Six 'must-haves' for facilities management in higher education

An integrated approach

A lot is riding on the state of your university’s facilities, both now and into the future. As government funding shrinks, it’s harder to keep the lights on in your labs and libraries. Yet having quality, well-equipped buildings and amenities are essential for attracting and retaining the best and brightest students, researchers, and increasingly, industry and business partners.

That’s why an integrated approach to facilities management is a no-brainer. You need consolidated data from across your organisation to reduce operational costs, make a strong case for new capital investment, and manage facilities in ways that maximise your return on investment - not to mention keep students and staff safe and happy.

1. Long-term strategy

How will your facilities keep pace with rapid changes in the programs and technologies shaping student demand and growth in research fields?

Your solution should help you to make informed investment decisions. That means being able to predict long-term asset costs, prioritise building projects, and use best-practice modelling to plan capital works based on different financial scenarios.

Plans and decisions made with reliable foresight will ensure facilities can be funded and actually support the services you want to provide.

2. Compliance

Universities are highly regulated, so look for a solution that ensures compliance is met by helping you proactively manage assets.

At a minimum, you need to be able to schedule regulatory-required inspections and maintenance for Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (HVAC), fire and disability services.

Additionally, predictive power is vital to stay in front of renewals, upgrades and replacements, to ensure facilities remain safe and operational, are hazard-free, disaster-ready, and enhance personal safety and wellbeing of students.

3. Growth and adaption

Getting the most value out of existing assets is a wise move in a volatile economic landscape. Being able to plan for growth and changes in use is essential in your facilities management solution.

It starts with having an integrated asset register that allows you to classify and accurately monitor all types of buildings, equipment, utilities, and green spaces. High-level visibility should combine with sophisticated management and cost analysis tools.

That way, you can optimise availability, reduce wear and tear, and more easily determine how assets can be used to solve new problems or support new revenue streams in the future.

4. Cost and profitability

Responsive asset lifecycle management reduces costs. But you need smart tools. Choose software that gives you a clear picture of costs about developing capital projects; the maintenance, renewal and operation of assets over their entire lifecycle; and how well spaces are being utilised.

For accurate insights, facilities management costs must dovetail with supply chain management transactions—like inventory, purchasing and contractors—and also feed into overarching financial planning tools.

5. Communication

Two-way communication helps to ensure staff and students expectations are met, and that service level standards are achieved.

Prioritise the capability to offer self-service so people can flag facilities management issues and get feedback. An ideal solution also enhances communication with workers.

For instance, an asset register that harnesses spatial information so you can manage assets visually, which helps field staff and contractors quickly find the location of problems and get to work. Plus integrated apps to record work completed on-the-go.

6. Scalability

You’re putting in improved systems to support your university to evolve and expand over time, so make sure the solution you pick can grow with you.

Choose integrated software available in the cloud that can scale to tens of thousands of users, including staff and students. Software as a Service (SaaS) also reduces internal IT costs and the burden of managing your infrastructure.

As one of your most significant expenses, and one of your most important differentiators in a competitive market, how you manage and plan for the use and expansion of your facilities is paramount. A comprehensive view of facilities in the context of broader business management is easier than ever to achieve if you focus on these factors.

Software that delivers a unified approach to facilities management—from day-to-day compliance and maintenance, through to high-level strategic planning—is critical to being able to run a sustainable and highly-regarded university. Select a sophisticated enterprise asset lifecycle management solution that allows you to link people, processes, data, and technology across every part of your institution.

Publish date

13 Nov 2020

Keep exploring

Visit our Asset Management Hub for further resources on how you can reimagine your asset management processes.

Ready to learn more?

To take advantage of the opportunities a whole-of-organisation approach to asset management can provide, complete the form to speak to a solutions expert.