Losing control? 6 ways CAFM systems can improve compliance management

Dec 11, 2020 3:45:02 PM By Tom Wilcock
Losing control? 6 ways CAFM systems can improve compliance management

Companies and facility managers risk significant legal, financial and reputational damage when they lose visibility and control over their compliance responsibilities.

This risk continues to grow as the number and scope of regulations increase and change, and new responsibilities suddenly arise.

Depending on the extent of your facilities and the sector you operate in, you might be required to report on and maintain regimes for:

  • PAT testing
  • Fire safety
  • Energy performance
  • HVAC compliance
  • COSHH handling
  • Legionella testing

Many of these compliance activities need to be carried out by specialist contractors while the requirements to maintain documentation remain with you.

Have you got the right tools for the job?

Effective compliance now combines the need for continual:

  • Risk assessment
  • Maintenance management
  • Remedial work
  • Document management

With extensive collaboration and tracking of internal and external teams to deliver results.

Without the right digital tools to co-ordinate these activities, it’s easy to lose track of what tasks have been done, what remains outstanding and where there are omissions in paperwork or reporting.

The stakes are high

And the stakes couldn’t be higher. Failed audits can attract fines and other sanctions, H&S incidents linked to non-compliant facilities can result in injury and death. It’s no wonder that year after year, compliance remains among the top concerns for Facility Managers.

Even so, most estimates say 60% of all facility management admin is still done either through spreadsheets, paper systems and file-sharing apps (like DropBox), rather than dedicated FM software. This represents a gap in capabilities that are exposing many companies to serious and unnecessary risk.

Here are six urgent compliance problems that CAFM can help you fix

  1. Lack of oversight
    If you’re using calendar reminders, spreadsheets and email to plan and coordinate compliance activities the chances of making serious mistakes and omissions in your process are significantly increased. CAFM platforms with a dedicated compliance dashboard can provide an instant snapshot of an entire estate, showing where work is planned, where activities are overdue, remedial work is scheduled and paperwork is pending.
  2. Lack of automation
    Without the tools to standardise and automate steps in the compliance process, these activities can end up badly defined and prone to fail. Facility Management software gives you the tools to automate workflows, ensuring planned maintenance is triggered by emails automatically sent to the right team. These can link to checklists and relevant documentation so work is carried out in the required way and data is captured consistently. Once work has been done teams can be automatically reminded and chased to complete or supply compliance documentation for future reference.
  3. No way to track remedial action
    What happens when an asset fails a routine compliance check? Without a shared tool for logging issues the need for remedial work can easily fall between the cracks. This can end up in failed audits - or cause systems and assets to break further down the line because they were not given the required attention.
  4. Document anarchy
    Research shows that 95% of workers struggle to find documents in their corporate filing systems - and that vital business documentation can typically be stored in up to 4 different locations - including shared drives, email, file sharing apps and paper filing systems. This fragmentation of file storage and sharing methods across different platforms are presenting new compliance challenges. How can you tell what is the latest version of a critical document? Can you see who has signed off or added to the documents you are looking at? Choosing a CAFM as your ‘single source of truth’ for compliance management, rather than piecing together a DIY solution using different platforms - will reduce errors and make auditing a much less time consuming and stressful process.
  5. Poor communication
    When it comes to maintenance and handling remedial work, a flurry of messages sent through different channels can end up in work being done incorrectly or not all. The proliferation of new messaging apps and business communication platforms like Slack have added to the potential for unclear and undocumented exchanges happening around vital compliance tasks. Using a CAFM with a dedicated contractor portal should keep communications channelled in one place. Meanwhile, workflows can be set up to keep tasks moving along, sending reminders and notifications to ensure everyone knows what they should be doing and are reporting on their activity appropriately.
  6. Spiralling costs
    The ‘cost of compliance’ is a familiar complaint. The time and resource spent managing, documenting and overseeing required compliance activities can seem never-ending, particularly if you’re doing it across a range of different platforms - and with email and mobile as your only communication channels. Choosing a CAFM system to help you bring order to this chaos can mean a sizeable financial investment. But focusing on compliance as a priority can help you achieve ROI more quickly. Having a CAFM in place can reduce insurance premiums as you’re demonstrating your proactive approach to meeting regulatory requirements. Meanwhile, the automation of PPM and other compliance tasks will reduce the amount of manual work you have to perform to chase up and keep track of jobs in the schedule.

Compliance software shouldn’t stop you in your tracks

Companies who need to rapidly bring order to the chaos and achieve ROI as a priority should consider how agile the CAFM tools on offer are. Is it easy to upload and configure data into the system to schedule PPM? Can you build out bespoke workflows simply and quickly using the interface?

There’s no point having a powerful compliance tool, that you can’t configure easily and bring quickly on-line to help you with your most pressing challenges.

Make sure you choose a solution that can be tailored to your needs, with rapid data import and software configuration so you can hit the ground running.

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