Facility Management Software is a vital tool to aid with the monthly, daily, and periodic tasks of church facility maintenance. While there are many good products on the market, there are some features that you should consider essential as you go through your selection process.
So….what are the features you should consider?
1. Create and Evaluate Work Requests: We believe that as a minimum, your system should allow your staff/personnel to notify you of the need for service. The Work Request should provide enough information to the recipient to make an assessment of the issue before they physically explore it further.
2. Prioritize the Work Requests: As part the Work Request process, the requester should be able to establish a “priority” of the Work Request…at least in their minds. This will give the recipient a heads-up as to how the sender perceives this issue.
3. Track Work Orders: Most of the better products on the market allow you to track each work order that is generated…through its entire life cycle and maintain a history log for future reference.
4. Historical Data: This is very important…what is the historical data associated with your equipment? When was the last time it was serviced and what was the issues then? If the system does not track this, then you will have to do it manually…which seems redundant.
5. Track Vendors (and assign work orders directly to them…even if they are in-house or volunteers): The better systems on the market will provide for the tracking of the subcontractors, suppliers and vendors associated with the care of your facilities. Who are they? What service categories do they work in? How do I reach them? Who is my primary contact? Are they a volunteer group? In addition, the ability to have an automated process for sending work orders can save you valuable time and money…not to mention a reduction in misunderstandings.
6. E-mail Notification Process: The best systems on the market have automated notification process. These should include notification for when a Service Request is issued, when an ETA is established by the Vendor, when the work is complete and if the work is going to exceed the agreed to projected cost. As it is said….time is money…and these systems are meant to save time.
7. Asset tracking and assigning of work orders to specific equipment: As we explored in a previous segment, it is ideal to be able to track all of the equipment in your facility. It is best if you can catalog all of your equipment and then be able to tie a work order to a specific piece of equipment. If you can not catalog the equipment and track it…then it may not be the right product for you.
8. Consumable Inventory Tracking: How many light bulbs do you have in stock and when do you need to order more? Do you know how much toilet tissue you need to keep in stock and what work orders they have been applied too? You need to know these things if you are going to be proactive and an effective manager.
9. Scheduled and Preventive Maintenance Tracking: If the systems you are considering do not offer this feature, then run for the hills, as this is one of the most critical features for any organization that is intentional about the life cycle of their facilities.
10. Web Based: While this may not have been that immediately comes to mind…I assure you that this is a feature that you will not want live without. Between mobile devices, tables and laptops, we are seeing an exponential increase in the need for access to systems when out of the office where a desktop may be plugged in. Don’t get an application that tethers you to a desk. Who ever was able to fix a toilet or replace an air filter while sitting at their desk?
Tim Cool is the founder of Smart Church Solutions and has assisted nearly 1,000 churches, (equating to over 5 million square feet) throughout the United States with their facility needs. He has collaborated with churches in the areas of facility needs analysis, master planning, construction management as well as life cycle planning/facility management.
This article previously appeared in Smart Church Solutions