With almost every asset purchase comes a slew of documents such as contracts, warranties or service guides. On top of this there may be blueprints, diagrams, schematics or other documents in addition to the vendor information that needs to be kept organized. Do you know where your asset documentation is at and how it much it costs your facility to manage the paper flow? Let us paint a picture here for you.

Document Answers You Should Know

In an effort to keep this post as concise as possible the following sections/questions are designed to help you understand the costs of manual document management:

How Are Asset Documents Handled At Your Facility?

  1. How many documents are associated with each asset? For example: vendor contact information, warranty, service contract etc…
  2. How many assets share documents? For example: a warranty may cover several assets purchased at the same time like HVAC fans.
  3. How are documents accessed, how often and by whom?
  4. How many vendors do you have per type of asset (such as elevators, chillers, boilers or HVAC)? Very important to know if you have multiple facilities or duplicate assets.
  5. Do individual facilities keep their own documents or are they stored at the home office or central location?
  6. Who in your organization knows what documents you have and how to retrieve them?
  7. How long does it take to retrieve a document?
  8. When an asset document request is made, does the person requesting the document get a copy or an original?
  9. How many copies of asset documents do you make each year?
  10. How many documents can’t be found?

Asset Management Requires Accessible Documents

Whether you are in hotel facilities management or plant management you have assets of different ages. Some assets are under warranty, some have service agreements and others have been around so long the rust is the only thing holding it together (no manager jokes here – lol). In addition, a multi-property facility such as a hotel might have multiple vendors performing the same function. An example of this is a different elevator service company for each property.

Paper, paper everywhere and nowhere can the right document be found. Part of good asset management is being able to find the right information at the right time. With this in mind, there might be an opportunity for document and vendor improvement if your facility (multiple or individual facility):

  • Is unable to quickly determine the quality of vendors. This includes promptness, pricing, quality of work, terms of service and so on.
  • Cannot identify how many vendors you use. How many different elevator service companies do you use?
  • Cannot compare contracts across similar vendors to consolidate vendors and services. For example: Can elevator contracts be consolidated to one or two vendors depending on city, region or country?
  • The only copy of the service agreement is covered with coffee stains in a file cabinet and the boss is out of town when the elevator breaks down.
  • The only time you think about the contract is when you are stuck in an elevator.
How do Your Facilities Stack Up?

If you are like most facilities management, you probably don’t have an answer to many of the preceding questions. Do not worry, you are not alone. The following are some interesting statistics regarding document handling:

Interesting Paper flow Statistics

Source: Coopers & Lybrand

Source: AIIM, Forrester, Star Securities, US Department of Labor

How much money do you figure is going out the door due to poor document management?

Document Management In an EAM

It is easy to understand how paper can create bottlenecks, lost time, wasted administrative labor and drain the patience from reasonable people. The good news is there is an easier way to handle documents specifically associated with asset management. The solution is Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) software. EAM software works by creating an asset database that can:

  • Collect asset detail such as location, physical description, vendor information, barcode, age, condition and virtually any other information a facility wishes to track.
  • Allows document uploads. Any document file (PDF, WORD, XLS, JPG etc.) can be loaded and assigned to an asset or multiple assets.
  • Allows the setting of access rights for who can view the document.
  • Allows you to pull up documents using a variety of search criteria. For example: all elevator contracts or all building warranties.
  • Enable the setting of customizable summary records with facility defined fields of importance. In other words a summary record will exist showing key facts without opening the entire document.
  • Full document views are available on any PC with access rights. No more lost documents, copying or filing issues.
  • Increase centralization of vendor management and corporate wide asset/vendor decisions

Document handling with an EAM is not only a timesaver for management but can be a huge costs savings according to the paper flow statistics above. EAM document handling is just one way an EAM system can directly impact the bottom line of an organization.