Managing Multi-site Facilities: Strategies for Streamlining Operations
In an ideal world, facility management would be a seamless process, and managing multiple sites would be effortless. Buildings would operate optimally, energy consumption would be efficient, occupants would enjoy optimal comfort, and emergencies would be rare. Unfortunately, our world is far from perfect. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t strive for optimization!
This article presents strategies for streamlining multi-site facility management. Let’s start by addressing the challenges faced in this complex endeavor.
The core challenges are evident. If you are responsible for managing a multi-site operation, you are well aware of the imperfections that can arise. Tight budgets, limited resources, and the unique requirements of each building contribute to varying levels of building automation control. From standalone systems to integrated Building Management Systems, the inconsistency across the enterprise adds to the daily struggles faced by facility managers.
Installing, integrating, and maintaining automation systems can be costly, but they can also prove cost-effective, as we’ll explore later in this series. Additionally, when dealing with rented spaces, installation options may be restricted, limiting the actions a facility manager can take and consequently hampering potential savings and benefits.
Moreover, the volume of data generated by multiple buildings can be overwhelming. Imagine a room with numerous temperature gauges, flow meters, air quality sensors, and other field devices, each producing frequent readings. Multiply that by the number of rooms and buildings in your portfolio. Analyzing and utilizing this data to enhance operational efficiency is a daunting task without automation or a building management system.
Strategies to Overcome Challenges and Streamline Multi-site Operations
Following are the strategies to streamline multi-site facility management.
Maintain Open Lines of Communication
Effective communication is crucial in any work environment, but it becomes even more vital when operations are dispersed across multiple locations.
To ensure communication remains open:
- Visit each facility as frequently as possible, utilizing these visits as opportunities to provide updates and gather employee feedback.
- Conduct regular one-on-one conference calls with each facility. If you operate more than two, host a monthly global conference call.
- Encourage employee feedback via email. Even when you can’t be physically present, it’s essential for them to know their voices are heard.
Embrace Technological Solutions
The advancement of technology has made managing multiple facilities more efficient than ever before. Leverage technology to your advantage:
- Use email as a powerful tool for communication, enabling efficient correspondence within and across facilities.
- Utilize video conferencing platforms like Skype, FaceTime, or Google Hangouts to conduct personal and interactive meetings.
- Implement software solution for facility management to track progress remotely and ensure consistent operations across all sites. Allow your workforce to track tasks and time online, facilitating better oversight.
Foster Inclusive Decision-Making
While it’s easy to give orders remotely, seeking input on important company decisions is crucial for morale and fostering unity over long distances:
- Involve management at each facility in making company-wide decisions, such as policy changes or production adjustments.
- Provide opportunities for workers to contribute their insights. At the very least, establish a company-wide suggestion box and address each suggestion during conference calls or via email to demonstrate that employees’ opinions are valued, regardless of their physical location.
Assign On-Site Leadership Roles
Trust is essential, especially when you can’t physically observe your managers. Ensure effective on-site leadership:
- Require on-site managers to report to you more frequently than they would if they were in the same building, using email or daily phone calls.
- Empower managers to make local decisions while ensuring they understand their boundaries and when they should consult with you.
Establish Company Best Practices
Strong local management alone is insufficient if there are no universal company policies to guide them. Establish clear and consistent best practices, ensuring employees from all offices understand and adhere to them.
Promote Inter-Facility Team Building
Employees at each facility share the same goals of productivity and overall business success. Facilitate collaboration by:
- Organizing yearly team-building exercises within each facility to foster better relationships and promote understanding of individual roles throughout the organization.
- Consider company-wide gatherings or online exercises to build connections and familiarity among employees, even when physically apart.
Acknowledge Facility Differences
While emphasizing uniform policies and management styles, recognize that each manufacturing facility has unique local needs:
- Be sensitive to cultural variations, whether international or domestic, and consider how holidays or customs may impact routines.
- Adapt to diverse regulations across borders, understanding that practices effective in one region may not apply elsewhere.
Implementing facility management best practices, such as utilizing location-based asset mapping, accessing accurate data, and having capital planning capabilities, is crucial to maximize efficiency, avoid financial losses, and ensuring the safety of your facilities.
Leverage a facility management software solution like FieldCircle to eliminate guesswork and elevate your facilities to the highest standards. Provide your team with greater control, time management capabilities, and an improved budget.