CMMS for Schools Promotes Functional Facilities

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator

More and more, a school or university is a dynamic environment. Kids aren’t sitting idle in classes anymore, watching teachers at the front of the room. In the age of flipped classrooms and immersive learning environments, students are on-the-move, using more of the facilities around them. They rely on educational institutions for support, which makes it imperative for administrators to answer this expectation with CMMS for schools.

CMMS software enables rapid action from in-house maintenance and facilities staff to ensure the school’s resources, amenities, and facilities function as-expected. From IT support to janitorial and beyond, CMMS aligns the school’s support staff with the needs and expectations of the people using facilities—students, teachers, parents, and administrators alike.

Here’s a look at the role CMMS platforms play in facility maintenance and building upkeep, and the role these services ultimately have in the educational experience.

What is CMMS school maintenance software used for?

Whether it’s an elementary school with a couple hundred students or a college campus that plays host to thousands of learners, educational facilities face daily wear and tear. Facilities need upkeep to stay functional day in and day out. CMMS software helps maintenance and support staff stay on top of these needs as they arise, in order to minimize downtime and ensure resources are always available for the people who need them.

CMMS platforms serve as a single source of intake and organization for support tickets and routine maintenance tasks. When a teacher submits an IT support ticket to have her projector fixed or the janitorial staff needs a replacement set of recycling bins for a classroom, these tasks queue into the CMMS, where they’re sorted and processed, and eventually addressed. The system itself makes sure services get assigned to the right person, billed to the right cost center, and archived accordingly.

In simplest terms: a school CMMS system ensures the many maintenance needs of facilities get taken care of in a cost-efficient, timely manner.

The benefits of CMMS for colleges and schools

A CMMS platform is a central management system for the broad maintenance and upkeep tasks present in educational facilities. As a result, it’s also the best place to look for cost-saving opportunities, efficient approaches to upkeep, and data for improving maintenance operations. Here’s a look at some of the broad benefits associated with CMMS:

  • Better budgeting for recurring and routine repairs and maintenance
  • Better cost allocation and expensing to different cost centers
  • Expedited time to repair for support tickets and maintenance requests
  • Improved planning for capital improvements and large projects
  • More organized ticketing and task allocation through a CMMS
  • Archived repair and maintenance tickets for reference in the future
  • Access to prior servicing data and notes, to facilitate better future service
  • Automations to reduce time, cost, and manpower affiliated with repairs

There’s an expectation that the assets and amenities within the learning environment will be accessible when teachers and students need them. CMMS makes it easy to track and monitor service tickets and requests, to ensure they’re well-maintained and available at all times. The result isn’t just a better educational experience—there’s also school pride and satisfaction to consider, especially at the university level where tuition and enrollment costs tend to be top-of-mind.

How to implement CMMS school maintenance software

The approach to implementing CMMS software depends on the scale. The rollout for a single elementary school or satellite building is much simpler than for an entire college campus. Facility managers need to first understand this scope, then identify the features and capabilities of software that ensure it meets expectations.

For schools with existing CMMS software or some other form of maintenance request management, look for ways to automate data transfer to a modern CMMS. This can include extracting, transforming, and loading (ETL) data into the new software, or importing critical maintenance data and tweaking it manually. There may also be the ability to directly port data from a legacy system into a new cloud-based environment.

If the CMMS and digital maintenance management are brand-new concepts for a school, it’s important to focus on setup and establish the system correctly from day one. This means establishing rules and hierarchies, and ensuring data get sorted, logged, and aggregated accordingly. It’s also important to consider integrations and automations that can assist in auto-populating the CMMS, from incoming ticket submissions to the archival of complete requests. Over time, thorough setup will coalesce into a system that works as-intended to provide support to facility professionals at both the building and campus levels.

The bottom line on CMMS software for schools

Educational facilities are only as effective as they’re maintained to be. If resources and amenities aren’t functional, students can’t take advantage of them, which hinders the learning experience. Conversely, well-maintained facilities empower educators and enable students. From in-classroom technologies to common-area facilities, it all needs to work for students to benefit.

CMMS platforms for schools put facility maintenance teams at the forefront of addressing problems where and when they arise. And, with as much traffic and use as educational facilities see, CMMS gives them a much-needed edge in planning for and budgeting against the ever-present needs of these facilities.

Keep reading: Facilities Management Software for Schools


CMMS Government Software to Reduce Taxpayer Expenses

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist

Government buildings are the product of taxpayer funding. Not only does that mean they need to be open and accessible to citizens, they also need to be well-maintained and well-serviced to ensure that they serve the purpose they’re designed for. In today’s era of building management systems, CMMS government software is on the forefront of upkeep and maintenance. More than that, it’s on the front lines of keeping taxpayer expenses lower.

It’s important to consider where government building budgets come from. If the cost of building maintenance for the city’s courthouse increases from $800,000 to $1 million annually, that money needs to come from somewhere. Often, it comes through increased taxes or from the city’s coffers—which also represent taxpayer funds.

In short, it’s important to be proactive with government building maintenance, to keep the cost to taxpayers as low as possible. This mission starts and ends with government CMMS software.

What is government CMMS software used for?

Government CMMS software is the electronic maintenance system for buildings. From routine janitorial to capital improvements, project expenses to seasonal maintenance, every maintenance and repair task for the building flows through this platform. It’s a system of record and management, as well as a historical archive of maintenance performed to-date, in the past year, or going back as far as necessary for the purpose of record-keeping.

More than a system of management, CMMS software is also a system of organization. It allows maintenance teams to flag and tag requests to different cost centers, or to compile information about a specific system such as the HVAC or plumbing. It represents a trove of data that makes it easier to plan and budget for future upkeep expenses, using data that’s readily available.

In short, government CMMS software streamlines building management. On the surface, it enables more proactive management all around; under the surface, the data it collects helps drive down costs.

The benefits of CMMS for government applications

Managing building and asset maintenance through a centralized system affords governments a wide variety of benefits when it comes to increasing ROI. Here’s a look at what to expect when the burden of facilities upkeep shifts to a well-organized, carefully orchestrated management system:

  • Better budgeting for recurring and routine repairs and maintenance
  • Better cost allocation and expensing to different cost centers
  • Expedited time to repair for support tickets and maintenance requests
  • Improved planning for capital improvements and large projects
  • More organized ticketing and task allocation through a CMMS
  • Archived repair and maintenance tickets for reference in the future
  • Access to prior servicing data and notes, to facilitate better future service
  • Automations to reduce time, cost, and manpower affiliated with repairs

The ultimate outcome is well-maintained government facilities that perform the service they’re meant to. From the neighborhood post office to the public works office building downtown, taxpayers will find the buildings at the core of their local government are themselves supported. It instills confidence that taxpayer funds are being put to work appropriately, and that they’re benefitting from them when it comes time to interact with government facilities.

How to implement CMMS government maintenance software

Instituting CMMS software in government buildings is simpler than it seems. Most governments have some form of legacy software for managing maintenance tasks, which means they’re already familiar with the benefits. Porting an outdated system over to a new, cloud-enabled system is often a matter of export/import or extract-transform-load (ETL), to migrate historical data and repeating tasks from the old system to the new one.

For smaller municipalities that lack a CMMS, starting from scratch is simple thanks to intelligent software. It’s easy to program repeating upkeep and maintenance services, or set up triggers that automate maintenance and upkeep workflows. Broad integrations also make it possible to quickly connect and populate data from other maintenance and recordkeeping systems.

The simplest way to implement a CMMS for government facility upkeep is to start using one and make it the standard for which all maintenance and repair tasks go through. Consistent use leads to better familiarity, which makes it a central part of total maintenance services. Over time, the system will become a more robust repository for data and the people using it will acclimate to more efficient solutions for facility upkeep.

The bottom line on CMMS government software

When we think of government building upkeep as a taxpayer expense, it becomes imperative to keep these costs as low as possible. That means understanding them and working to strategically mitigate them—and to do that takes access to data only a CMMS platform can provide.

Whether it’s a courthouse, town hall, police station, local army base or even the local DMV, CMMS software represents an opportunity to control building maintenance and repair costs at a granular level. The result is facilities that look and feel well-maintained, at less of a cost to the taxpayers who rely on them.

Keep reading: 5 Pillars of Government Facility Management Software


Healthcare CMMS Enables Better Patient Care

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist

You’d be hard-pressed to find facilities more technologically equipped than hospitals and other healthcare environments. Today, the practice of caregiving is as much dependent on facilities and assets as it is on the physicians and nurses actually delivering it. To care for patients, hospitals need to also care for facilities. In that sense, an investment in healthcare CMMS is an investment in better patient care.

A healthcare CMMS puts vital upkeep and maintenance at the forefront of broader facilities management. It paves the way for accessibility across facilities by ensuring the amenities within them and the systems that govern them work as-expected for doctors, patients, visitors, and anyone else relying on them. A single-source of maintenance and upkeep also allows in-house maintenance staff to get ahead of potential problems, to prevent trouble from cropping up in much-used areas of facilities.

A healthcare CMMS solution allows hospitals and other facilities to put more of their attention on caregiving and patient care, without worrying about whether facilities will support them.

What is healthcare CMMS used for?

A healthcare CMMS is primarily used to ensure repair and maintenance tasks get their due attention. This can mean everything from schedule upkeep to immediate repairs, starting from the submission of a support ticket to assigning that task and allocating the expense. It’s meant to ensure upkeep and repairs don’t get lost in the ethers, so that healthcare providers can continue to rely on the facilities and amenities around them.

Below the surface, healthcare CMMS systems are actually cost-saving budgeting tools that help control the ever-rising cost of healthcare facility maintenance. Especially in larger hospitals and healthcare buildings that see thousands of visitors each day, there needs to be consistent focus on cost control. Healthcare CMMS helps facility maintenance managers review costs, plan for expenses, budget projects, allocate to different cost centers, and optimize the use of man-hours and resources.

At the end of the day, a healthcare CMMS serves as the framework for facilitating maintenance and doing it efficiently. With the cost of healthcare already high and demand even higher, keeping facilities working properly is paramount.

The benefits of healthcare CMMS software

Because it’s the standard for all maintenance actions within the healthcare environment, a CMMS quickly becomes a source of truth and action for those responsible for upkeep. This can include recognizing proactive maintenance opportunities, reducing servicing costs, and ensuring critical amenities get due attention in a timely manner. Here’s a look at the broad benefits that accompany CMMS use:

  • Better budgeting for recurring and routine repairs and maintenance
  • Better cost allocation and expensing to different cost centers
  • Expedited time to repair for support tickets and maintenance requests
  • Improved planning for capital improvements and large projects
  • More organized ticketing and task allocation through a CMMS
  • Archived repair and maintenance tickets for reference in the future
  • Access to prior servicing data and notes, to facilitate better future service
  • Automations to reduce time, cost, and manpower affiliated with repairs

Above all, these benefits translate into facilities that work as-expected, when needed. If a handicap-accessible entrance isn’t functional or the nurse paging system on the second floor is down, it directly impacts patients. Having these issues front and center in a CMMS ensures they’re dealt with and better-understood, so that there are fewer problems like them in the future.

How to implement a healthcare CMMS

Most healthcare facilities already have some sort of digital maintenance software. Unfortunately, legacy systems aren’t always cloud-enabled or broadly compatible with increasingly smart healthcare infrastructure. To capitalize on modern-day CMMS, hospital facility managers need to orchestrate a complete migration.

Migration can occur in many different ways, depending on the scope of data involved in the transfer. In some cases, it may be a simple import-export of data that takes place in stages, to ensure a proper port. In other cases, it may involve an extract, transform, and load (ETL) procedure, where data feeds into a data lake or structured warehouse before flowing into the new CMMS. Sometimes, a direct port is possible. In any case, it’s imperative there’s no data loss and that operations aren’t interrupted during the switch.

For facilities establishing a completely new CMMS, detail-oriented setup is imperative. That means taking the time to orchestrate information about each asset, maintenance and cost center information, and more. Triggers and hierarchy programming should also be a focus, to automate as much of the workflows coming into the CMMS as possible. Integration is also imperative—especially for healthcare facilities with IoT networks and other networked systems that offer relevant data for the CMMS.

Above all, it’s important to build failsafe and redundant systems into the CMMS, to ensure every critical system gets due attention during implementation and beyond.

The bottom line on healthcare CMMS software

As healthcare facilities become more robust, so must the management of these facilities. Moreover, demand for healthcare is at an all-time high and rising, which means facilities will get put to the test as more people seek care. To meet the needs and expectations of patients, healthcare professionals need to be able to rely on the facilities around them.

CMMS software brings facility maintenance, upkeep, and repairs to the forefront of managing a successful healthcare establishment. From urgent care facilities to specialty clinics, hospitals to general care offices, when facilities support caregiving, everyone benefits.

Keep reading: Hospital Facility Management Software and the Patient Experience


CMMS vs. EAM: The Benefits of Using Both

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator

The realm of software for building and facilities management is growing to include more specialized, targeted platforms. While you can still find most major facility management tools inside an IWMS and most space planning tools in a CAFM platform, you’ll need to look beyond when it comes to asset management and building maintenance. It comes down to a question of CMMS vs. EAM, and how to best-leverage them both into better operations.

While they may just seem like two more acronyms, a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) and an Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) system are two very different pieces of software. They offer completely different suites of tools and resources to facility professionals. That said, they’re often used in tandem, to produce results that keep facilities and everything in them running smoothly.

Here’s a look at the differences between CMMS and EAM, how they function independently, and what the benefits are to using both of them together.

What is a computerized maintenance management system?

A CMMS system is a platform for managing work requests, service tickets, upkeep responsibilities, repair projects, and more. It’s an organizational system for asset management that’s feature-rich to ensure quickness, cost efficiency, and better outcomes from asset maintenance.

On the surface, a CMMS acts as a queue. Support tickets or manual tasks appear with relevant information for in-house maintenance teams to field. The system allows managers to assign these tasks to appropriate craftspeople or vendors, and track the status of the job through completion. Afterwards, it’s archived and sorted as part of a comprehensive record-keeping system.

The entire CMMS system—from ticket submission to archival—creates a documented record of maintenance and upkeep, which informs a better approach to everything from budgeting to asset decision-making. Facility maintenance professionals have access to job-specific and historical data which informs them on better, more cost-efficient asset upkeep in the future.

What is an enterprise asset management system?

An EAM gives facility professionals a complete overview of assets under management. This can include the building and its capital systems, as well as individual assets that are part of everyday operations. There are also varying levels of EAM sophistication, ranging from full digital twins to simple records of each asset as a cost center.

The primary function of EAM software is to better-inform asset managers of the status of assets. This can include the service record and service information, annual cost of ownership, age and condition of the asset, and much more. The purpose is to provide an at-a-glance understanding, with the option to drill down into specific information that might be useful for decision-making. Do you buy a new company car or maintain the one you already have? When was the elevator last serviced? What is the total cost of upkeep for the break room appliances?

EAM systems are increasingly robust, and can go beyond informing managers about the pertinent facts of an asset. For example, machine learning can glean upkeep data from EAM software to help create a preventive maintenance schedule for a particular asset. Or, IoT integration can make real-time asset tracking possible. The result is a new level of asset oversight, resulting in better ROI.

What’s the difference between CMMS and EAM?

The primary difference between CMMS and EAM is their function. While both pertain to facility assets, they deal with different perspectives of asset management. EAM focuses more on understanding assets and learning about them in the context of their use, cost, and needs. CMMS focuses more on the action of upkeep, to ensure they’re well-maintained and properly serviced. Both are imperative for maximum ROI; they’re adjacent in asset management.

For example, an EAM with machine learning may recognize the need for HVAC service every 68 days (average). The EAM will establish the service record of the building’s HVAC stack and organize the information associated with prior maintenance and costs, as well as any other information needed to facilitate better upkeep. The actual task of upkeep will occur through the CMMS, in the form of a recurring support ticket every 68 days (or sooner), to ensure there’s a system of record.

If it wasn’t already apparent, there’s significant integration opportunity for CMMS and EAM. Both can use the data of the other system, and leverage it into better asset management and ROI.

The benefits of CMMS and EAM together

CMMS and EAM software naturally complement each other. When you consider buildings and their systems as assets, and the need for upkeep across all assets managed within that building, these platforms go hand-in-hand to facilitate a continuum of care and maintenance. EAM tracks the condition of the HVAC system, or the elevator, or the A/V projector—CMMS ensures these assets get the regular and routine upkeep and repair they need to stay functional.

The result of using CMMS and EAM together is a workplace that stays functional ta the highest levels. Less downtime, fewer unexpected problems, and better longevity are all direct results of understanding and attending to assets. CMMS and EAM link understanding to action when it comes to building and asset upkeep.

Keep reading: How the Top CMMS Software Providers Stand Out


Six Major Functions of CMMS for Schools

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator

With all the activity college campuses see on a daily basis, upkeep becomes a major priority. From the buildings themselves to the assets and technologies within them, things are subject to breaking. Whether by age, malfeasance, or freak accident, it’s important to facilitate repairs as quickly as possible, to keep the campus accessible and safe. To do this requires nothing short of a full CMMS for schools.

Considering the sheer volume of support tickets colleges see on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, a CMMS provides invaluable benefits. From digital logging of tickets to automatic assigning to craftspeople, campus managers get plenty of mileage out of a well-managed CMMS.

What is CMMS?

A Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) is a digital system for processing maintenance requests. Ideally, it handles the complete life cycle of maintenance from request, to delegation, to execution, to archiving, and, if necessary, recall.

CMMS platforms are generally automated. Someone submits a maintenance ticket through a web portal, which enters a queue. Within the queue, it’s delegated to the right department via a tag, such as “IT service” or “general repair.” Once jettisoned to the right department, it becomes a work order and goes into the daily work log. From there, it’s either handled by an in-house craftsperson or outsourced to a vendor based on a service-level agreement (SLA).

When a craftsperson fulfills the work request, it’s archived accordingly. If it’s integrated with a digital twin, that record becomes part of the life cycle maintenance profile for a particular asset. If it’s a standalone system, it’s easy to search and recall service requests within the CMMS for future reference.

Functions of CMMS for schools and colleges

While many campuses have some form of support ticketing and work request strategy, the shift to CMMS is invaluable—especially on larger campuses. Here’s a look at some of the ways universities benefit:

  1. Maintain facilities. The most obvious benefit of CMMS is that it is a more efficient way to maintain and repair facilities. Instead of being passed from person to person across departments, CMMS provides a point of access for anyone who needs to submit a ticket.
  2. Keep tech accessible. CMMS that accepts IT support tickets is especially invaluable. Campuses are increasingly technology-driven, and faster attention to items that need repair means learners can continue to use them as-needed.
  3. Improve campus safety. Some maintenance items are downright hazardous—think downed power lines or a shattered window. The ability to flag urgent repairs in a CMMS ensures they receive the attention they need to keep the campus population safe.
  4. Reduce distractions. The warped door that keeps banging shut. The buzz from a damaged projector. Untended maintenance items are distractions. CMMS expedites time to fix and allows for more complete fixes—especially for repeat offenders.
  5. Boost spirit and pride. A well-maintained campus is an enjoyable one. Students and teachers want to feel like the facilities around them are well-kept and cared for, not derelict and damaged. Beautiful, maintained facilities evoke a sense of pride.
  6. Coordinate craftspeople. Most campuses don’t have a “maintenance department.” Instead, they have a team of craftspeople tasked with addressing specific types of maintenance. CMMS makes it easier to coordinate people and projects by skill.

These functions come together in one big benefit: a campus that meets expectations. When everything works as-expected and as-intended, fewer obstacles stand between teachers, students, and their education. The benefit of CMMS for schools comes from its ability to provide an environment that’s accessible, functional, safe, and comfortable.

Keep facilities accessible to eager learners

Whether it’s a damaged door or a faulty projector screen, anything that doesn’t work the way it’s intended to becomes an inconvenience. In some cases, it impedes the education of students; in other cases, it’s a distraction—or worse, downright hazardous. In any case, the best way to make sure an issue gets due attention is to have a system for fielding requests and prioritizing them appropriately.

A college CMMS system provides a complete, efficient ecosystem for facilities maintenance across campus. From tech support to trade-related repairs, a CMMS makes it easy to identify and understand a problem and get to work on a repair. CMMS not only expedites the time to repair, it keeps the campus functioning as it’s meant to, so that students, faculty, and visitors can continue to have a positive experience.

Keep reading: Space Planning for Schools: A Bird’s Eye View


What is Asset Property Management?

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator

There’s plenty of overlap in the world of asset management and property management—after all, property is an asset. That said, asset property management is a confusing concept that overlaps with real estate and portfolio management. To make matters more confusing, there’s also the concept of “property asset management” to consider. It begs the question: what is asset property management?

Facility managers need to get familiar with the concept as part of a broader understanding of how to oversee facilities. Here’s a look at where asset property management falls into context alongside other forms of asset management and property management.

What is asset property management?

Asset property management is part of the spectrum of asset management. It trends toward the macro end of the scale:

  • Asset management involves oversight of assets
  • Property management involves oversight of property
  • Property asset management involves oversight of properties as assets
  • Asset property management involves oversight of assets within properties

The difference between “property asset management” and “asset property management” is largely semantic. Most companies practice both in conjunction with each other, which further adds to the ubiquitous nature of the definition. Moreover, most facility managers and portfolio managers see property and property assets as one in the same. For example, it’s difficult to separate the HVAC system from the building it’s tied to. For all intents and purposes, they’re managed together.

Asset management in the real estate market

There is one important distinction to make when looking at assets within properties and the property itself: one of value. The overall value of real estate comes from many individual factors. In commercial real estate, capital systems play a significant role in the value of the building.

For example, a building that is in great shape but has poor HVAC may cost more in upkeep, raising the total cost of ownership. Conversely, an older building with great HVAC may be worth less, but operates more efficiently. When it comes to evaluating these buildings, portfolio managers need to consider how the assets that govern each property play into the total value of the holding.

Put another way, asset property management plays a big role in portfolio management. If the sum total of capital systems in Building A costs more than the sum total of an identical Building B, it’s a sign of the need for better asset management. The decision to act (or not to act) contributes to the value of that building within the company’s broader real estate portfolio.

Tips for better asset property management

The golden rule for asset property management is to be proactive, as opposed to reactive. While it may seem counterintuitive to spend money up front on maintenance, this ideology manifests in saving asset managers the cost of unanticipated, unexpected repairs.

Similarly, tracking the asset over time is an important part in managing it. Through inclusive asset tracking it’s possible to identify upcoming maintenance, budget for costs, understand cost of ownership, and more. All this factors into keeping capital assets in functional condition.

Finally, it’s important to understand assets in context. Consider a building with an antiquated HVAC system. While it might run smoothly, there’s no guarantee it’s running efficiently, which could cost building operators more than they realize. Moreover, it might contribute to a stuffy atmosphere within the workplace—or worse, Sick Building Syndrome (SBS). Looking at cost and upkeep alone aren’t enough. Asset property management needs to include context.

The goals of property asset management

The goals of asset property management are cost reduction and ROI optimization. Managers need to first justify the cost of an asset, then work to optimize its returns beyond the break-even point. For capital assets within real property, this means looking far ahead at the entire lifespan of an investment.

Take, for example, renovations that upgrade the efficiency of facilities. There’s an immediate cost to undertake these renovations, however, they’ll return value through both the efficiency upgrades and the productivity they enable. The goal of an asset property management approach is to reach that break-even point as quickly as possible, and to enhance the ROI beyond that. This means staying on top of upkeep costs in order to minimize them and understanding how to measure and record ROI.

Ultimately, the role of good asset property management is to extend the life and value of an asset, in order to ensure the ROI reaches the highest levels possible.

Software improves property asset management

As is the case for many modern-day facility metrics, asset property management is best tracked using software. IWMS or CMMS software provide critical insights about the cost of operating facilities—particularly their capital systems. These asset insights lay the groundwork for how much it costs to operate a property and set the benchmark for its performance against other real estate holdings. Moreover, they provide insight into how to better-manage individual property assets.

There’s significant opportunity in treating capital systems and properties like the assets they are within the context of facilities management. The more attention given to the cost, upkeep, ROI, and utilization of assets, the more opportunities are available to better govern them.

Keep reading: Property Asset Management Strategy Plus Goals and Benefits


Property Asset Management Strategy

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist

Strategy is everything in executing a successful plan. This is especially true when considering asset management. Aside from buying, selling, and maintaining assets, it takes a compelling strategy to use them effectively, and to generate expected ROI from them. To understand and foresee the purpose and benefit of assets—especially capital investments—means developing a property asset management strategy.

Property asset management is a difficult endeavor because it often involves an entire committee of decision-makers. Facility managers provide context for the asset. Finance managers bring together the cost details. Maintenance managers deliver life cycle management data. The number of people at the table can grow depending on the asset and investment. Regardless, stakeholders need to come together to create a strategy that ensures maximum ROI on smart investments that offer clear and present benefit.

What is an asset management strategy?

An asset management strategy is the plan for an asset, which encompasses all major phases of ownership: purchase, upkeep, and disposal. It focuses on all major aspects of investment management, including:

  • Budgeting and costing for acquiring and maintaining the asset
  • Ownership and management of the asset within the company
  • Use and utilization, and expected lifespan of the asset
  • Accessibility and integration of the asset into operations
  • Maintenance, upkeep, and repair of the asset

The goal of an asset management strategy is to set goals that optimize the ROI of an investment. In doing so, it’s possible for a company to track the asset’s costs, performance, and other important variables, to ensure it meets expectations. It also delegates responsibility for the asset.

What is property asset management?

The term “asset” can encompass many different things. In the context of “property asset,” it typically refers to a building or property. For example, if a company purchases a small 5,000sq/ft satellite office building, it’s considered a property asset. This is the broadest definition of a property asset, but not the only one. Many companies will also call capital systems “property assets,” such as HVAC, plumbing, and electrical investments.

Considering both definitions, “property asset management” typically refers to asset management for property and essential systems required to keep that property functioning. This, as opposed to more traditional assets, which might include things like equipment items, vehicles, and other non-integrated investments.

What are the benefits of asset management?

The benefits of good property asset management are clear. From a facility standpoint, there’s tremendous ROI available for both employees and companies alike. Employees benefit from facilities that are well-maintained and keep in safe, comfortable, accessible condition. As a result, employees will use the facilities available to them, which justifies their expenditure for companies.

There’s also cost savings to consider. As is the case with most assets, proactive upkeep and maintenance results in a lower cost of ownership over time. Quarterly service on an HVAC system may cost $250 each time ($1,000 annual), but it’s a far more preferrable cost to an emergent $4,000 repair that also affects productivity. Moreover, upkeep costs are predictable, whereas reactive repairs and maintenance are unexpected.

Finally, there are intangibles to consider. Well-maintained property assets tend to evoke a sense of price among employees. Workplace pride encourages everything from a positive mood while at work, to a better caliber of work done, to feelings of loyalty to the company. All these and more add up to benefits for both employee and company—all the result of smart property asset management.

The goals of property asset management

The bottom line in a property asset maintenance strategy is cost justification and ROI optimization. Property assets first need to pay for themselves to justify their cost of ownership. Then anything beyond that becomes ROI, and it’s in the best interest of stakeholders to stretch that ROI as far as it’ll go.

In different context, this is a matter of bottom-line justification and top-line exploitation. Every asset comes at a cost. An asset management strategy is the initiative to reduce the burden of that cost, while maximizing the potential of its benefits.

Consider a very simplified example. If it costs $30,000 to lease an office space annually and another $10,000 to maintain it, total revenue generation needs to exceed $40,000 by a factor of X to justify the cost of ownership. Good property asset management will seek to optimize the space to both increase its revenue generation capabilities and reduce the upkeep costs associated with it.

Software is imperative in property asset management

It’s one thing to have a property asset management strategy. It’s another to continuously benchmark and observe it. Asset management software is an important part in bridging decision-making with expected outcomes, no matter the time horizon.

From the moment of expenditure to the moment you retire an asset or it falls off of your books, it’s important to track as many functional aspects of that asset as possible. What is the cost of ownership? When is the expected break-even point? What’s the upkeep cost and maintenance schedule? Where is that asset right now and what service is it performing? Software makes it possible for all stakeholders to fully understand an asset within the context of a unified management strategy.

Whether it’s a reinvestment in the facilities themselves or a tangible asset tied to them, every asset deserves a management strategy. Every company deserves software that allows them to coordinate and observe that strategy, from cradle to grave.

Keep reading: What is Real Estate Asset Management?


Digital Twin for Asset Tracking

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist

Every investment a business makes in equipment or resources comes into inventory as an asset. Whether it’s a workstation computer, a multifunction photocopier, or a vehicle parked outside, it’s vital for businesses to track and maintain these assets for as long as they have them. It’s called life cycle maintenance, and it requires a robust system of accountability. It’s why many businesses have turned to digital twin for asset tracking.

Digital twins serve as a powerful tool in collecting and maintaining data relevant to assets. Integrations with support and maintenance systems, as well as historical upkeep information, paint a digital record of a physical asset. Not only does this aid in life cycle maintenance, it helps businesses better-understand their assets. Here’s a look at how digital twin technology supports better asset tracking.

A digital record of a physical asset

So long as it’s kept current, a digital twin can house the complete service record of an asset. This includes capital systems.

For example, consider the backup generator that powers your on-premise server room. It needs biannual maintenance to ensure functionality in the event of a power failure. Looking back through service records in the digital twin, you can see that it was last serviced five months ago—which means it’s due for service soon. Asset managers can schedule a service appointment with the appropriate vendor—or create an automation within the digital twin that does it for them.

Every successive maintenance item gets added to the log, alongside information about emergent problems, solutions, notes, recommendations, costs, and anything else noteworthy about the continued upkeep and reinvestment in an asset.

Maintenance integrations

Digital twins are highly integrative, and one of the perfect pairings is with a CMMS platform. The asset tracking capabilities of the digital twin, paired with the solutions-driven capabilities of a CMMS, create a continuum of care that emphasizes proper life cycle maintenance.

Consider a fleet vehicle. It needs routine service every 30k miles, as well as an oil change every 5k miles. There are also factory-recommended services and discretionary repairs to consider. Now, consider all these services within a CMMS that’s smart enough to create a ticket when they’re due and assign it to the right staff member or vendor. The digital twin can actively track the mileage of the vehicle and interface with the CMMS. When the vehicle hits 90k miles, the digital twin relays the information to the CMMS, which generates the ticket: “schedule 90k mileage service.”

Integrations beget automation, which is vital in asset tracking and maintenance. Digital twins decrease the level of oversight or effort that goes into managing the multitude of business assets and instead, puts exceptional maintenance on autopilot.

Live asset data and streaming insights

Assets are constantly in-use—it’s what makes them assets. This can make it difficult for managers and stakeholders to keep track of them. This is where IoT sensors come into play as vital tools in asset tracking and management.

IoT sensors provide an abundance of simple, yet vital information about assets—and they relay that information to digital twins. Think about something as simple as a video projector on a cart. Equipped with a sensor, it’s easy for asset managers to look at the digital twin to see where on a corporate campus that asset currently is. This data, over time, delivers a clear picture of that asset in action. Wednesday it was in Building A. Last week it was in Building C. Before that, it sat idle in Building D for two weeks. As the life of an asset becomes more transparent, the management capabilities surrounding it become more robust.

Improved decision-making power

Should you sell the photocopier that’s eight years old and buy a new model? That depends on what the digital twin data says. At a glance, asset managers can see the cost breakdown of the asset—purchase price, upkeep costs, ROI, current value, and more. They can also see its maintenance history and usage history. At a glance, the digital twin provides precise information for a more informed decision. You might find that the cost of a new photocopier will pay for itself in three years, which makes it a smart investment over your current model that’s racking up the maintenance costs.

The concept is simple: the more you know about an asset, the more informed you are when it comes to utilizing it (or replacing it). The IoT and digital twins are a powerful combination for illuminating asset information.

Asset tracking with digital twins

Digital twins empower businesses and stakeholders to see their assets in a new way. Beyond the physical form and function of an asset, digital twins provide insightful data about its place in the greater operational picture. What’s the current value of the 2019 Sprinter Van parked outside? When was the copy machine last serviced by the OEM? Where is the fourth floor A/V cart right now? Digital twins bring visibility to assets in a much broader sense of the word.

Combined with the IoT and automation, businesses have even more opportunities to make assets go further. From proactive and preventive maintenance to better decision-making about how to use them, asset tracking through a twin means more mindful management.

Whether it’s tracking usage or optimizing efficiency, digital twins provide much-needed insight for critical assets big and small.

Keep reading: How to Use Digital Twin Software


Digital Twin Manufacturing Examples

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator

Digital twins have become a staple in workplace governance across many sectors, but they’re rooted firmly in manufacturing. There’s an abundance of digital twin manufacturing examples that paved the way for the rise of digital asset management in other aspects. For example, a company might use a digital twin to monitor the condition of its HVAC system—a practice rooted in factory machine monitoring and maintenance.

As facility managers get familiar with digital twins, it’s important for them to look at the roots of this technology. Not only are there lessons in manufacturing that translate across industries, there are also clues about how to maximize the effectiveness of a digital twin in the face of an ever-expanding IoT.

Here’s a brief look at digital twins in manufacturing and why they broke sector barriers to become relevant far outside the factory environment.

What is digital twin in manufacturing?

A digital twin is a digital mirror of a real-world asset. In manufacturing, it’s a virtual replica of a specific machine, informed by data. This data can come from networked sensors or manual input, and when combined, provides a clear picture of the condition and history of the machine.

More than a representation of equipment, a manufacturing digital twin is vital for the opportunities it offers. According to Digitalist, the manufacturing roots of digital twins set the stage for their exponential potential:

Digital twins represent an enormous opportunity for manufacturers, including engineering, design customization, production, and operations. Digital twins are vital to improving situational awareness and allowing CIOs to test future scenarios that can enhance asset performance and proactively anticipate maintenance faults.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Kaizen philosophy of continuous improvement, in the world of manufacturing, digital twins provide the decision-making insights factories need to run Lean. As they seek to eliminate waste, manufacturers turn to quantitative insights from digital twins. These systems are increasingly essential as part of the Kaizen philosophy.

What is an example of digital twin in manufacturing?

The best example of a digital twin in manufacturing is a piece of equipment that’s outfitted with sensors. For the sake of example, let’s say it’s a machine with an electric motor and a driveshaft, outfitted with a vibration sensor, temperature sensor, and rpm meter. These devices all feed real-time data into a digital twin of the machine. There are several ways this digital twin becomes useful.

  • Real-time observation. A trigger programmed into the digital twin alerts maintenance techs if the vibration level, temperature, or rpms exceed a specific threshold. This incites real-time action to prevent long-term damage.
  • Historical data. The motor suddenly fails. During a root cause analysis, the maintenance tech reviews digital twin data and sees that rpms spiked several times prior to the failure, and the temperature rose dramatically moments before failure.
  • Preventive maintenance. Maintenance techs integrate the digital twin data with a CMMS platform. The CMMS schedules routine service based on average component lifespans and manufacturer-recommended service schedules.

These are just simple, practical examples of digital twins in manufacturing. Modern factories have much broader, more complex integrations that range from better machine maintenance practices to value stream monitoring.

Examples of digital twin in manufacturing

The more sensors and other data inputs there are to feed a digital twin, the more accessible insights become. In the factory environment, they lead to a bevy of lean manufacturing advantages:

  • Reduced waste. More insight into machine operation helps to create initiatives that reduce total machine waste, as well as peripheral waste in the value stream.
  • Improved throughput. The ability to keep a machine up and running at peak efficiency improves the total throughput of a line.
  • Better uptime. Stronger insight into equipment function and potential catalysts for failure allow maintenance teams to subvert them for more reliable uptime.
  • Equipment longevity. Better-maintained equipment lasts longer and performs more reliably, lowering the total cost of ownership.
  • Preventive maintenance. Instead of reactive maintenance, manufacturers can move toward preventive approaches that improve predictability.
  • Better asset ROI. Fewer problems and longer lifespan establish a better ROI for equipment as it continues to contribute to operational excellence.

The true purpose of manufacturing digital twins is to realize Lean philosophies. That means less waste, better equipment availability, proactive action, and better efficiency across the value stream.

Digital twins manage manufacturing’s complex environment

Step into any modern factory and it’s easy to see how digital twins got their start. There are so many intelligent systems running continuously, relaying data about everything from machine condition to throughput. All this data needs to go somewhere. Digital twins arose out of necessity and quickly became the foundation for smart factory operations.

Manufacturing is the original case study for digital twins, and it paved the way for broader application across other sectors. In the same way factories became smarter and generated more data, so too have office buildings. And, with the prospect of smart cities rising each year, it’s a safe bet that digital twins will continue to gain traction. As they do, professionals can look to manufacturing to see just how powerful these systems are.

Keep reading: Digital Twins: A Revolution in Workplace Management