Are your colleagues getting more information about the status of their pizza delivery than they are about the equipment failure they reported last week? Isn’t it about time you got a grip on your FM work order software?

Is your work request and work order system a black hole? If so, are your requesters in the dark about the progress of their work orders? Do your engineers and contractors lack the communication tools they need to progress jobs and fix problems faster?

You wouldn’t put up with it in any other sector

That gift you ordered? Practically the moment you confirm payment, you have an estimated delivery time, together with the name and inside leg measurement of the person who’ll be delivering it to you. Not to mention a quick request for a review from you once your parcel has arrived.

Feeling the strain? Download our three-step guide to selecting a CAFM system

Lessons in customer service

A report from IBM at the turn of the decade concluded the ‘Amazon effect’ had fundamentally shifted our expectations of all the organisations we deal with on a daily basis: 

  • 76% of consumers expected all the organisations they dealt with to understand their individual needs
  • 68% expected all their online and customer experiences to be integrated and harmonised

Now the hyperconnected comms solutions of hyperscale businesses like Amazon and eBay have gone mainstream.  

Even the smallest pizza joint or cab firm is likely to have a SAAS set up to keep everyone in the loop via SMS/push/email about the status of their Meat Feast or their ride home.  

If you don’t get an automated notification from your taxi driver saying they’re on their way and a follow-up text when they arrive, you’ll feel abandoned and shortchanged. They’ll even be prompted to give you a call when they’re outside to pick you up if they’re still not sure where you are.

Work order management needs to be more ‘joined up’

But Facilities Management generally remains stuck in a pre-Amazon state of denial. 

Send an email to FM about the heating packing up, or a door that’s sticking and you’ll likely get an email back confirming they’re on to it and not much else. This isn’t helping anyone.

Yet the expectations of everyone involved in the chain remain sky high. 

  • The users of facilities and equipment want updates and reassurance that their problem will be fixed ASAP
  • Engineers and contractors expect the details of a work order to be at their fingertips and accessible on all their devices.
  • C-Suite want to see data that proves you’re delivering better, more efficient service

FM service delivery: a gap between expectation and reality

As the gap widens between the slick service delivery of the ‘outside world’ and the lack of automation in facilities management, efficiency is being compromised, FMs are failing to impress internally and the future of their teams may hang in the balance:

If you haven’t got a joined-up process and technology that keep everyone in the chain connected at every point you may find:

  • Customers will try to circumvent your process - double emailing you, calling you directly, calling your engineers directly - anything they need to get their job done. This is where chaos, wasted time and frustration lies.
  • Contractors and engineers won’t have the information or data they need to optimise the way they work - you won’t be able to support them in improving their FFTR (first time fix rates) and other KPIs
  • The C-Suite won’t see the value of an internal FM function - they may look towards TFM solutions and other disruptors to maximise their value for money.

What’s the answer?

CAFM systems that help you set up connected workflows with effective communication tools and mobile friendly interfaces will keep your jobs moving down the funnel - and your customers in the loop.

4 ways a CAFM makes your work order process more connected


1. Work requests made simple

First, take a step back. How do the requesters notify you when they’ve got a problem? Are they using a mobile friendly form? Does it structure the data effectively, making it simple to categorise and automate workflows? Can users upload photos and videos so that engineers can see the problem for themselves. Is the work request automatically forwarded to the call centre? Do the requesters get an instant, automated email response informing them of updates and expected next steps? 

2. Work orders that really work

Work requests need to be automatically transformed into work orders that can be instantly triaged by the operations team. The work order software that your FM team use should make it easy for your operations team to:

  • Categorise, approve and prioritise each work order
  • Identify and remove duplicate work orders from the system
  • Select and notify engineers with the right skills to attend each job
  • Select suitably skilled contractors to quote for the work 
  • Include gathered photos and videos of issue for access by contractors
  • Organise engineer’s schedules so they optimise efficiencies
  • Consolidate work orders to reduce callouts

3. Better information sharing and communication

A good CAFM system will prioritise good communication between requesters, call centres, FM operations, contractors and engineers. It will come with the chat functionality that lets engineers and contractors get the extra information they need about an issue from the call centre. 

Choose a CAFM that comes with: 

  • A dedicated mobile portal
  • Chat function with full history of comms
  • Timer and logging function to show engineer time and attendance records
  • Full access to asset documentation and it’s full service history

4. Keeping everyone in the loop

Keeping your customers informed about the progress of the request is essential. They require reassurance that their request is being dealt with. The contractors need to be aware of their requests and SLA expectations whilst the engineer needs to be sure they’re well informed over the issue and have access to the asset when they arrive on site. Email and SMS notifications can give everyone the information they need at every stage. Automating these communications will cut down on the manual administration involved and prevent unnecessary inbound and outbound calls for your operations team. Instead, all stakeholders can be constantly updated and nobody is left in the dark.

Escape the black hole

It’s the age of seamless service delivery. FM teams are finding they are being challenged to up their game at every turn. The business requires higher visibility and control whilst the C-Suite wants more accountability around the way we hit SLA targets and serve our customers.

For FMs, finding the CAFM partners who can help them personalise, automate and optimise their work order process can be hard. 

But those who do it right will not only find they are serving their clients more effectively. They’ll find they are finally in control of the data they need to improve their strategic thinking.

How to choose a CAFM system

Tom Wilcock

Written by Tom Wilcock

Tom Wilcock is the COO and Co-Founder of Expansive Solutions. He is a digital expert with a background in delivering large-scale business digital transformation. He specialises in project management, product user experience, business ecosystems and data intelligence.

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