How to Better Your Reporting

This is not the first time we’ve shared an article on reporting.  Quality reporting may be one of the most important things a Facilities Department can do!  The facilities management industry rapidly prioritizes data collection, management, and storage, and, because of this, reports must be accurate.

High quality, efficient reporting is vital for your company to grow, and IWMS’s play an integral role in reporting success.  An IWMS helps promote data accuracy, increase productivity, reduce cost, and effortlessly share information throughout a company.  Users can see what changes need to be made and more strategically plan for the future, making a direct impact on the bottom line. So, here are a few tips we have for better reporting:

Determine What to Track

The first step in successful reporting is to determining what to track.  Make a list of resources to manage, and make relationships between those resources.  For example:

  • What resources are you managing?
    • Costs
    • People
    • Space
    • Time
  • What does your boss need to know?
    • Cost per Area
    • Headcount changes over Time
    • Occupancy vs. Capacity
  • What are you trying to show with the data?
  • What point are you trying to make?

Once you have this information, you can create an idealized report.  An effective idealized report will direct strategic decisions that effect the bottom line.

Creating an Idealized Report

There is no standard list of what to track.  The information that matters most will vary from one company to another, thus the need for idealized reports. For example, tracking furniture won’t make sense for a publicly
traded corporation that considers the furniture depreciated the moment it is purchased, but tracking furniture does make sense for a company that is owned by a single private owner because of how taxes are assessed. Perhaps tracking employee locations through audits is useful as it will indicate how much capacity is available and how much is needed, unless 
your company tracks moves.  Tracking moves allows you to track churn rate, which indicates expansion and contractions.

IWMS and Excel Can Work Together

Excel is a great tool for developing an idealized report.  It is fluid and easy to work with, allowing users to quickly create a report that gets the point across.  Often it is used as a central reporting tool before moving to IWMS. We often get the question, “Can I export this to Excel?” This question has significantly more depth than just a “yes” or “no” answer.  If a facilities  manager is asking this question, it can indicate one or all of the following scenarios:

  1. A need for a report that is generated frequently.
  2. That the information provided from ARCHIBUS needs to be filtered or enhanced in some way.
  3. That the person asking the question has a strong grasp of the abilities of Excel, but may not understand the capacity of ARCHIBUS as a reporting tool.

That being said, don’t let your team spend too much time and energy manuallly creating reports in excel. Monthly reports should come directly from an IWMS.  Using an IWMS for reporting will keep all reports up to date and reduce processing time. When determining whether to transition to an IWMS, consider the total cost of a report:

  • How long does it take your team to produce this
    report? 
    • X #of hours
  • How often does your team produce this report?
    • Y frequency
  • How much is your team paid per hour?
    • Z cost/hour
  • X*Y*Z = cost of the report

An IWMS application, like ARCHIBUS, will generate the reports in a fraction of the time.  You will see the ROI in the long run by creating an ARCHIBUS report up-front. But, if you or your team want a specific excel report automated in ARCHIBUS, it can easily be created. Over time you will save money if the report can be created for less than the total cost of developing the report by hand.

In following these foundational guidelines, you can have greater success in your reporting.  By planning out your idealized report, you can ensure you and your team are tracking the right information and communicating correct statistics to help reduce overall cost.


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