and Starting Your Facility is More Complicated Than Flipping a Switch
When facilities are shut down and those who routinely operate within the units or look after those units are gone, trouble can arise if the proper steps are not taken.
In many cases, business owners, property owners, and managers can not just walk away from a lot of places. Those in the food service industry, for example, are faced with the difficult decision to either operate under a modified take-out only format or close. For many businesses, there are shut down procedures; for others, these procedures are being created in real-time as managers navigate uncharted territory.
While there are typically processes in place for shutting a facility down or bringing it back up to speed, sometimes information regarding the standards for recording where things are stored and the individual functions of supplies or equipment falls through the cracks. In other words, a person might have step 1, step 2, and step 3 written down, but does not know where the shutoff is for step 1 or the documentation is for step 2.
Some managers are operating with paired down crews or taking on tasks that are new or unfamiliar.
When project and facility information is stored in an environment like eFacility, a maintenance team can communicate, access, and search for the information quickly. This is helpful during unique circumstances such as a stay-at-home order and in other emergency scenarios such as if a fire occurred.
What Happens To Institutional Knowledge When Bulk Baby Boomer Retirements Meet Massive Layoffs
Another difficult and detrimental consequence of COVID-19 and resulting in mandates to close businesses is the dramatic rise in unemployment.
In the United States alone, unemployment in the last month has been exponentially higher than any other time in history. One reality that owners and managers are facing is not just the temporary loss of employees but the possible permanent loss of information and knowledge accumulated by those individuals over time.
When people are laid off or away from the workplace for an extended period of time, they may not come back and with those individuals often goes valuable information and experience.
When a massive lay-off event combines with a high retirement rate, facilities become susceptible to losing the institutional knowledge necessary to keep the facility running or even to reopen the facility.
Whether a vital crew member does not return to reopen the facility or everyday work orders begin to pile up, eFacility can help capture the institutional knowledge so someone can step in and maintain the facility either temporarily or moving forward.
When A Change In Use Impacts Normal Maintenance
Not only can digital resources such as eFacility assist with recording information related to institutional knowledge but it can also assist with tracking preventative maintenance that may go undone while a facility is shut down. It can also alert individuals to vital maintenance that must be completed to ensure that the facility is able to reopen when the time comes.
Under normal circumstances, facility usage is relatively consistent as are the issues that arise.
If a facility is shut down for weeks, or perhaps months, in this case, there is an increased risk for new problems to arise that people are not used to fixing. eFacility lets maintenance workers know if those rare issues have happened before and by whom/how they were resolved. If this information is not available, individuals can document the fix for the first time and capture it as institutional knowledge so that the next time, even if it is in 10 years, they know how to fix it.
This can be useful not only during this time but also when unique problems arise. With all of the “fix” information captured, individuals can efficiently respond to the problem and cut down the cost of wasted energy searching for a solution.
Post-Pandemic Rebound for Facilities
eFacility provides software for facility managers that need to capture and share institutional knowledge.
eFacility’s patented technology captures the layout, location, documentation, and history of the facility to capture institutional knowledge and help technicians complete more work orders faster than they can without eFacility.
Geo-based documentation delivery ensures the technician can quickly access the important documentation for only the area of the facility in which they’re standing.