Hard & Soft Facility Services

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Position Your Facility to Support the Success of Your Business

Published On 07/12/2018 To White Papers

Integrated Facility Management (IFM) includes multiple disciplines that together ensure the functionality of the built environment by integrating people, place, process, and technology.

There’s no getting around it—every facility needs a proper integrated facility management program to guide, direct, and keep it functioning properly and to extend the life of its functional components.

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Asset Types

When it comes to creating that program, the initial goal step is to understand your facilities’ asset types and what combinations of hard and soft facility services are needed for each:

 

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Office

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R&D

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Data Center

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Manufacturing Plant

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Distribution Center

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Transportation Hub

Each asset type will require a different blend of hard and soft facility management services. The question is, how well do you integrate those services to align best with the business’ strategic growth goals and capital budgeting needs?

Further, an ideal facility services partner might be one that can provide a combination of hard and soft facility services, while self-performing the bulk of those services for economies of scale, data capture, KPI tracking and process improvement.

Over the years, the lines between hard and soft services have become blurred and loose interpretations have caused a crossover of what services are needed, where and how often. This can cause confusion in your buying decision.

For example: your building has a production machine that needs servicing, but it is also is attached to the main plumbing system that also requires attention.

Or, you’re dealing with a large amount of energy waste each year and don’t quite have a handle on how to build an energy savings program that uses motion sensors for lights and automated temperature controls, as well as a recycling program.

Both of these scenarios demonstrate the need to effectively integrate facilities management’s two service categories to address the multiple needs of the building and its occupants.

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Working Together to Improve the Occupant Experience

When integrated effectively, hard and soft facility services protect and extend the value of the physical assets, support the organization’s growth and strategic goals and provide a healthy and safe workplace.

Soft facility services are typically more occupant-facing, while hard facility services operate more behind the scenes. But both impact building occupants and both are critical to effective building operations.

To operate in a cost-effective manner:

  • Hard and soft services must be integrated
  • They must focus on safe, reliable, and comfortable operations
  • They need to blend how the building is run so that it complements the business and the personal needs of the occupants.

Both hard and soft facilities management provide analytics via a robust computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) that gives business leaders the visibility they need to make data driven decisions about their facilities.

No matter which blend fits your facilities‘ needs, deploying a scalable solution that can flex based on your changing business should be part of the equation.

Hard Facility Services

When it comes to hard facility services, there are three core concepts: reactive, preventive and predictive.

Reactive

Fixing a piece of equipment because it’s broken seems like a simple and intuitive reaction. That is why reactive maintenance tends to be a highly common form of maintenance, for individuals and businesses.

Reactive means short-term and encompasses several different service areas including the following:

  • Maintenance on doors, lifts, stairwells and other areas that support traffic.
  • Power including outages, shortages, and trips that directly impact the building.
  • HVAC repairs including heating, ventilation, air conditioning as well as refrigeration and drainage systems.
  • Plumbing clogs, poor drainage or leaks from pipes or machinery
  • Phones, computers, internet and other resources are all supported through hard FM.
  • Everything that has to do with the digital aspects of your business or would be classified as IT and be serviced. This includes computers, phones, the internet and other communication devices.

For reactive maintenance situations, response times must be clearly defined. Down time of critical equipment will require rapid response, while small projects like a workstation reconfiguration will require more planning.

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Preventive

Performing preventive maintenance helps you avoid unexpected breakdowns and the costs that would be associated with the machine’s downtime and lack of production.

Preventive focuses on long-term management and is geared toward preserving key features of a facility. It typically revolves around:

  • Testing and visual inspections of the property including electrical panels, sockets, and boards.
  • Detection, suppression, and protection from fires, faulty sprinklers and ensuring alarm systems are properly maintained.
  • Support in areas where there is a high likelihood of falls or injury.
  • Monitoring all HVAC, drainage, and refrigeration components.
Preventive maintenance is performed at regular intervals and generally based on the length of operation time or amount of usage.

Predictive

Today, it is possible for more operations to perform predictive maintenance due to advances in technology that allow you to connect your assets to your CMMS and collect data on a continuous basis.

Predictive maintenance uses a process that directly monitors the asset’s performance during normal operation and establishes maintenance criteria based on predicted failures.

Maintenance routines defined in the CMMS system, sensor technologies, and testing (like infrared scans for electrical panels and oil testing) enable predictive maintenance. The collected information allows facility teams to carefully plan repairs to minimize downtime costs effectively.

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Create the Right Balance for Your Facility

Balancing reactive, preventive and predictive maintenance strategies is key.

Too much reactive maintenance puts building operations at risk; too much preventive maintenance is costly and may impact equipment run time and occupant comfort.

Predictive maintenance is a superior maintenance strategy, especially for large-scale, business-critical assets. But predictive maintenance requires an investment in time to establish the equipment’s condition and may require repair costs to bring equipment up to an acceptable operating level.

An effective balance based on your business’ usage can help you create clear goals around safety, up-time, occupant satisfaction and costs.

Soft Facility Services

Soft facility services are a must for a building to run efficiently and include:

  • Custodial services to ensure building cleanliness and high-touch disinfection.
  • Reception areas where meals and events are held as well as food services.
  • Site services for micro-kitchens, consisting of restocking of paper products including cups and plates.
  • Mailrooms and all package management processes including shipping and receiving.
  • Health, safety, and environmental plans, including waste disposal services and recycling programs.
  • Culinary staffing for kitchens and cafeterias.
With the effects of COVID-19 causing the need to increase cleaning and disinfection within facilities, you’ll need a customizable and dynamic process that flexes with your business needs.
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Discover What You Need with a Facilities Assessment

When it comes to creating a facility management plan for your facilities, you determine where it resides on the facility management spectrum. Where are the challenges in your facility? What options are available and what solutions will fit your needs best? The best way to get an overview of your facility’s current state is by completing a Facility Needs Assessment.

To start, you’ll need to consider all aspects of the business and look at which maintenance processes already exist:

  • Are the processes sufficient and efficient or can they be improved upon?
  • What issues have caught you off guard over the past year, or where can you reduce the cost of breakdowns or maintenance?
  • What data is available in your CMMS, is it regularly updated, and does it provide you with a good snapshot of your facility in real time?

You should think about the nature of the business, the flow of personnel, and how difficult it may be to obtain certain parts, as different spaces will have distinctive service needs. You should also think about the future of the facility, if additional space is needed, increased security, or if sustainability initiatives are on the horizon.

If you’d like to review your facilities assessment with a facilities expert, you can contact Flagship for help.

Summary

Building solutions have become far more tailored and customized than they were in years past. Gone are the days of a one-size serves all philosophy that allowed providers to come in and layer a solution into an environment—even though there was no fit.

This off-the-shelf approach has been replaced by one where providers are more focused on strategic integration that adds recognizable value and develops client-service provider partnerships; not just a vendor performing tasks.

Managing your facility properly is important; to do so you must understand how to effectively integrate hard and soft services to achieve the company’s business objectives.

For more than 35 years Flagship has been providing superior and trusted integrated facilities management and commercial cleaning, disinfection and janitorial services.

Since every facility has different needs, you need a partner that can understand what you need, deliver on their promises and be flexible when your needs change.

Many businesses closed their facilities during portions of COVID-19. Make sure you reopen responsibly for the safety and well-being of your occupants.

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