Manage Change (So It Doesn’t Manage You)
When you manage a facility, you know that change is inevitable. You also know it can be expensive, risky, and highly stressful. None of us has a crystal ball, but there is a way to prepare for future changes and reduce the costs, risks and stress.
The key is proactive planning, whether you’re managing a university’s seasonal fluctuations, a government agency’s shifting administration, or the economic ebbs and flows of the private sector. Proactive planning means looking for ways to incorporate flexibility and new technology into today’s decisions, to meet tomorrow’s demands.
A case in point: A hospital administrator installed an expensive new lab last year, only to learn today that the lab space is being changed to a nurses station. All the expensive custom lab cabinetry has to be scrapped, and new cabinetry has to be installed – a big hit to the budget. The hospital administrator is now shopping for modular cabinetry. Modular cabinetry can be reconfigured and re-used as spatial uses change. (See an example here.) That’s proactive planning, adding flexibility that will make future changes easy and inexpensive.
Similarly, automation tools allow facilities managers to forecast changes and future needs in a way that old technology never could. When businesses ran on pencils and paper, wired telephones, and two-way radios, reactive crisis management was the norm. Today, a facility’s inventory and staffing budgets benefit from advanced RFID and AS/RS systems. Warehousing and storage needs are predicted and adjusted to keep the real estate footprint condensed. Personnel and equipment are reassigned in advance of need. Purchases are planned at optimal times. Using the Internet of Things, facilities managers monitor energy usage, systems operations, and maintenance updates to spot trends and control expenditures before a crisis ever looms on the horizon.
We can let change manage us, or we can choose to manage change. Flexible storage and modern technology are tools that let you shape change into a manageable part of your facilities management routine. Let us hear how you’re managing change.
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