How Is Your Information Serving You?

How Is Your Information Serving You?

If you’re the owner or manager of any type of facility, then you’re likely quite familiar with your building plans and the other closeout documents. You know the ones we’re talking about – that rolled up stack of papers covered in multiple years-worth of dust beside your equally-neglected warranty and equipment records. These pages, while important, are probably not helping very much when a project or emergency comes up.

Hospitals, financial firms, governments, and lots of other types of entities are similarly feeling their own unique paper-based pains. Their records contain critically-important information that’s ridiculously cumbersome to access. A better option is needed.

Regular Scanning is So Last-Year

The first thing that comes to mind when you think about processing through that mountain of paper probably involves scanning it all into a digital format like a PDF. But once you have your files converted, they’re still not doing much for you. These will be flat, dead images stored on a flash drive somewhere. And they’ll still be problematic to dig through when you’re looking for something specific.

Since data is such a valuable asset for any company, it needs to be to be readily accessible and distributable. Fortunately, there’s a way to achieve this.

Bring Your Data to Life

When you want to find a piece of information about your company or one of your buildings, you want to be able to search for it just as easily as you’d search anything online. Wouldn’t it be great if your building plans and other important documents worked this way?

Well, as a matter of fact, they can.

A new trend in this arena is surprising a lot of people, because it turns all that dusty paper into easily-accessible data that can save companies a lot of time and money. It’s called facility management technology, and here’s a few small examples of what it can do.

  • Facility management technology can categorize and track almost every detail about your facility, including:
    • Utility shutoff valves and other key infrastructure details,
    • Warranty information and expiration date tracking,
    • Operations manuals and video,
    • Safety and emergency information,
    • And maintenance information and scheduling.
  • Building materials, equipment, and other structural components can be indexed.
    • Imagine being able to search on your phone for every room in your facility affected by a product recall.
    • You could even track specific details like what kinds of paint are used in which rooms, and much more.
    • Manage and track your assets, including details like model numbers, replacement parts, maintenance information, and others.
  • Your staff will be able to collaborate in real time from anywhere.
    • Documents are stored on the cloud and links can be emailed with a few clicks to other parties. This eliminates frustration with attachments that are too large to send and also enables the sender to set time limits on access to the documents.
    • All kinds of file formats can be viewed in the field. Even things like CAD, for example.
  • Emergency situations become a little easier to manage.
    • Being able to instantly send facility information to emergency maintenance or response teams could save a tremendous amount of damage and repair costs. With this type of tech, crews will know where to go and what they’ll be dealing with.
  • Direct future renovations and maintenance needs.
    • Every update or renovation you make to your facility can be incorporated into your records, letting future builders know what they’ll be encountering.

Leaves a Lasting Impression Too

Experts explained that facility management technology not only a great resource for building owners, it’s also an outstanding leave-behind that can impress clients. Any contractor or other type of company that supplies its clients with important documents can make a greater impression with a digital suite over a printed packet.

“Any contractor or architect that doesn’t provide this to a client is really missing an opportunity to set themselves off from the competition,” said Jim Asbury, a solutions consultant with Crown Point-based ARC Document Solutions. “Most business owners don’t know how to read structural or engineering plans, but they certainly know how to search for something they need. Giving them an app that can serve them in the future is a much more valuable tool than images on a flash drive.”

Jake Malone, a regional sales manager with ARC’s technology unit, added this technology is not exclusively limited to structural plans either. It can be adapted to fit the needs of just about any industry operation.

“If it’s in black and white, it can be searchable,” he said.

As an example, Malone and Asbury mentioned their app was recently used to consolidate all of the different documents within a local municipality’s building department into an easily-distributable format. Building permit sets, which used to take hours or days to locate, are now found in seconds with the new solution.

Hypothetically, due to the way the program can be customized, this process could be used to modernize almost any kind of paper-based archive a company could have.

Off the Shelf and On the Job

With so much to be gained, business owners should start considering how much useful information is languishing around their offices in piles instead of helping their companies make money. In terms of just improved efficiency alone, updating your records could save your company tons of time and make many projects easier – not to mention all the clutter you could eliminate. So, dust off all those old records and start putting them to work for your company. The results might surprise you.

Category Features, Tech Lab