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Make the Most out of Key Performance Indicators for Facilities

May 14, 2018

Drive down operational costs by using key performance indicators (KPIs) that are specific to your facility’s needs.

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are an important tool. If you aren’t using them to analyze your processes, you might be setting your organization back. Become a more efficient facilities manager by identifying the best practices with KPIs.

Why Utilize Key Performance Indicators?

KPIs come with a variety of benefits for your organization. The Facilities Management Department at Western Michigan University identifies these strategic planning advantages that come from key performance indicators:

  • Identify everything that’s easy to measure and count
  • Make performance and strategic goals visible
  • Promote teamwork by sharing measurable objectives
  • Question and direct attention – however, KPIs don’t provide answers on their own
  • Focus employees’ attention on the tasks and processes at hand
Most importantly for facilities managers, they help you keep a close eye on the overall health of the building, explains Eric Crabb (pictured to the right), Executive Vice President at QSI Facilities, a facilities and construction services firm. Proper use of key performance indicators allows you to make cost-effective decisions like whether to replace equipment or seek out maintenance.

[Related: Stop Wasting Money on Deferred Maintenance]

“KPIs are key to tracking compliance and performance, and performance ultimately drives costs,” says Crabb. “KPIs not only give you detailed data into running your business and the total cost of ownership, but they also help you drive down costs and provide transparency.”

Consider the Macro and Micro Views

With KPIs, it’s easy to think about the big picture. The amount of data they provide can give your organization a large financial overview, but it’s important to remember that they can also help you run facilities on a micro level.

[On topic: Is Predictive Analytics Possible in Your Facility?]

“KPIs are part of a macro level and a micro level for the existing components of a building,” explains Crabb. “They can provide insights all the way down to the asset level of different types of critical building systems.”

In conjunction with the bigger picture, you can find inefficiencies with your building’s equipment and maintenance schedules, which will improve efficiency and performance. Having a more holistic overview of building operations via KPIs will help you cut costs in the facilities department from top to bottom.

However, be aware that KPIs need to be flexible as the focus and importance can change over time. What once was a high priority might not have as big of influence in driving down costs later, Crabb explains.

Take on Facility-Specific KPIs

While there’s a temptation to find lists of key performance indicators that have worked for other facilities, make sure you define the categories that will specifically help your facility. KPIs that don’t apply directly to your facility’s needs aren’t worth taking on. They won’t help you track performance and drive down costs as efficiently.

“It’s important to focus on what’s important to the facility and what the company is executing,” says Crabb. Asking yourself what your building’s purpose is and what its goals are will help you identify specific KPIs to employ.  

Expecting actionable insights based off generic key performance indicators is a common misconception for facilities managers. “One common mistake facilities managers make is using generic KPIs because they’ve been defined by industry experts, but they are often too generic to add value to a customer’s specific needs,” notes Crabb.

Timeliness is vital for KPIs in facilities management. For example, you have to factor in the seasonality of asset use when tracking and reporting. Using the wrong set of comparables can potentially have a sizeable impact on reporting and drawing conclusions, Crabb explains.

Getting the most out of key performance indicators requires flexibility. You should:

  • Use KPIs that are relevant to your organization’s financial goals, like capital and operating expense budget goals and asset management/replacement
  • Think about the expectations of what the building provides for the organization
  • Consider the building systems and equipment in place
  • Account for variables that change over time

Analyze Raw Data for Actionable Insights

Facilities managers in today’s highly automated workplace typically have no shortage of data to work with. But data on its own has little value if you don’t know what to do with it. “It’s very easy to get data today from providers. However, you should be looking for a provider that can drive analytics and insights instead of just raw data,” says Crabb.

Finding a trusted firm – one that also knows your facility well – to analyze your data to provide you with actionable insights is critical for key performance indicators. At that point, you can pinpoint maintenance efficiency, service and maintenance time, and any other key areas you need to know to drive down costs.

Justin Feit was an associate editor at BUILDINGS.

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