FMX wishes you a fun-filled holiday!

We hope you have as much fun this holiday season as we did making our holiday video!

Although we may be out spending time with loved ones, we’ll still be here if you need us. Here’s our holiday schedule:

December 23 – Regular Hours (8:00am EST to 6:00pm EST)

December 24 – CLOSED

December 25 – CLOSED

December 26 – CLOSED

December 27-30 -Regular Hours (8:00am EST to 6:00pm EST)

December 31 – CLOSED

January 1 – CLOSED

January 2 – CLOSED

If you’ve got a question burning brighter than a crackling, cozy fireplace, our Learning Center could have the answer you need. Happy Holidays!

6 CMMS Best Practices for Stress-Free Audits

Does anyone not like getting two things for the price of one? That’s basically the idea behind using your CMMS to streamline audits.

If you’re familiar with CMMS’, you know they’re commonly used for managing work orders, scheduling preventive maintenance, tracking inventory, and so on. One of the hidden benefits of these powerful programs is that regularly performing the activities listed above will result in a wealth of facility data that you can use to verify compliance!

If you are currently using a CMMS, there are lots of ways you can tweak your processes to optimize your CMMS to become the perfect audit-assisting tool. If you don’t have a CMMS in place and deal with audits on a regular basis, read on to see just how simple things could be.

2_Oct-Hot-Topic-AuditPNG.png

Click here to download the infographic shown above.


riana_blog_headshot
 Riana is the creative services manager at Facilities Management eXpress. When she’s not creating content or brainstorming new outfits for the FMX-bot, she can be found doing crafts and drinking copious amounts of green tea.

6 Questions to Ask Yourself When Planning Your Facility Management Budget

By this time of the year, most facility managers are wiping the sweat off their brow and saying “good riddance” to this fiscal year’s budget plan. While this seems like a good time to relax and take a breath (you deserve it), it’s also the perfect time to get started on next year’s budget! ln fact, facility management professionals suggest starting the budget planning process as early as 10 months before the fiscal year is out. We agree — it’s never too early to start! So, to help get your mind in the right place, we’ve compiled six questions that all facility managers should ask themselves when planning their budget. Check them out in our SlideShare presentation below.
We’re interested — what’s the top priority for your budget plan this year? Is there anything you do to streamline your budget planning process? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below!

With FMX, you can plan your budgets with confidence. Our cloud-based software provides you with the tools you need to track spending, productivity, equipment status, and more. With the help of our robust reporting and analytics, you can use this data to uncover insights on your facility management processes. FMX tracks resources and inventory while keeping everyone up-to-date with work orders, event schedules, and planned maintenance. Talk to an FMX-pert today to simplify the way you manage your facilities.


riana_blog_headshot
 Riana is the creative services manager at Facilities Management eXpress. When she’s not creating content or running the FMX customer community, she can be found doing crafts and drinking copious amounts of green tea.

3 Ways to Avoid Facility Fiascos this School Year

Your school’s fresh paint job is drying, the floors are squeaky clean, and the classrooms are in tip-top shape for your students and staff. So, bring on the students, right? Not just yet! Phew, glad we caught you before you did anything rash. Now is actually the perfect time to start adding some to-dos to your list that will help you start the new school year off on the right foot. These tasks are a lot like the idea of preventive maintenance, which is the practice of performing routine repairs or inspections to prevent a future emergency and extend the life of your building. If you carry out these simple tasks now, it could help you avoid conflicts and costly surprises down the line.

1. Get your school’s staff onboard

Maintaining open communication with your school’s faculty and staff is paramount if you want your facilities to operate with minimal hiccups. A couple simple practices can be the difference between an educational facility that runs smoothly and one that constantly needs attention.

  • Get into the habit of explaining the reasoning behind any requests you make of your colleagues. By properly explaining why certain rules are in place, you can prevent misunderstandings that would otherwise result in disaster.
    • For example, you may ask your colleagues to keep their thermostats at 74ºF. In your mind, you know it’s to keep mold from growing and to cut back on cooling costs. However, a teacher may think you just like to make them miserable so one Friday, when they can’t take it anymore, they disregard your request and turn down the thermostat to 65ºF. Then, to make matters worse, they leave it on in the empty classroom over the long weekend! Unbeknownst to them, they just left behind the perfect breeding grounds for mold. How could this have been avoided? Next time, provide the “why” behind your request. Providing the context behind a request makes your staff feel like they are in the loop and helps the information stick when it matters most.
  • Sometimes emails don’t get read or announcements are tuned out, so take advantage of your empty school and arm your facility with adequate signage. Don’t want a door left open? Make a sign for it. Want to remind staff that lights should only be on during certain hours? Make a sign for it. Tired of students using the emergency doors to leave school? Make a — you get it. On your next walk through of your facilities, create a list of signs that need to be made. No need to be fancy, a simple word document can do wonders.

2. Start fresh

Just like a student gets a spiffy new haircut before their first day of school, tidying up your facilities will help you start the school year in style. When you’re focused on big tasks like facility remodels or repairs, smaller tasks, such as organizing your janitorial supplies and closets, can get pushed further down your to-do list. It’s not too late to set aside some time to get your department ready to take on whatever the school year throws at you.

  • Organize the little things. Start with your desk and surrounding office space, then move on to your supply closets, custodial closets and any other storage areas that may need a little TLC. Rally your staff to help cut organizing time in half. Depending on your storage spaces this may be a daunting task, but the first step is to set aside as little as an hour a week just to get started. Break it down into small, actionable steps. For example, start by disposing of old inventory or cleaning supplies and making sure all their usage and safety information is visible. If you want to go the extra mile, you could even replace your cleaning supplies with their environmentally-friendly counterparts. To encourage easy maintenance of your freshly assembled space, label items and ask that your team abide by your new organizational set-up.

3. Whip your workflows into shape

While summer may symbolize freedom for students and teachers, most of us understand that work never takes a break. However, since your facilities are emptier than normal, summer is the ideal time to usher in a new era of facility management for your building(s). Facility management software provides incredible value to schools and implementing one now could gain you many opportunities to save on costs and improve your facilities. A good facility management software keeps work order, vendor activity, and inventory information in one place. Ideally, a facility management software system should take the stress of keeping track of maintenance duties and following up with work orders off your shoulders. With the extra time gained from using facility management software, our customers managing school facilities have been able to take on initiatives focused on making their schools the best learning environments they can be.

  • Kick off your search by documenting and prioritizing your school’s needs and areas for improvement. Many of our customers in school environments come to us with an unstructured work request system and are overwhelmed with keeping track of vendor activity and maintenance requests. Do thorough research to find a software system that fits your school’s criteria. Make ease-of-use a necessity — the more people feel comfortable navigating through your software solution, the more people will use it. For more information, check out our eGuide on selecting a facilities management system.
  • If facility management software is out of the question, brainstorm ways to improve the efficiency of your current work order, preventive maintenance, and event scheduling workflows. What are your three biggest holdups?Are your work orders getting lost every few weeks? Can your staff’s efficiency be improved? Maybe it’s time to reestablish your expectations of your team. Find solutions that fit within your workflow and test them out to see if they have a positive effect. Taking the summer to establish these new practices gives you a good window to work out any kinks and develop the best way to instruct others on your new procedures.

How Facilities Management eXpress (FMX) Can Help
FMX’s simple interface and powerful capabilities like work order and preventive maintenance management, event and transportation scheduling, and reporting and analytics are providing value to schools around the nation. We work with onsite single sign-on and allow unlimited users, making us a great fit for schools of any size. Click here for more information and to learn more about how K-12, higher education, and charter schools like yours have simplified their facilities management with FMX.

riana_blog_headshot.png

Riana is the assistant marketing director at Facilities Management eXpress. When she’s not creating content or running the FMX customer community, she can be found doing crafts and drinking copious amounts of green tea.

 

Sources:
https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2003/2003347.pdf

 

3 Tips for a Stress-Free Easter Service

Get ahead of the game and make next year’s Easter service a guaranteed success with these three simple tips.

1.) Keep events running smoothly with event scheduling anyone can access.

Has your kitchen ever doubled as a last minute warm-up room for your worship band? Does your Sunday school often run over, causing other events to relocate? Prevent these mix-ups and more by creating a formalized schedule system that keeps everyone updated.

  • You can find many calendar templates online, print out a spreadsheet, or keep a large whiteboard calendar in a central place for all your staff and volunteers to see. This central calendar gives you the ability to make any changes public so everyone stays in the loop.
  • Once you’ve created your Easter events schedule, post it on your website and/or social media channels and promote online sharing. Make sure your schedule is set in stone by this point as changing and notifying everyone is difficult at this large scale.
  • Creating individual room schedules and posting them on the appropriate doors can help deter roaming groups from taking over a reserved room.

The FMX Solution: FMX makes event scheduling easy since it prevents double booking of events and streamlines event approval processes. The FMX calendar can be exported and embedded on your church’s website or blog or synced with your phone’s calendar. And the best part is that any changes you make to the calendar within FMX are automatically reflected on these embedded calendars! Alternatively, you could take advantage of FMX’s unlimited user access by giving your whole congregation access to your FMX site to view the calendar and submit events. To keep everyone updated, you can enable email notifications that will let members know when any changes are made.


2.) Plan your cleaning strategy ahead of time to make sure everything is covered.

Not only is Easter something your members look forward to, it’s a great opportunity to make a positive impression on new guests who could turn into regular attendees. Make sure your building is in tip-top shape by getting prepared weeks in advance and keeping staff accountable for their assigned tasks.

  • At least one month before the big weekend, gather your staff for a brainstorm. Take this time to go over all the nooks and crannies that need tidying up as well as the larger, deep cleaning tasks.
  • Once you’ve identified these tasks, delegate them to the appropriate person and create a checklist to keep them both organized and accountable.
  • Some tasks may require help from outside vendors – coordinating work with vendors in advance saves you from having to stress over the details later on when you’re swamped with a million other to-dos.
  • Don’t stop there; make sure you keep tabs on problem areas that might be clutter magnets!

The FMX Solution: Our customers have found that using the Planned Maintenance module of FMX greatly streamlines the entire organizing and cleaning process. Through our Planned Maintenance module, tasks can be assigned to individuals, complete with a checklist of to-dos and instructions. This is especially useful when dealing with outside vendors. Since there’s no limit to the amount of users connected to your FMX account, invite these outside vendors into your system so you can share the checklists with them, track their progress, and keep them accountable. These checklists can then be set to occur before every Easter or other major church events (we’re looking at you, Christmas). You can also set reminders on your calendar to check on those problem areas that seem to get dirty no matter how often you clean!


3.) Tracking your inventory = fewer headaches!

It’s no surprise that you’ll be faced with a much larger crowd than normal coming to join the Easter festivities, but knowing exactly how many people to accommodate can become a risky guessing game. Keep tabs on your inventory and equipment and try to get ahead of the game by following these tips.

  • Keep all extra chairs/pews in one place. This way you can see at a glance how much extra seating you have available. You can even go the extra mile and keep a list of how many chairs go to each room. Set these up a day or so in advance to avoid shortages on the day of the event.
  • Order extra consumable inventory ahead of time. Things like toilet paper, paper towels, and beverages can quickly deplete during the course of an event. Be prepared by keeping track of what goes in and out of your inventory at all times.

The FMX Solution: FMX can easily take care of inventory and equipment headaches. When scheduling rooms, you can request equipment so you can see exactly how many chairs each room needs. You can also set up notifications so the staff responsible for chair set-up will receive emails with the equipment request. Not sure if you have enough of something in stock? Track your consumable inventory in our Inventory Module and always know how much of an item is on hand and when it’s time to order more. You can also track the cost of each inventory item in FMX to help with budgeting.