Conversations with Bob: Why is it important to invest in IWMS?

Megan: Why is there a need for an IWMS system and what you provide?

Bob: It’s really an infant application. It’s not like accounting or architecture that have been around for decades or centuries. It’s only been around for about 35 years. What happens is when a company gets to about 2,000 employees, they begin to lose track of things. So their strategic planning, their acquisition, or reduction is very difficult for them to understand. What this system does is it allows you to graphically show your occupancy, your vacancy, where your division and departments are, your organizational breakdown visually on a floorplan, and it is live against a database so you can do some very good strategic reports. The beginning claim to fame is helping these companies to make these strategic decisions as they are growing or reducing at about 2,000 employees or greater. Now we have some companies that have about 60,000 employees, 30,000, 20,000, even 10,000, but 2,000 is the break.

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Friday Training Follow Up: AutoCAD – BOMA Polylining

Robert Stephen Consulting, LLC provides free 30-minute Client Training session every Friday at 10:00AM PST!  RSC prides itself in providing learning opportunities for our clients.  We feel that if our clients know the system better, we will able to work better with them to discover and implement the solutions that they need.

Last week Matt Ritzman led our Client Training on AutoCAD Basics: BOMA Polylining. Below is the outline of the training:

Polylines to BOMA Standards

Polylines are derived from lines and arcs. My favorite AutoCAD tools that help to create polylines are the following:
LINE
ARC
OSNAP
Object Snap Tracking – also TRA
PLINE
BPOLY
PEDIT
JOIN

Developing an understanding of the available tools and their quirks allows you to create your polylines much more efficiently.

BOMA Standards

BOMA = Building Office Managers Association
The purpose of BOMA standards is to assign spaces in a way that all owners and lessors can agree on the area that is being used.  BOMA is concerned about relationships between owners and renters.  This means that these standards don’t account for areas within a rented space.  That is to say, BOMA doesn’t care how you polyline a cubicle or a desk.  There are other standards that are less concerned about exact measurements that are worth knowing about:
NBSAP = National Business Space Assignment Policy from the GSA (General Services Administration)
Used by government.  This is concerned with how space is defined on a much more granular level than BOMA.   But less concerned with exact measurements of space.
FICM = Facilities Inventory and Classification Manual
Used by Education.  This is similar to the NBSAP, in that it focuses on Space.

Categories and Types

The area measuring standards allow you to be confident about the space that you occupy.
– It gives you the ability to negotiate with your renters or the landlord according to facts rather than estimations.
– It allows you to report consistently on space categories, types, uses, and standards.

If you’d like to know more about this particular training, email us at training@rsc2lc.com

We’d love to have you join us for our next on System Administration, specifically Schema Changes on Friday, January 8th.

Please register by clicking on this link and follow the instructions:

Registering is required to receive a confirmation email and a link to the training.
Our weekly client trainings are held Fridays from 10:00 AM to 10:30 AM PST.  This is an opportunity to learn more about an area of ARCHIBUS that you may not be familiar with.
We look forward to seeing you there!

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Creating an Efficient, Simple Solution in Meridian and ARCHIBUS

Many of our clients use very technical and advanced systems and software in order to make their business run seamlessly. Sometimes, those systems don’t integrate like they should, though.

One of our clients uses Meridian to store their files and log changes made. For those unfamiliar with it, I’m oversimplifying, but it’s like Dropbox on steroids. It allows a team to save documents but it also saves any changes you make to the stored documents. This client also uses ARCHIBUS for their Management AutoCAD drawings. However, the two systems didn’t play well together. That created a headache and lots of extra work on a regular basis. The day finally came, though, when our client was ready to upgrade.

 

Turning an Issue Into an Asset

Together with Hagerman and Company, our team sat down to figure out where and how the systems could be integrated. It was a team effort and everyone did a fantastic job. I have to give a special shout out to Matt Ritzman, though, because he did an absolutely fantastic job for our client!

Our team set up a test environment (it’s always best to test in a separate space so that the real thing stays live!) and provided training on ARCHIBUS. Hagerman and Company provided software and expertise on Meridian. Together, we determined several key areas where data could be shared to improve efficiency and enhance the user experience.

Creating a Better Version for Today and Leaving Room for Future Enhancements

After the integration was complete, our client was thrilled. Not only were they now able to store ARCHIBUS facilities management (FM) drawings within the Meridian vault, but they could also access those files from either system (thanks to ARCHIBUS’s Smart Client Extensions for AutoCAD). The systems also synchronized information so that everything could be looked at in real time. Oh – and for the future? We’ve got the ability to add some pretty spectacular future enhancements:
  • Drawings opened from ARCHIBUS Smart Client could automatically “Start a Change” and     initiate the checkout process – just as if they were opened in Meridian.
  • ARCHIBUS could take advantage of Meridian’s revision history to restore drawings to a previous point in time.
  • Synchronization tools will allow us to track data flow between the two systems.
  • Meridian will be able to help produce and manage documents (work orders, manufacturer recommended procedures, leases, survey documents, and more).

Simplifying Life and Work for Our Valued Clients

Yes, our client asked for our help with this upgrade process, but it really was our pleasure to help them. Not only is their whole process now a lot simpler, it’s also better to use. They’ve let us know several times how much better their customized solution works – and how grateful they are for our help!
It’s getting that kind of feedback that keeps my team motivated, overachieving, and looking for new, creative ways to problem solve.

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The 5 Reasons Your Company Needs a Painted Picture: Pt. 1 — It Communicates Your Vision

Before I attended a particular Vistage corporate seminar, I would not have imagined that “The Sound of Music” had a business application. Thankfully, Cameron Herald, CEO of Got Junk, gave a life and business changing presentation using that exact movie.

During the presentation to several hundred CEO’s, Cameron Herald asked for a volunteer who had not seen the classic film. The volunteer was then asked to describe Mr. Herald’s favorite scene from the movie. Despite some impressive acting on Mr. Herald’s part, the volunteer could not understand, nor describe, the scene. From here, we drew several business parallels.

 

Acknowledge That Others Can’t See Inside of Your Head

As we head into a business planning meeting, sometimes we
end up like the two CEO’s up on stage. You, as the lead, have a clear image of
what needs to happen or what the big picture looks like. However, when your team fails to comprehend your vision, things usually go downhill.

You may end up, as Mr. Herald did, angrily demanding, “How can you not know?!”

It is our responsibility, as leaders, to take a step back and remember that it’s our job to communicate with our teams. They cannot see inside our heads. No matter how much we wish it were so, they simply cannot see the scene playing in our mind’s eye.

Paint Your Picture Clearly

Rather than becoming frustrated or lashing out, we need to clearly describe what the big picture is – and any plans we have to implement it. We do this by illustrating in excruciating detail, exactly what our vision is, e.g., painting a picture.The picture we’re painting as CEO’s and leaders, is with words, charts, or reports, not paints and brushes. So the key then, is in the details. Don’t just say your big picture includes a lady singing. Describe how she is dressed, what she is singing about, the way in which she dances. Describe the setting, the location, the color of the surroundings, and the tone of her voice. Paint your audience a vivid, detailed picture that lets them visualize exactly what you see.

Communicate Your Vision Regularly

It is amazing to see how our team has become more driven and focused as we place an increased focus on RSC’s Painted Picture. We all have the same big picture. We all have a clearer idea of what we need to do. And, as such, we are all able to work more efficiently and effectively.

This being said our Painted Picture was not a one-time event. We spent a solid month or more painting and repainting the picture so that everyone was clear on what direction we were moving. Since that initial vision sharing process, we’ve continued to repaint the picture, effectively keeping us focused.
Taking a month or so to describe your plan may not seem efficient or effective. But I promise it is. I’m not left wondering if my team understands the vision any more. I know they see it. Their work is proof of it’s effectiveness. As with any great investment, you must take the time to do it right.


The Painted Picture method is one that we use with our clients and partners on a regular basis because it works. It gets results. And, when you’re ready, I’d love to show you, in picture perfect detail, how it can help you, too.
  This article is part 1 of  a 5 part series from our CEO & Managing Director, Bob Stephen.  In this series, Bob discusses the 5 Reasons Your Company Needs a “Painted Picture”


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Friday Training Follow Up: Reports – RSC 12 Reports

Robert Stephen Consulting, LLC provides free 30-minute Client Training session every Friday at 10:00 AM PST.  RSC prides itself in providing learning opportunities for our clients.  We feel that if our clients know the system better, we will able to work better with them to discover and implement the solutions that they need.

Last week’s topic was Reports: RSC 12 Reports.  Bob Stephen, our CEO, highlighted seven reports – the other five are in the works.  RSC has created a number of reports to help our clients manage their space and personnel at a high level.  These reports contain useful information that can be presented to Chiefs and VPs to quickly get a sense of where the current workforce is located, how much their portfolio costs, and how often moves are taking place.  These reports are available to all our clients using Web Central.

The RSC Domain

RSC has created its own domain in Web Central.
Clients can create their own domains as well.
There are two processes, the RSC Reports and RSC SQL
Automation Engine

The RSC Standard Reports

Geography drill down for several views allows the user to
use one type of report at a variety of locations.

Space Occupancy
This chart shows a variety of ways of looking at occupancy. It draws a distinction between Occupied Seats and Seated Headcount.

Division Report
This is a summary report showing the headcount of divisions at various locations. Additional detail is available to justify the totals.

Building Summary
8 summary views of building area allocations by category, type, occupancy and others.

Site Summary
Similar to the building summary applied to sites.

Churn
Number of moves completed by month, comparing employee moves and new hire moves.

Employee Scatter Chart
Thematic geography map view showing location of buildings with icons indicating the number of workers at each place.

Global Workforce Report
A dashboard showing several datapoints:
  • Number of buildings
  • Rentable area
  • Seated headcount
  • Total Cost of Ownership

Combined with drill downs that help further dissect the information

If you’d like to know more about this particular training, email us at training@rsc2lc.com

We’d love to have you join us for this week’s training on AutoCAD, specifically BOMA Polylining, this Friday, Dec. 18. Please register by clicking on this link and follow the instructions:
Registering is required to receive a confirmation email and a link to the training.
Our weekly client trainings are held Fridays from 10:00 AM to 10:30 AM PST.  This is an opportunity to learn more about an area of ARCHIBUS that you may not be familiar with.
We look forward to seeing you there!

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Thoughts? Questions? Comment below and let us know what you think! We’d love to hear your insights.

4 Reasons Asking Questions Is Better Than A Dictatorship: Pt 2 — Create Alignment

This is part 2 of a 4 part series on “4 Reasons Asking Questions Is Better 
Than A Dictatorship.”

 

I used to think that my talent for quick decision making is what made me a great leader. It may make for a great, quick decision, but it doesn’t create a unified team.

 

Creating alignment with your team is how you take any committee, group, or mix of people and turn them into an unstoppable, unified force.

 

How, then, do you get there? Well, first you have to understand the decision making process.

It Can take Up to 15 Steps to Make a Decision or Solve a Puzzle

The way that our brains are wired, it can take up to 15 or more steps to come to a logical solution or to comprehend a new complex concept. In other words, it takes time for each of us to reach a conclusion to a problem or puzzle. That’s 100% normal.
Some of us who are able to skip steps here and there. After years of talking to clients, I’ve discovered that skipping steps to reach a solution is common place for me. Often the solution seems very clear and obvious to me and feel it should be easy for others to see as well. That’s usually not the case.  Others my need more context, logic, or basic history. Providing that information is critical to leadership.
Many of us reach a conclusion or solution in our own way. When we are required to complete a task without full context we aren’t as invested in implementing it. Think about it. If the issue is weight loss and I tell you to watch what you eat and exercise, you’re not going to like me very much. You may also ignore my solutions. On the other hand, if you create your own plan you are usually 100% dedicated and absolutely nothing will be able to stop you!

Great Team Leaders Guide Others Through the Steps to the Answers

Given this fact, when a team or committee is tasked with solving an issue, each member has to have time to go through their steps to reach a conclusion. In order to effectively lead, I’ve had to transition from presenting the solution to providing more context so my team can reach a solution themselves. It requires a lot of patience, well-timed questions, and gentle nudges and it is possible!
Now that the entire team has an answer, it’s time to turn them into an unstoppable force.

Understanding and Agreeing: The Four Magic Questions

For a team of five people, you may have anywhere between 1 and 5 solutions to your problem. By utilizing the Understand and Agree method (I usually call it U&A), we’re able to whittle that down to a single, unified strategy.
And the four questions in the U&A are these:
  •    What do you understand?
  •    What do you not understand?
  •    What do you agree with?
  •    What do you disagree with?
By using those four magic questions and the 15 step process together, we reach a consensus. And, because everyone’s worked through the entire process together, we’re each committed and fully invested in both the solution and in our team.

 

As the team lead, then, it’s not my job to dictate or present the solution. It’s my job to effectively communicate with my team and my clients. Once I do that, everything else will fall into place.
 

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Article Review: IWMS is a Breakthrough Technology

This is a great article and couldn’t help but share our POV on this white-paper article entitled: IWMS from an FM Perspective: A Breakthrough Technology.  This article is particularly inspiring for us because of how true it is.  An IWMS truly is a breakthrough technology in the Facilities world.  It can do a large variety of amazing things for your company.  Contact us today to find out more!


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4 Reasons Asking Questions Is Better Than A Dictatorship: Pt. 1 — Strengthen Businesses and Relationships

This is a 4 part series on 4 Reasons Asking Questions Is Better Than A Dictatorship.  Each will be discussed at length over the next few months.

One day, a client asked me for professional assistance. I knew that it was going to take a good 2-3 hours and a web meeting to address the issue, so I asked one of my employees to take the lead and follow up.

A week later, as I was reconciling timesheets, I was shocked by what I saw. My employee had driven 90 miles one way to be on site with the client – and then spent 2 days there!

I was torn. You see, I’m a huge believer in thoroughly consulting and assisting my clients. On the other hand, this was an issue that should have been resolved in only 2-3 hours.

Asking Questions Helps You Learn

I’ve learned through reading, mentoring, and life experiences that asking questions is vital. I recently read Marilee Adams’ game-changing book, “Change Your Questions, Change Your Life,” and there are four reasons why asking questions is the route to go.

The first reason is that asking questions helps you learn. The other three reasons are fantastic and will have to be addressed another day.

To Learn and Ask Questions, You Must be Open to New Information

It’s impossible to ask a question when all you want to do is
lecture or dictate. So not only is the question important, its phrasing is also
key.

You see, in this situation, my initial reaction was to absolutely ream this individual. I wanted to ask this question: “How am I going to justify a 2 day travel expense to this client, when 2-3 hours was enough?!?”

While that is a question, it would have immediately set my employee on the defensive. I would have learned very little, if anything. And both my employee and I would have left that meeting angry.

Instead, I took a moment. And then I asked, “Hey, can you help me understand something better? I must not have understood the client’s request, because I thought a couple hour meeting was going to be enough. It took a couple of days, so what did I not undrstand?”
By framing the question this way, I was opening myself up to new information and validating my employee.

Listening is How You Strengthen Businesses and Relationships

Taking those few extra seconds to compose myself and think about rewording the question made all the difference. You see, it turns out that when my employee called this client, they’d asked him to come on site. Their problem was significantly more involved than a 2-3 hour conference call originally described to me. Those 2 days of onsite assistance was, in fact, the right call.

By entering “learner mode” and asking sincere, emotionally neutral questions, I opened myself up to understanding and communicating. Yes, it can be tough to swallow your pride and shelf your initial, emotionally-charged reaction. But those kinds of reactions hurt and destroy relationships.

Asking questions, withholding judgment, and listening, on the other hand, builds relationships – and by extension, your business.

 
It would be fantastic if it were human nature to interact like this – but it’s a learned habit and culture. As we’ve transitioned our company culture in this direction, it’s made amazing and positive changes within our company and with our clients. It’s been like a software upgrade – RSC 1.0 was running the business on my whim, RSC 2.0 incorporated learner mode, asking questions and gaining consensus as a team, and we’re excited to be releasing RSC 3.0 which will be rallying around a common cause – and to keep moving forward.

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Article Review: 7 Reasons You Need IWMS in 2015

With 2015 coming to a close, we thought we’d share some insights from this article7 Reasons for Your Business to Start Using IWMS in 2015,” posted by Scott Kay back in February.  We couldn’t agree more with what Scott had to say about the new trends this past year making the use of an IWMS a necessity, and thought you might like to know in case you didn’t get the chance to read it already.

Here is our summary of Scott Kay’s 7 Reasons to Start Using IWMS in 2015

1. Integration

IWMS systems are redifining the “I” in IWMS.  Most solutions are focused on presenting a simplified integration process.

 

2. Mobility

It’s no shocker that mobile devices, whether it be an Apple Tablet or an Android phone are exceeding laptops and desktops in internet access.  This being said, all management systems will need to have increased mobile usability.  Workers need platforms that allow for greater functionality for Smartphones and Tablets while out of office.

 

3. Internet of Things

We live in a connected world.  Just about everyone is connected to the internet just about all the time.  “Smart”  is applied to a greater range of devices as technology advances and becomes more affordable.  Cloud computing is now an important part of everyday activities in the business world.  A shift is happening toward usability of devices carried rather than traditional stationary systems.

 

4. Big Data/Analytics

All workers operating with facts and numbers increasingly rely on deep insight.  Not only must you have the latest numbers, but you need a greater understanding of what those number mean and how they can work for your company.

 

5. Data Standards

The transaction of data between systems must go as smoothly as possible.  This is where IWMS comes in.  A good quality IWMS (like ARCHIBUS) can help different sections of a company work together in harmony.

 

6. Capital Planning

A feature that targets government, healthcare, and higher education bodies that operate their own buildings.  The essential desire is the ability to identify the most important projects and ensure their priority with funding.  Adding capital planning as a key feature will help immensely.

 

7. 360 Degrees of Customer Experience

Businesses need to understand their customer’s behavior, how to assist the customer in all situations, and ensure the best customer service experience.  Guiding the customer is incredibly important and an effective IWMS platform must be capable of providing data about the customer’s past actions, current needs, and create future projections.

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