In general, we all crave stability. Change is as unwelcome in our work life as it is in our personal life. But change is inevitable. No one knows this better than facilities managers who deal with constant change.
Whether you’re managing the seasonal changes at a university, the administrative changes within a government agency, or the ups and downs of the business world, proactive planning will always ease the discomfort of change. Consider the plight of a hospital administrator who spent six figures on a lab just last year, and today has to scrap all the expensive built-in cabinetry because the lab’s function has changed. That big budget hit would have been softened by proactively purchasing modular cabinetry last year. Much of the millwork could have been reconfigured and re-used. Instead of dealing with a budget crisis, there’s a smooth and inexpensive transition to the new lab.
Reactive crisis management was the standard in the old days when we had nothing but pencil-and-paper records, supplemented by two-way radios and wired telephones. In the networked e-world of the 21st century, automation tools allow you to be proactive in ways you never could before. Climate control, access, and maintenance updates can all be monitored, and usage can be planned in advance to give you control over expenditures.
Similarly, RFID and AS/RS systems give you control over your inventory and your staff resources. Automation reduces your head count, and lets you plan purchases at optimal times in advance of shortages. Imagine a scenario in which your automated inventory system reports that you have a 7-day supply of a critical part which is shipped by truck. You re-order the part, knowing you’ll receive it in 3 days. The day after you order it, a major order causes a ramp-up in production. You would have been caught short if you had relied on an inaccurate time-consuming manual inventory. Your proactive re-order keeps your operation running smoothly, thanks to automation.
We can let change manage us, or we can make the choice to manage change. Use automation and adaptive furnishings to become proactive, and manage your facility’s changes to your advantage.
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