Whether you are in charge of primary or secondary school or a higher educational institution, proper building maintenance and efficient workflow are imperative to ensure that equipment, grounds, and technology at your institution is up and running daily. It is essential to coordinate a wide array of activities to keep the buildings operating properly and encourage a safe and comfortable learning environment. Educational institutions can best achieve this by making use of facility management software like CloudApper’s Facility Manager.
What is Facilities Management?
In essence, facilities management encompasses multiple disciplines and services to ensure the functionality, comfort, safety, and efficiencies of a built environment, such as infrastructure and real estate, buildings, and grounds. It involves integrating people, place, process, and technology.
Every organization, regardless of the industry they are operating in, relies on a range of functions and services to provide the support essential to its core business operations. Facilities management involves ensuring that this support is available at the right time and quality, in the right form, and at the right cost.
A good facility makes people feel safe, well energized, productive, and enthusiastic about their work, regardless of what they do there, study, manual labor, or whatever. A poor facility, by contrast, can frustrate people, inhibits people’s productivity, and can even make them sick. A facility is also the physical manifestation of the organization’s brand, and many organizations use it to recruit and retain both talents and clients. Also, employees’ experience in a physical working environment is a growing trend and concern for the managers, where facilities management also plays an important role.
Today, when someone hears or talks about facilities management, they think of facility management software. It is because of the advent of various modern cloud-based facility management software. Thirty years ago, no one could have thought about streamlining their operations using computer or software technology. The possibilities are endless now. By integrating all the functionalities onto a single platform, facilities management has become much more efficient, easier, and enjoyable, to say the least.
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Using Facilities Management Software in Educational Institutions
The COVID-19 pandemic has created uncertainty in nearly all aspects of our lives. But for those managing educational institutions, facility management software can help provide some clarity. Now more than ever, it is imperative that your school or university has accurate, real-time information about space requirements, costs, asset management, and remote workers.
We have talked about a lot of dynamic workspaces and agile working environments. But there is no better example than an educational institution when it comes to space in flux. Think about costs – facilities are an organization’s second-largest expense after its people. Schools and universities show space diversity not just in the type of space – cafeteria, labs, classrooms, auditoriums – but in how they are used. This diversity makes facility management software for educational institutions imperative to ensure the best for their students, staff, and faculties.
Facility management software has broad applications throughout the educational facility. Few examples are:
- Multiple groups using the auditorium and gymnasium facilities at the same time.
- Classrooms with shifting desk arrangements.
- Rotating classes in the computer labs or library.
Utilization of space highlights the broad potential of educational institution’s diverse spaces while maintaining order in how and when those facilities are used. Proper management of spaces prevents class overlaps, keeps faculties in control, and maximizes the potential of space utilization.
Should you outsource Facilities Management?
When deciding whether to outsource facilities management activities, such as cleaning, repairs or security, food outlets, there are several factors to consider. Apart from being highly expensive, here are some of the potential disadvantages of outsourcing:
- Hidden costs,
- Loss of direct managerial control,
- Compliance with regulations,
- A threat to security and confidentiality,
- Reputational risk,
- You may not be an important customer,
- Quality issues,
- Cultural differences can cause inefficiencies.
Facility Management Software Features
There are plenty of features within the Facility Management software like CloudApper’s Facility Manager that are beneficial as well as essential for the coordination of any physical workspace. Some of them are:
Schools and universities need to track their assets, whether it’s furniture, gym equipment, or computer systems. This includes locating where the assets are, which departments use them, how frequently are they used, and whether they need to be repaired or replaced. Proper asset management helps educational institutions to reduce costs by allowing them to understand how to use and deploy assets most efficiently. With detailed information on assets, including their precise location, institutions can save money from spending on equipment they already have. Also, annual asset audits won’t be necessary since you know where all your assets are. As all the assets are listed in an organized way, which are also easily accessible, you can easily make a faster and much accurate insurance claim in the event of a theft or large-scale fire.
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Buildings and Premises Maintenance
Taking care of the institution’s buildings is an essential part of day-to-day operations. Buildings need to be regularly surveyed, inspected, and evaluated since they vary in age and construction type. Planned preventive maintenance can extend the use of educational institutions’ buildings and equipment. Electrical maintenance such as lighting, lifts, and air conditioning also needs proactive monitoring and maintenance management procedures. This also applies to water, gas, plumbing, heating, and other utilities.
Health and Safety Compliance
Responsibility for an educational institution’s health and safety falls to the employer, which can vary from organization to organization. However, various regulations address health and safety standards in an institution and organizations must comply with it. It is the duty of the employer or whoever they hire to oversee facilities management activities to provide a safe working and learning environment, undertake risk assessments, monitor the need for repairs, improve air conditioning, water treatment, and waste disposal.
Conducting regular risk assessments helps to keep teaching staff and students safe. This includes monitoring emergency exits, fire doors, extinguishers, blankets, and hose reels. Universities and schools should test fire and smoke alarm systems and carry out regular fire drills. Facility management software can also help new employees who do not know their way around the new facility. With facility management software, they can instantly access and view the full blueprint of a facility, check where the emergency exits are, and read safety manuals and emergency procedures any time they want.
Equipment, Machinery, and Security
Taking preventative measures to safeguard and protect students as well as staff also falls in the realm of facilities management. This may include installing CCTV cameras, code-based entry systems, intruder alarms, floodlighting, or restricting access to a particular area of the building. Other machinery and equipment, such as swimming pools, sports equipment, playgrounds also need regular maintenance. Gymnastics equipment and any other equipment including laboratory equipment should be fit for purpose. With facility management software, these tasks become easier. Managers can easily set and assign individuals for regular maintenance and get a clear picture of all the operations being performed across the facility at any given time.
Not many facilities management software is scalable. Unlike other solutions, CloudApper’s Facility Manager is a fully customizable cloud infrastructure that can be upgraded or downgraded to meet operational requirements. In simpler terms, you do not have to streamline your operations according to a fixed set of software functionalities, the Facility Manager can be customized according to your needs.
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Benefits of Using The Best Educational Facility Management Software
Investing in facility management software, like the Facility Manager, can offer high ROI. Facility Management software for educational institutions reduces maintenance costs, leading to savings in all educational settings. Just by paying $10 every month, you can streamline all the operations, and perhaps become a facility manager yourself.
Extends the Life Cycle of Buildings and Assets
Establishing a proactive maintenance and monitoring program can help you ensure your buildings and other assets are in top shape and fit for purpose. Regular maintenance and monitoring, cleaning, sanitation, and repairs can prolong the life of buildings and assets, as well as reduce the need for replacing equipment.
Improved Collaboration and Communication
CloudApper’s Facility Manager enables staff to access work instructions, task checklists, and important files with ease and all with their mobile devices. Administrators can easily record any incident, usage, maintenance, or replacement of any vital equipment – again all of which can be accessed by staff with mobile devices. Also, the training management module allows managers to easily share safety manuals, user guides, and instructions to ensure all the staff is well-informed about the facility they will be working at, the equipment they will be using, and how to perform their tasks efficiently.
Choosing the Best Facility Management Software For Your Educational Institution
The pricing for facility management software will depend on the mix/max estimates for different software platforms. As a general ballpark for scale, the absolute minimum could cost about $3000 and get as high as $50,000, which will put most software investments somewhere in-between the midpoint, at $29,000. Ultimately, it all comes down to the size of your business and the scale of operations you need to manage. For example, if you manage facilities for a small company, you will likely fall to the lower end of the scale. And low-cost options will more likely lack certain features.
Once you have established the scale of your business and facilities management costs, you need to consider how those costs break down. For example, you could $20,000 outright to own a piece of enterprise software or pay $50 per month, per user to license it. Most SaaS solutions will most likely charge a monthly subscription fee, which on average can range from $40-$60 per month, per user.
Here are a few examples of prices for maintenance management software which will give you an idea of how much you will pay for purchase:
- Hippo CMMS starts from $39/month.
- EZOfficeInventory solutions start from $40/month.
- Upkeep’s facility management software starts from $35/month.
- Limble CMMS starts from $50/month.
- CloudApper’s Facility Manager costs only $10 per month.
CloudApper’s Facility Manager is a powerful highly-advanced web and mobile application that simplifies facility maintenance and management activities. This cloud-based facility management software application helps employees save time by providing them instant access to facility information, operating details, emergency procedures, and much more. Even though it’s a low-cost solution, the Facility Manager does not lack in any kind of features, and it is fully customizable where you can downgrade and upgrade the solution without any extra payment.