This piece will focus on the cost-saving benefits of using technology to enhance the FM workforce, do more with less, and achieve better productivity.
Facilities Managers face more pressure today to do more with less than any other time in history. Budgets are shrinking, and competition continues to rise for products in services available through Amazon. Although some companies exist outside the e-commerce realm, they still face difficult times. To keep the budget in the black, Facilities Managers need to understand the problems they face with staff and how the right HVAC tech, that’s technology – not technicians – can help augment the workforce to enable better preventive and predictive maintenance.
Facilities Management Faces a Talent Crisis
The biggest problem aside from budgets rests in a critical issue affecting all America’s industries, the talent shortage. According to Josh Lessack of Facility Executive, retiring baby boomers and a lack of interest in America’s skilled trades have left many industries to pay higher rates for basic services, including higher prices for HVAC system technicians. HVAC systems represent one of the biggest investments for a facility, and the annual mean wage for HVAC technicians rose 22 percent between 2006 and 2016. Unfortunately, this amounts to fewer technicians available to handle HVAC maintenance and repairs, sending maintenance costs skyward.
Smart HVAC Technologies Reduce Workforce Demand
Although maintenance seems more expensive than it used to be, the right tools and resources in a facility extend the useful life of HVAC systems and reduce overall maintenance costs. Yes, we are talking about proactive maintenance strategies and smart, connected HVAC systems. Minor additions, like smart thermostats, can contribute greatly to less HVAC run-time, resulting in better efficiency, less strain on individual units and more effective capital planning for maintenance needs.
Key Capabilities of Smart HVAC Tech That Boost Productivity
Consider the current capabilities and working capacity of your team members. The maintenance schedule exists, and team members are spread throughout a distributed portfolio of facilities to handle all needs. Unless your systems can intelligently “tell” team members when service is needed, workers must default to manufacturer recommendations. Unfortunately, these recommendations may not be applicable to your facility if runtime is greater than average or if your environment has a higher-than-average number of pollutants, such as airborne pathogens and growth of mold, key concerns for facilities management too, explains Jeffrey C. Camplin of FacilitiesNet.
Implementing smart HVAC tech controls, that monitor your system function, maintenance needs, and self-verify the completion of repairs can have a significant impact on your budget, freeing up capital for use in other parts of your operation, including hiring additional workers when necessary. Of course, this is only possible through a few key capabilities of modern, smart HVAC technologies, including:
- Better forecasting. Today’s smart technologies can make predictions about when systems need maintenance or may fail. The capabilities do not end there. The system can automatically create a word order, schedule a technician and determine the cost-savings achieved through immediate maintenance, compared to the squared costs of deferred maintenance. Moreover, changes in HVAC demand, due to fluctuations in environmental conditions, can be used in algorithms to optimize system settings and reduce energy demand and run-time. As a result, HVAC costs for maintenance and intervention decrease.
- More transparency into HVAC Systems. When the information used in generating forecasts is applied across hundreds of thousands of data points, real-world insights can be determined. This includes creating predictive maintenance schedules, optimizing system settings, recommending changes to the operating environment, tracking warranty details and more. Making HVAC systems more transparent through smart technology will also boost efficiency and enable faster inspections of the equipment – extending the HVAC’s useful life. In turn, this will contribute to better capital planning.
- Streamline maintenance and boost productivity. The biggest costs associated with scheduling a technician, after the cost of labor, are fuel costs. Limited availability among HVAC system technicians means response times may be longer and fuel costs could easily triple, if not increase exponentially. Added costs place a larger burden on Facilities Managers. By using a smart system, Facilities Managers can streamline the word order process, as well as combine maintenance needs across multiple systems into a single visit. As a result, costs for sending out a technician decrease, increasing productivity and creating value through data analysis.
Enhance Your FM With Intelligent HVAC System Solutions
Intelligent HVAC systems are advancing daily, and the innovations of today will drive those of tomorrow. Instead of keeping the status quo, Facilities Managers must leverage smart technologies to augment their workforce with a new, digital HVAC technician. In this world, HVAC tech is taking on a whole new meaning. Learn more about how smart technologies can help your team do more with less and achieve greater efficiency by contacting ENTOUCH online or calling 1-800-820-3511 today.