Managing utilization and occupancy can help you optimize your inventory and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).
Physical spaces and assets are investments whose value, returns and TCO ought to be proactively assessed, maintained and optimized on an ongoing basis. I’m sure there are quite a few facility managers out there pondering over questions such as:
- What value is a workspace delivering if it has been assigned but very rarely occupied?
- What value is an empty room or workstation providing?
- Of what value is a room if it has been booked, but not being used?
- How can I get data to understand actual utilization and occupancy and deal with low utilization and/or misuse such as asset is booked or assigned but not used?
The value of physical space and shared assets are well known across all organizations, but managing them to optimal levels is either not considered or is an afterthought.
In physical asset management, a lot of focus in placed on streamlining the assignment or booking process. This has resulted in an optimized process for users or staff to assign space and assets or make a booking. Beyond that, the management of the asset is probably being performed via manual tools and spreadsheets making it very cumbersome.
Let’s breakdown the concept of space and asset management, it generally involves managing inventory, occupancy and utilization and these data points help with forecasting and predicting future demand. This ensures a match between demand and supply so that there is minimal waste. For facility managers, the value of their space and asset is understood from utilization and occupancy report and making sure that their inventory size is just optimal; not in excess or not less. When an asset is underutilized or under-occupied, it hurts the organization.
Furthermore, for optimal asset utilization, it is crucial to go back and confirm that the booked & assigned space is being used at capacity. Obtaining this data has been challenging, but now, with the advancement of sensor and IoT based technology, organizations can now obtain occupancy and utilization data in real-time. Facility managers can now leverage technology solutions to drive desired user behavior (e.g. releasing a room booking if they don’t need it), reduce operating cost, increase productivity and generally have a real-time visibility into how their space and assets are delivering value.
As the usage of sensor and IoT technologies mature, solutions for the above challenge is expected to be the norm. Utilizing sensors and IoT based solutions to consolidate data from facilities and assets and generate actionable insights will be key to achieving successful business outcomes. For instance, People Sensors can be used to detect the presence of people. This technology operates either through heat sensing, cameras or motion sensors. Some advance solutions could also be using LiDAR sensors, the technology that is found on autonomous vehicles, to detect people and objects. Another type of technology out there that detects the presence of a person or object is broadly classified as Furniture Sensors. Furniture sensors can be attached to a furniture or a desk to provide accurate and real time occupancy and utilization data.
A combination of process automation, such as a space assignment or asset booking software, combined with sensor and IoT devices, can provide accurate and real time utilization and occupancy data for facilities and assets. This information enables accurate decisions for optimizing physical space and asset inventory.
I encourage facilities and asset management professionals to reach out to me to discuss any utilization challenges they are facing, I would be happy to help! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.