How many “hats” are you wearing? We all have jobs that require more of us than our title states. A stay-at-home mom is a caretaker, personal chef, chauffeur, and even tutor. Taylor Swift is a singer but also a songwriter, actress, businesswoman, and now, a political activist.
If you’re a facility manager, you may have pulled the short straw when it comes to your title and its expectations. You’re expected to manage your facility while also filling the role of project manager, plumber, emergency response expert, customer service manager, civil engineer, mechanic, and even the financial strategist who’s in charge of facilities management cost savings.
I’ve spoken to many facility managers over the years and “financial strategist” seems to be the greatest source of stress when it comes to facilities management. Everything in your daily duties has a dollar sign attached to it and a person who has to sign off on those costs (and is usually resistant to doing so).
When faced with budgetary constraints, the general fix seems to boil down to an “I’ll just do it myself” mindset. However, the answer shouldn’t involve you reaching for another hat. There are simple and strategic ways you can reduce costs without stretching yourself too thin and compromising the quality of your operations.
Here are 4 simple facilities management cost saving ideas. (Are you tired of reading already? Check out our Youtube video on this topic.)
1. Outsource Your Janitorial Services
For our first facilities management cost saving idea, let’s address the elephant in the room: I understand that this content is coming from a janitorial company and you’re seconds away from clicking a new tab open. But don’t. I’ve covered the importance of outsourcing before (see: What Facility Manager’s Want) but not because it’s what keeps the lights on in our offices. I truly believe in what outsourcing can provide.
If you are running your janitorial services in-house, the mistakes made by untrained or poorly-trained employees can be costly. They can mistakenly use the wrong solution to remove a spot from carpeting and destroy the flooring. They may not follow the proper cleaning protocol measures which can lead to a dangerous and unhealthy facility. Not to mention, you are the one left to manage the team, order supplies, and pay for any mistakes made.
It may be difficult to hand over the reins but this is an area where well-trained professionals can help. Outsourcing you janitorial needs can provide a higher level of efficiency, a healthier facility, and even though you are contracting out, it is also a great way to find cost savings in facilities management.
Outsourcing means a lighter payroll. It also takes the purchase of chemicals and supplies (consumables, too) out of the equation. A good janitorial company uses the most productive practices and has systems in place to ensure that your needs are met. A great one will work with you and your budget to help save you money all while ensuring a high quality of health and appearance that you deserve.
2. Reduce Your Reaction Time
The second facilities management cost saving idea is one many people overlook. Waiting on problems to pop up is often more costly than searching them out beforehand. There are times where it’s beneficial to do both (check out this awesome article on Being Reactive vs. Proactive) but when it comes to the maintenance needs of a facility, that’s rarely the case.
Failing to keep up with routine maintenance may result in unnecessary costs and damage. Anybody who has ever had a plumbing issue understands this. Catching a fragile pipe is a much easier fix than the water damage you’ll have to deal with when that puppy decides to break open.
(Note: if you’re currently faced with this situation, avoiding the ramifications by hiding away in your office and reading this blog, Total Restoration is a great resource and pretty much a miracle worker!)
Switching from reactive to proactive maintenance takes discipline, but if you’re struggling to get the routine off the ground, consider implementing the following:
- Regular checks to ensure that the plumbing near sinks, toilets, and other water supplies are in good and working condition
- Switchplates, outlets, and fixtures all operate properly
- Doors and windows all close and seal
- Locks operate properly and with ease
- Toilets and sinks flush and drain in a proper and timely manner
- Drinking fountains are clean and free-flowing
- Air filters are routinely changed (check out our Dangers of Allergies blog for the recommended schedule)
As you learn to switch to proactive methods, you can become more specific and create a specialized routine checklist for yourself or even use a facility management software to track, record, and update all the maintenance that has been performed.
Being proactive with your maintenance and cleaning cycle is a great way to boost your facilities management cost savings by eliminating emergency repairs caused by equipment and hardware failure. Proactive maintenance also has the benefit of lengthening the life-span of mechanical equipment, fixtures, carpets, and even furnishings. Basically, it can exponentially reduce costs and save you from shelling out unnecessary dollars.
3. Find an Expert
One of the biggest problems with facilities management cost savings is inexperienced staff. Not all maintenance personnel are jacks-of-all-trades. Maintenance staff tend to have areas in which they are untrained and unable to sufficiently tackle your maintenance requirements.
Deploying untrained staff on areas they lack knowledge in can have devastating results: jobs need to be completed repeatedly to get it right, excessive amounts of time are dumped into a project, or worse yet, situations where a problem needs more extensive repairs after a failed attempt at repair/maintenance.
If you suspect that a task or project is out of your or your teams depth, consider hiring an expert. By employing a highly qualified technician or contractor, your staff can learn from a professional while saving you time and money by getting a project done correctly the first time.
4. Save Your Energy
Chances are you aren’t running as effectively as possible. In fact, you’re probably spending 40 to 60 percent more than is required to operate your facility. Our final facilities management cost saving idea is about making small tweaks that can help you become more energy conscious and efficient can save you thousands upon thousands of dollars.
Energy Star is a government-backed resource aimed at energy efficiency and is a valuable tool to consult when trying to figure out how to improve your energy consumption, how to transition to cost-saving lighting, HVAC and equipment recommendations, and everything in between.
From a facilities management cost savings standpoint, there are quite a few areas you can start today that will make a huge impact:
- Conduct a nighttime audit to find out what is on after hours that shouldn’t be
- Optimize start-up time, power-down time, and equipment sequencing
- Revise janitorial practices to reduce the hours that lights are turned on each day
- Perform monthly maintenance of HVAC systems to guarantee efficient operation throughout the year
- Review and emphasize the financial and environmental results of a preventative maintenance program for major systems and components.
- Visually inspect insulation on all piping, ducting and equipment for damage (tears, compression, stains, etc.)
(For more Energy Star recommended solutions, click here.)
Energy consumption can be a huge sink of funds. In fact, just transitioning to energy efficient LED bulbs (LED Indy is a great option as they can perform a free energy audit and provide some great lighting solutions for commercial buildings) and turning off lights when not in use or needed can reduce lighting expenses by 10 to 40 percent. In short, save your energy and save your money.
You may be faced with budget constraints or pressure to reduce costs. Luckily, there are ways to reduce costs and save your facility money without losing your sanity. With these facilities management cost saving ideas you now have proven methods and steps you can take (some small and some bigger) to make that “financial strategist” hat fit a little better.