By Nick Stefanidakis
General Manager, Archibus
SpaceIQ

Look around your office, school, factory, or hospital. What do you see? Desks, chairs, computers, machinery, building systems, office equipment, supplies. All the things that make a business, educational institution, or healthcare facility run. Without them, there would be no products, services, classes, or emergency care.

Everything that occupies space is an asset. Though often taken for granted as part of a “normal” workday, each asset must be monitored, maintained, repaired, upgraded or replaced on a specific schedule. A robust asset management plan is an essential part of your broader workplace or space management strategy.

Asset Management Defined

Assets are defined as anything that brings value to an organization and are generally grouped into three categories:

  • Facility: Mechanical, HVAC, conveyance, elevators, lighting, plumbing,, landscaping,  etc.
  • Personnel: Badges, personal protective equipment, communication devices, vehicles, etc.
  • IT/Office: Desktop computers, laptops, printers, copiers, software licenses, etc.

The main goal of asset management is to get the greatest amount of value out of every asset while reducing the overall lifecycle cost of each item. Such focus can reap big rewards. First National of Nebraska Inc., the largest, privately owned U.S. banking company, showed a $120,000 annual gain in operating efficiencies via better asset and facility management.

A good asset management plan helps you plan for the future and make data-driven decisions. By accounting for factors such as replacement, repair costs, resale value, criticality, life expectancies, policies and procedures, efficiencies, and workload, it’s much easier to make informed decisions that can save time and money.

The Benefits of Asset Management

Effective asset management can impact an entire organization. Knowing what assets you have, where they are located and used, their condition and current value provides insights on required maintenance plans, repair costs, and budgets.

For example, understanding how much your organization’s computers cost, how old they are, how long they are expected to last, their repair and upgrade histories, and associated downtime costs when they aren’t working, it’s much easier to do a cost/benefit analysis to determine whether to repair or replace the equipment.

Asset management planning helps:

  • Improve ROI by providing a common operating picture that aligns assets to an organization’s objectives
  • Plan what-if scenarios to optimize enterprise asset investments
  • Empower asset management teams to accomplish their goals with coordinated end-to-end resourcing
  • Optimize capital and other asset investments through integrated life cycle management for planning, acquisition, utilization, repurposing, and decommissioning/disposal
  • Enable staff to quickly inventory assets with mobile apps

Asset Management Plan Elements 

Creating an effective management plan is all in the details. Computer updates are different than furniture replacement or HVAC maintenance. Your asset management plan should cover five essential steps:

  1. Take inventory: The asset inventory should include equipment inside and outside your building. At the same time, gather as much information about the assets as possible: primary user(s), location, manufacturer information, serial numbers, warranties, condition, service histories, etc.
  2. Determine costs: Each asset has costs for its entire life cycle, not just what you spent on them. Budget for overall lifespan for each asset, maintenance, upgrades, and disposal.
  3. Set service levels: Do laptops need annual security upgrades? How often should the printer be cleaned? Clearly state the unique needs of each asset, then ensure the defined service level meets the needs of the primary users: your employees.
  4. Think proactively: Staying ahead of problems will save money in the long run. Base service levels on keeping assets in prime condition until it is time to replace them.
  5. Plan for the future: Look down the road for times where asset improvements will be needed. Then, set aside budget to meet those needs.

Asset Management During a Crisis 

Proactive planning shines the most during a crisis. COVID-19 shut entire economies down for weeks on end. Though office doors, showrooms, manufacturing floors, and schools may have been shuttered, maintenance and upkeep of the assets within them did not pause. Once employees and students migrate back to work and school, they expect computers, air conditioning, lighting, and other elements to still be operational. That is where an asset management plan is key. Knowing what needs to be done allows for faster decision-making regardless of a crisis.

Some assets require regular maintenance regardless of social or economic disruptions. But a crisis like COVID-19 may alter how and when service is done.

Here are a few things to consider if you are forced to modify your asset management plan:

  • Use: Are your assets used more or less during a crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic? Does this affect typical wear and asset life cycles?
  • Locations: If the number of employees working remotely has changed, do you have a plan to keep track of equipment locations?
  • Equipment purchase/sale: Have your real estate plans changed along with the number of employees using the building? Do you have a plan to manage your assets if you relocate or sell quickly?
  • Maintenance: During an emergency, which equipment is most important to maintain on a regular basis? Are there some which are less essential?

Think Ahead, But Be Flexible 

You can’t anticipate every contingency or emergency, but it’s important to remain flexible with your asset management plan. As COVID-19 or other crises change the way workplaces operate, businesses and schools must adapt their space management plans to meet each challenge.

An Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) is a powerful solution that helps you make adjustments when changes must be made quickly and on a large scale. Archibus Asset Management provides an integrated view of all assets, including properties, buildings, land, structures, equipment, and furniture.

Keep Reading: How to use an IWMS for asset management