As a facilities manager, risk is something you don’t want to be exposed to. The more you can avoid risk and develop safer environments, the better off you are. Thankfully, as time passes, more technology has been developed in this area. Are you making the most out of it?
The Role of Technology in Reducing Risk
Risks are present in almost every situation, but facilities managers have to be particularly cognizant of the ones that pose long-term threats.
“First and foremost, facilities managers must prevent threats to human health and safety that can arise from poorly maintained life safety equipment, improper handling of hazardous materials and other workplace issues,” says Jim Whittaker, facilities management expert. “Beyond physical risks, however, companies must also heed new financial, reputational and contractual risks. The cost of non-compliance can be severe and even material.”
Every facilities manager understands the importance of compliance, but that doesn’t always mean it’s easy to stay on track. As Whittaker notes, there are a number of different areas to focus on – including ethics, safety, vendor and financial management, labor management, information security, data governance, and contractual breaches.
The good news is that technology is helping many facilities managers simultaneously limit compliance risks and increase overall efficiency. Let’s check out some examples:
1. Cloud Based Compliance Software
Perhaps the greatest innovation in this space over the past decade and a half has been cloud-based compliance software, such as ZenGRC from Reciprocity. Cloud-based software makes it easy to manage governance, risk, and compliance programs with the end user in mind – all without overcommitting resources or spending too much time dealing with logistics. It saves the average business thousands of man-hours per year.
2. Asset Management Systems
Mismanagement of financial assets is something that can land a facilities manger in hot water in no-time. The problem is that there isn’t always good communication between different areas of the business, which leads to critical expenses being overlooked or miscalculated. One answer to this problem is an asset management system, such as iOffice. This technology streamlines the tracking of expenses and allows issues to be identified and dealt with immediately.
3. Wearable Devices for Labor Management
There’s something to be said for maximizing employee performance and ensuring that you aren’t overworking employees. Cases of overworking not only ruin team morale, but they can also result in on-the-job injuries and lawsuits.
One unique trend that many facilities managers are watching is the rise of wearable devices. Many companies – including BP America and Vista Staffing Solutions – have already begun using these trackable devices to learn more about their employees and to keep an eye on their overall level of physical activity. In the future, it’s possible that devices like these could warn employers when an employee is at risk of being “overworked.”
Become a Better Facilities Manager
When it comes to adopting new technology, you have to take a critical approach to evaluating the new tools available. The last thing you want is to jump on a new technology, only to find out that it really hasn’t been thoroughly tested in real world situations.
Douglas Rath, Marriott’s energy director for 816 different hotels, always looks for technologies that have been in the marketplace for at least 12-24 months. “Basically, I want new technology vendors to prove their claims,” he says. “And I want those claims substantiated by an independent third-party engineering firm.”
This conscientious approach to vetting new technologies has allowed Rath to identify top-notch developments that help him reduce risk and maximize efficiency. With the right system in place, you should be capable of doing the same.