What is facility management software?


Larry Carroll

When you joined the restaurant industry, you wanted to nourish people’s hearts, souls and stomachs. You likely dreamed of helping create a gathering place where co-workers could get together for a happy hour, families could celebrate a birthday, or friends could catch up over appetizers. The last thing you wanted to deal with was work orders, broken equipment and invoicing. Which is where facility management software comes into focus.

A competent software solution provides invaluable infrastructure to a business, allowing many daily headaches to be eased by a streamlined, proven system; a poor choice, however, could just compound those headaches. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what facility management software is, and how it can help you get back to the things you really care about.

Facility management software also called a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) is a software that maintains a database of information about an organization’s assets, repair and maintenance operations. Businesses can place services requests, manage workorders, communicate with vendors and analyze data from a dashboard, thus helping facilities managers (FMs) do their jobs more effectively.

The benefits of good facility management software can be broken down into three categories. In some ways, each feed off the other; in a perfect world, they serve your business like a good insurance policy — operating quietly in the background, while giving you piece of mind.

facility management software data

1.  Data analysis

Robust, customizable reporting empowers you to make more educated business decisions. Viewing your spend data by such variables as equipment type, location and manufacturer affords greater insight into what’s costing you money and why.

Years ago, such data was mostly anecdotal, and most analysis had to be based on gut feelings. The more locations your restaurant opened, the more difficult it became to spot trends, know which equipment was giving you the best bang for your buck, and adjust plans accordingly. Today, if you properly track your facility management issues, it’s so much more than simply getting a grill fixed.

Every time a new piece of equipment enters one of your locations, you take a few moments to share information about its make, model, purchase date, warranty and other such details. A good facility management system will take it from there — no matter how big you get, no matter how much equipment you need to track.

When equipment breaks, rather than picking up the phone, texting, emailing or searching online for who to call, you simply place your request through a solution like Ecotrak; information is extrapolated from your original registration, a work order is created, and you get updated every step of the way as the equipment is repaired — even allowing the service provider to invoice you, and integrating with your own accounting software if you so choose.

When you have your spending monitored and your profit & loss performance maximized, that eliminates guess work and allows you to manage your operations much more effectively. It also empowers you on the fly to ask and answer questions like:

“What’s my most expensive problem?”

“Is one manufacturer brand doing better than another?”

“Is there a model within that brand that might be outperforming another model?”

A good facility management solution will provide immediate answers to these and other questions in easy-to-understand, highly-interactive graphs and models that bring you the next-level facility management data and analytics a growing business requires. By staying ahead of your asset’s needs, you can maximize its lifespan and minimize energy consumption — both important factors in sustainability. A good facility management solution also automates industry, state and federal regulations that require documentation of work and compliance.

Imagine having such information at your fingertips, and how it could assist you in making educated, data-driven decisions for your business.

facility management mobile app

2. Increasing Efficiency

If you aren’t actively tracking your refrigerant use and considering ways to redirect spending towards greener products, you aren’t doing your best to reduce carbon emissions, provide a healthy and clean environment for customers and employees, and save money on energy costs and compliance. If your aren’t budgeting for futures breakdowns and replacements based on past breakdowns and replacements, you aren’t properly budgeting and anticipating work to come.

Good facility management software gives you a wider overview. The ability to manage vendors, receive proposals, request service, handle invoices or approve work orders should be at your fingertips, using cutting-edge technologies and easy-to-navigate mobile apps designed with the operator in mind. A good facility management solution will give you this information in real time, allowing you to instantly see the status of every work order and the service history of every product, as well as its cost.

Typically, it also empowers those around you, allowing you to focus your time and energy elsewhere. If a manager at a location in another state comes in tomorrow morning to find a misbehaving refrigerator, as long as they are authorized, proper servicing is at their fingertips. When they submit a service request, you can set yourself and others up for approvals — and redundant requests are rooted out, eliminating the cost of mistaken visits from double-booked service providers. So when the next manager comes in for the night shift and encounters the same problematic refrigerator, their service request would result in an alert that the problem is already being addressed.

A system like Ecotrak — designed by people with a long history the restaurant and hospitality industry— provides an app that allows the user to execute such service requests in moments, as well as approving work orders and invoices with a swipe of the finger. It’s also a communication tool, enabling not only messages with service providers, but also a reviewable record of such communications. The app’s clear interface empowers the user by displaying the estimated life of equipment, its current age, and spend vs. replacement costs.

It takes about 30 seconds to find your restaurant location, select your problematic piece of equipment, type what’s wrong and if you’d like, upload pictures. At that point, you hit “submit” and can go back to work, knowing the ball is rolling.

Walk-in cooler

3. Saving money

On average, Ecotrak users find that warranty, call aversion and troubleshooting savings result in a 5 percent reduction in maintenance spending, one that typically has the software paying for itself in about six months.

Working with such industry-leading brands as Applebee’s, Fresh Brothers, Lazy Dog, Burger King and Buffalo Wild Wings, Ecotrak facility management software is constantly updated with cutting-edge industry advancements and insights, bringing users the latest ways to track their spending. Some have a handful of locations and big plans to grow; others use Ecotrak across thousands of locations.

Taking a unique, asset-first approach, Ecotrak tracks all things related to facilities and assets, giving you a snapshot of not only what you’re spending but where the money is going, what it’s being spent on and with which vendors. This results in a starting point to drive cost-saving initiatives and cost-reduction initiatives while gaining valuable insight.

There are 3 ways the company saves its restaurant operators money: Tracking warranties (and making that information available to both the operator and the service provider), spotting duplicate service requests (eliminating redundant service call charges), and troubleshooting. On average, Ecotrak customers save 5 percent on their repair and maintenance spend, empowered by AI-driven technology that allows them to manage spending, improve capital planning and better forecast the future.

The Ecotrak desktop interface has the same functionality as the mobile app, but adds in summary information and increased settings flexibility. All told, information is power, and a good facility management solution empowers you with granular data, viewed in a wide, flexible array of options.