The facility service sector is a very interesting one. It is the third biggest industry in terms of employment in the EU. However, not much has changed in terms of how people work in the last 15 years – except one thing: The emergence of the messenger service “WhatsApp” as a communications tool in 2013.
In most cases, such a messenger service is used to coordinate orders and employees. The individually created (Word) reports are saved non-automatically. Sometimes reports and photos are only saved on a mail-server or even remain in WhatsApp. Also a part of the everyday work of assistants: The allocation of employees by Outlook-calendar as well as the planning and recording of work-activities in Excel-sheets.
In short: Most of the administrative work is done manually. Communication happens via lots of different channels.
As we at Wowflow CMMS digitize the daily work and administrative tasks of facility service teams, there arose one question:
What are the hidden operational costs in this industry?
Surprisingly, there is no proper research available on this topic. That is why we started talking to our customers and some industry experts. We think: The outcome is worth sharing.
First, there has to be differentiation between Hard FM and Soft FM. When we talk of Hard FM, it refers to the physical structure of a building. This includes for example plumbing, air conditioning or CCTV systems. Soft FM on the other hand includes all the elements managed by people, like cleaning and waste management. For Hard FM having the right information is key. One of these tasks can easily take up to 55 minutes and include ten different steps of administrative work. When it comes to Soft FM the pressure of reporting is extremely high. The cleaning staff, for example, has to make sure that the employer as well as the client have a clear overview of what has been done and when it has been
According to what we found out, one facility service employee spends 2.5 hours a week on admin work. The administration staff around 10 – depending on the intensity of the documentation and the work done by the technical team. For a project manager it is around 6 administrative working hours per week – also depending on factors such as the coordination and communication effort. 18.5 hours of administrative effort per week for only three employees!
But there is more to the story: additional work tasks
Besides the work orders you get directly from the client, there are other tasks that have to be fulfilled within a facility service company. One of them being the gathering of base data for all the equipment, assets and technical machines used. According to one of the industry experts we talked to, Dipl.-Ing. Mag. Dr. Alexander Redlein from the technical university of Vienna, this is one of the biggest administrative time wasters. Another time-consuming task: managing equipment. In certain cases, just managing a key can take up to 20 minutes, when it is done non-automated with the help of Excel sheets or even hand-written lists.
Have you been aware of all these sources of hidden costs?
We know this blogpost just summarises the key information and more research definitely needs to be done. But it is a good start to understand what is going on “behind the scenes”. You can find the full Deep Dive article on this topic here. If you have any better data about the administration inefficiencies or are curious to further explore the topic with us, feel free to drop a quick email directly to our CEO at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Drazen Ivanis, CEO and Founder at Wowflow, and Tanja Schwärzler