Articles

Ticket to nowhere

a facilities manager receives many work requests at one time via email, the a phone shows the mail icon with a red circle over it and the mail icon is repeated in a halo around the phone

One of the most common questions facilities management teams are asked, is “why can’t we use our existing ticketing system for FM?”.

In trying to cut costs, it’s often suggested the FM team utilise a ticketing system, similar to those used by IT, rather than a comprehensive FM solution. This suggestion however, demonstrates a lack of visibility over what truly goes into effective facilities management.

Ticketing systems typically are a system where users can submit issues for the designated team to address. The process usually looks a little like this:

1)   User submits an issue

2)   A team member is notified

3)   Team member actions the issue

4)   Ticket is marked as resolved and is removed from list

These systems facilitate a reactive approach to issue resolution. However, as we know, reactive maintenance is just one part of an effective maintenance strategy.

Best practice guidelines favour a more proactive approach, with embedded processes and activities supporting an asset centric approach.

If your organisation is thinking about forgoing facilities management software for a ticketing system, it’s time to bring these factors into the conversation.

Compliance

Facilities managers must adhere to a large number of compliance standards, which vary between states and industries. These legislative requirements drive information and reporting needs for facilities teams.

Contractor management

Depending on the size of your organisation, you may have several contractors being brought in to perform work. The nature of that work likely necessitates the contractor hold certain accreditations, licenses and insurance.

When using dedicated facilities management software, these details and documents are stored within the platform, alongside other relevant information.

When work is assigned to those contractors, FM systems will automatically check whether those requirements are met. If the accreditations are out of date or unverified, the system stops work from being assigned to those contractors.

This simple yet powerful feature efficiently supports OH&S requirements, while saving FM teams time, removing the need to manually verify the trades.

Ticketing systems have no need to consider qualifications of contractors, therefore will not have this feature built in.

If using a ticketing system, ensuring compliance here means separately recording contractor accreditations, and manually checking them every time work is assigned.

Asset histories

Across many jurisdictions, there is a requirement for asset histories be recorded. In the event of an audit, these need to be easily retrieved for an auditor.

Within many ticketing systems, there’s no need to record these histories.

Once a ticket is resolved, there’s rarely a need to access it again. Typically, tickets aren’t recorded against a particular asset, which doesn’t support the auditability FM teams require for compliance.

If leveraging a ticketing system, remaining compliant would necessitate storing these asset histories in an alternative system.

In a dedicated facilities management solution, asset histories are recorded in detail against the asset. This allows users to access an asset’s entire history in just a few short clicks, which may inform important decisions with respect to that asset.

Asset management

For many businesses, asset management is a high priority. Making sure your assets are not only compliant, but performing at their best and providing a good ROI is a key consideration of FM systems.  

Key to effective facilities management is clear visibility over all assets, and their condition. While financial asset registers may have some of this information, ticketing systems do not, and even the combination of the two is often insufficient.

Without an asset register, recording conditions and performance, it is difficult to make informed strategic decisions about asset management.

Asset insights

Better data leads to better decisions, and these insights are simply not possible with a ticketing system. Being able to link a work request to a particular asset in the asset registry is critical to asset management.

These insights allow facilities teams to address questions like “how much have we spent on HVAC in the past six months”, or “what is the breakdown of expenditure on reactive, vs planned maintenance”.

Ticketing systems on the other hand, are focussed on request resolution. While they may offer some reporting capability, this is likely to be more along the lines of “jobs received vs jobs closed”.

This basic reporting is standard in most facilities management software, but it’s the reporting that dives deeper which provides additional value.

Planned maintenance

Ticketing systems exist to fulfil reactive requests. They allow users to log jobs, which are then actioned by the relevant team and closed out.

While this might somewhat align with the process for reactive maintenance, it offers no capability for planned maintenance.

To leverage a ticketing system for planned maintenance, reminders would need to be set at the chosen interval to create the ticket. This creates room for human error, and offers no reporting benefits when not recorded against a comprehensive asset register.

In facilities management software, planned maintenance can be automated. As the deadline approaches, the entire team can have visibility over upcoming work, and communications to the broader business about any interruptions can be scheduled.

This visibility and communication reduces the capacity for human error. The work can be appropriately resources and financed, without the need for setting reminders manually, and all within the one system.

The bottom line

At the end of the day, if your maintenance strategy relies solely on reactive maintenance, you could make a ticketing system work for you in the short term. However, this will do little to improve adherence to compliance requirements, and nearly nothing for efficiency.

Facilities management software has greater capability than a ticketing system out of necessity. To meet stakeholder expectations and remain compliant, your software needs to do more than handle requests.