You might have spent time and money implementing FM software, but that doesn’t mean your contractors will actually want to use it. Here are 9 ways you can help your suppliers learn to love your CAFM system and generate all the data you need from them in the process.
9 ways your suppliers will learn to love your CAFM
1. If they help design it
Your contractors know what they really need from a CAFM. They know what digital tools will help them work faster and smarter. And they know, better than anyone else, what kind of bureaucracy will slow them down. Before you configure your software, therefore, bring your CAFM partner and contractors together so you can all agree on the steps you need in your digital workflows. Together you should decide:
- What information the contractor will need to complete a job
- When and how you should share that data with them
- How you can best automate steps for them
- What data you need from them as they complete the job
Engaging with your contractor at this level will mean your CAFM is useful for everybody in the chain and will become a tool they (and you) will actually want to use.
2. If it’s intuitive and frictionless
Ensure your CAFM has a contractor portal and a dashboard that you can customise to make work order management as fast and frictionless as possible. Make sure your CAFM comes with:
- Customisable and personalised dashboard configuration so you can slice and dice your data how you see fit for all user roles
- Customisable workflows for each type of maintenance request so that the steps are relevant and predictable
- A well-designed and thought-out user interface which can be used effortlessly across all user roles and demographics
- Full communication and audit trail for each job, so no detail is lost
- Full access to the service history of each asset for quick reference
- Real-time notifications, alerts and reminders to keep the communication flowing and users engaged
3. If they can provide you data without having to login
Where possible, a CAFM should allow third parties to interact and provide key data points instantly without having to login. Quick responses are key and your suppliers will be keen to impress with quick turnaround times on all your requests for information.
Therefore a smart CAFM system will allow your suppliers to:
- Add Comments by simply replying to emails that will find their way to the relevant communication channel inside your CAFM
- Accept Service Requests by simply hitting a call-to-action button inside a service request email that sends the response back to the CAFM
- Provide time and attendance records by scanning a QR code on-site that lets you know when engineers have arrived and left your buildings
- Submit Quotes / Invoices by interacting with secure and temporary online forms which are accessible by an email link which is triggered at the right time
- Upload Compliance Certificates by responding to requests for documentation by uploading certificates/reports to temporary web forms
Needing to log into a CAFM is the most common barrier and pain point for your supply chain. But you’ll find that even the larger national contractors will happily engage over email via their own service desk system and interact with your CTAs (Call-To-Actions). Your small suppliers, who may only receive a small volume of work, will typically forget or misplace their passwords and find every reason not to log in. Therefore, any secure alternative which removes this pain point will always go down well.
4. If they can ‘see the problem’
If your CAFM lets requestors upload photos and videos of the issue they’re reporting your contractor will have a headstart when it comes to diagnosing the problem and working out what parts they need to bring with them. At the same time, your contractors should be able to share files or photos with their clients and the helpdesk to show:
- Before and after photos
- If further work is required
- How they have fixed the issue
- Notes, steps or manuals for future diagnosis
5. If they can communicate directly with the requester
If your contractor can collaborate directly with the person who raised the work request, they can come equipped with the information they need to solve an issue. Two-way communication via a CAFM will make everyone’s lives easier and help your CAFM become the ‘go-to’ tool for your contractors.
This is in the interest of both parties in the pursuit of achieving a first-time fix and delivering great service performance.
6. If they can invoice straight from the app
Never underestimate the power of payment to focus the mind. Ensure you’ve integrated your CAFM with your finance system to streamline invoicing and payment processes.
Once a contractor understands that they’ll be able to invoice directly and automatically from your CAFM when the job is complete, we’re pretty sure they’ll become a fan.
7. If they get paid faster and always for the right amount
Automatic invoicing via your CAFM will also ensure there are no discrepancies between hours declared and payments requested. The prospect of faster, quibble-free payment should be a huge draw for your contractors. And if you explain to them they can also request immediate uplift directly from the system… they may want to use it even more.
8. If you show them the way
You may need to spend time and effort convincing your contractors that they should use your selected CAFM system. But be prepared to do so. Demonstrating the system in action will help them see what could ‘be in it for them’ and maximise their future engagement.
Your CAFM provider should also be able to provide some guides, video tutorials and a contact who can support them along their way.
9. If it’s the only way to work with you
If you’re intent on gaining control and oversight of your FM data you will need to be firm and make it clear that contractors engaging with your CAFM is ‘non-negotiable’. But, as explained above, if you have the financial integration between your billing systems and your CAFM in place, the case for them to use your system will become much more compelling.
The battle for ownership and access to facilities management data is too important to lose. Encouraging your contractors to use your CAFM may require a combination of education, incentive and arm-bending if it’s going to bring the results you need. The bottom line is this, as budgets tighten and the C-Suite seek to justify and optimise their FM spending, your business needs access to the right financial and operational data.
Contractors who can’t work with you to supply data in the way you need may be standing in the way of transformative cost savings and service improvements. Choosing the right CAFM with the right features could make the difference between a well-used system that gives the insight you need - and one that you can’t persuade anyone to use and dies a death from neglect.