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IMPROVING FACILITIES MANAGEMENT OPERATIONS

THROUGH OPTIMIZATION OF PERFORMANCE METRICS


Daniel C. Harrison, Executive Vice President, ISES Corporation

Introduction
Facilities management organizations are constantly striving to improve the effectiveness of the
maintenance organization. This involves considerably more than checking up on the janitor – the role of a
Facility Manager must be to provide all necessary operational and maintenance functions to maintain the
physical environment in support of the overall mission.

Whether the environment is a corporation, a university, or some other entity, your first question should be:
What do I need to do to support the overall mission?

The ideal organization is both effective and efficient. For facilities management organizations, like most
others, this means operating at the lowest possible cost, given the targets of effectiveness and efficiency.
The specifics will vary from organization to organization, and determining the proper balance requires an
understanding of the level of service necessary to support the core mission – and comparing that level of
service to the resources available for mission support.

Organizational Effectiveness
In a facility management organization, three criteria can be used to measure effectiveness.

1. Response time for critical requests


What is the average elapsed time between the customer’s request for service and the initial response
from facility management? Perception can be vital. If the customer believes that the response time is
“too long,” the actual number of hours, or minutes, may be irrelevant.

2. Scheduling of preventive maintenance activities


If scheduled PM activities do not take into account the schedules of the organization, the overall
mission will be impaired. For example, the ideal time to paint a university’s dormitories would be over
the summer, when students are absent.

3. Lack of preventive maintenance activities


A missed PM activity that results in unscheduled shutdown of critical equipment can have an
unrecoverable impact on mission.

Of course, one must first define such metrics as acceptable


response time and critical equipment. Then, to allow for
proper analysis, all work performed must be tracked within Guy 1: I work so fast that I can
a Computerized Maintenance Management System fold 100 parachutes in an hour.
(CMMS).
Guy 2: I am so efficient that I can
Organizational Efficiency fold 100 parachutes in an hour
Measuring efficiency requires developing standards and
and every single one of them will
benchmarks. In facilities management, this means
establishing metrics of time and cost. Engineering open right.
Performance Standards offers a number of established
metrics for our industry. Who would you rather have
packing your parachute?

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Once the efficiency and effectiveness measures are in place, standard reports from the CMMS will
illustrate the efficiency of a shop, a group, or a single facility, with respect to established standards,

On occasion, rapid work is mistaken for efficient work. It is possible to be efficient, yet ineffective.

Achieving balance of effectiveness and efficiency is difficult, and takes time and effort on the part of
management and staff. It is not enough, however, to establish an optimal relationship between these two
factors. There’s a third factor that must be taken into account: cost. In today’s budget-tightening
environment, decreasing expenses requires accepting a lower level of efficiency and effectiveness. The
goal is to determine the point at which decreasing efficiency and effectiveness is no longer acceptable –
before that point is reached. Enter the CMMS.

Computerized Maintenance Management System


Measurement of metrics and analysis of performance improvements is typically tied to the FM
department’s use of a CMMS. To properly understand the role of a CMMS within a facilities management
organization, we must first understand what it can and cannot accomplish.

It is important to understand that a CMMS cannot:

• Run your organization


• Make your decisions for you
• Perform work
• Reduce operating costs
• Make employees more effective or efficient

One of the main functions of a CMMS is to compile data in a consistent, standardized way to yield
information that provides key performance indicators – measurement and monitoring of performance – of
how your organization is maintaining the assets.

Armed with this information, the facility manager is capable of making informed decisions with respect to
the facilities portfolio. Such decisions enable you to tailor your plans and goals to optimize the
effectiveness of the FM organization in supporting the over-arching organizational mission.

Optimization of Performance Metrics


The criteria to measure effectiveness and efficiency should be standard items that are routinely captured
within the CMMS. Beware of overcomplicating the metrics. After all, the goal is to obtain useful
information that supports management decisions without imposing an unacceptable burden on the
mechanics, whose primary purpose is to fix equipment, not key-in data. Consider this process for
developing metrics, analyzing the reported data, and improving the performance of the organization
based on the analysis.

1. Data Elements that Support Efficiency Analysis


The first key step is establishment of mission-critical ratings for buildings as a whole and key equipment
as separate entities. Unscheduled failures of equipment should be tracked in the CMMS, and unplanned
shutdowns of buildings due to system or component failure should also be recorded. Periodic customer
satisfaction surveys need to be carried out. The latter, although a subjective element, is a key component
of analyzing your effectiveness. Do not neglect it.

Record specific information, including:


• Date and time of receipt of customer request
• Priority classification of work request
• Estimate of time and materials needed
• Date and time of initial response

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• Date and time of work completion
• Actual time and materials expended to fulfill work request

Without this information, analysis of efficiency is rendered virtually impossible.

For each facility, it is also important to track:


• Actual maintenance costs
• Utility operating costs
• Average occupant loading, such as
o Number of occupants
o Average hours of occupancy

2. Efficiency Analysis
The next step is to analyze the data gathered in the preceding step. Calculate and examine the
following indicators to paint the picture for your site with respect to which buildings require the highest
level of maintenance investment:
• Response times
• Unplanned failure rates
• Cost per GSF of operations and maintenance
• Cost per occupant-hour of operations and maintenance.

After the initial analysis of operating costs, fold in the failure-rate data. This helps you determine if
you’re getting the best “bang for your buck.” Next, examine your customer satisfaction survey data.
Combined, these results will allow you to determine if you are investing the right level of resources
into the right facilities.

By comparing the cost and effectiveness numbers for your various facilities, it will become obvious
which buildings fall within acceptable ranges and which are outside the range on either end of the
scale. This examination and the resulting analysis will allow you to set the initial performance
standards to be applied across the entire site. Although it would be convenient if there were a rule
book to turn to for the establishment of standards, there isn’t one – and creating your own customized
standards will be of most benefit to your specific asset portfolio.

3. Continuous Measurement
Following the establishment of standards and the analysis of data, it is
important to continue the process.
• Analyze the organization’s output to ascertain if there is a trend
toward improvement – or not.
• Analyze processes and make adjustments to gain efficiency and
effectiveness without requiring an increase in investment.
• Create control groups within your site to measure the efficacy of
individual changes in process or organization.
Adjust the standards based on your results, and proceed with your process of
continuous improvement. By tracking and monitoring simple key indicators of
performance, you can ensure that your organization remains on an upward
slope in effectiveness and efficiency.