Save money by getting rid of the space you don’t use

By | 3 minute read | December 1, 2017

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When it comes to space in a building, there are three key types. There are spaces that make your business money, such as labs or offices. There are spaces that cost you money, like a cafeteria. But, the most egregious waste of space is that which sits unused. It is both an expense and an opportunity cost for your business. So what is the best way to optimize your facilities to keep unused space to a minimum?

The nature of facilities management

Sitting here at TRIMax this week, it’s hard not to put the topics of conversation into context. As our speakers talk about space utilization and creating buildings that understand our movements, you start to wonder how that is put into practice and what that experience is like. Imagine a workplace that understands how frequently you come into the office or where you spend most of your day.

The very nature of facilities management (FM) revolves around understanding occupancy trends and asset performance. Understanding these trends enables improved utilization of the space you have and can improve financial performance. Consider the savings for your bottom line if you could eliminate the unused space that you pay for. Rather than just estimating by walking around the building, you could have data that supports those hypotheses and eliminates the guesswork.

Understanding your space occupancy is more complex than just walking around the building. – Jennifer Wickwire, Teradyne

Facilities management is as complex as it is fun

There are four key inputs that drive the management of your workplaces and buildings. These are people, places,  processes, and technology. To align these four drivers, it is key to drive upon principles of engineering, architecture, planning, accounting, finance, management, and behavioral science. It’s no small order!

We often attack FM from three angles of responsibility: strategic, tactical and operational.

Strategic: this includes acquisition and disposal of properties, environmental considerations, long range planning and capital forecasting

Tactical: at a more granular level, this is the upkeep and maintenance of the building, space allocations, employee move management, and safety policies.

Operational: At this level, it’s all about day-to-day operations of the facilities, including utility management, emergency response, and budgeting.

For those most interested in space management, the tactical responsibilities are extremely important.

Teradyne re-invents space allocation for their buildings by tailoring the workplaces to the worker

Teradyne, a designer and manufacturer of automatic testing equipment for the semi-conductor industry, has 70 locations with 4900 employees. Headquartered in Boston, or the “center of the universe” as our speaker liked to fondly refer to it as, they were looking for a better way to optimize their spaces.

Not too long ago (1998), they were managing and analyzing space allocations straight from CAD drawings. This was both time-intensive and prone to inaccuracy.

“There was really no accountability within our allocation process.” said Jennifer Wickwire, Facilities Manager/Architect at Teradyne. “Our CAD files didn’t relate to any of our database records. There was a lot of guesswork involved.” And it was always a cumbersome and manual task.

Fast-forward to today

From a $20,000 investment in 1998 grew a much more efficient and cost-effective operation.  Each year they send out a view of allocations and managers can update their allocations online in the portal. There’s no walking around and making best guesses. They can accurately determine where their people are and how the space is being used.

Four things to consider when implementing an IWMS initiative

Through their years of experience with implementing TRIRIGA in their facilities, Teradyne had four key considerations to think about when kicking off a similar initiative.

1) Start up time: Kickstart within 3-6 months and use a beta site to get the kinks out.

2) Cost: determine based on scope of work. You will likely need to invest in services.

3) Personnel: craft a solid team with strong technical skills. Trust and mutual respect are very important!

4) Ongoing Maintenance: there is a lifetime commitment to keeping your data fresh!

Learn more and let us know what you learned at TRIMax!

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