This article is published in collaboration with our key partner, Basico P/S. The Facility Management (FM) area is often characterized by a highly-fragmented system landscape. An assignment is often started by a user sending an email to a dedicated email address. Or maybe the user asks a query in the company’s own Ticket Management System (TMS); a system that is often shared with other features of the company, for example, IT support. Queries must be able to be transferred to Work Orders in a Facility Management System (FMS), so the FM team can collect them and arrange for further processing. When the Work Orders are completed, information must be returned through the systems to the user. From FMS, it is often relevant to send data to the ERP-system, so purchased invoices can be created, and costs registered. If FM is powered by an external supplier, the image is further complicated. Perhaps the supplier has their own TMS, as a request must also be registered for the supplier to capture them. And the supplier must have transferred data from an FMS to his own ERP-system.
The complications are many, and typically one will consider making complicated integrations, if possible. Integrations are expensive, inflexible and bind the customer closer than desired to his FM-supplier and complicate the replacement of the whole FM task or just part of the contract. If it is too complex to make an integration, data must be manually moved. This typically happens using copy/paste and manual input. The manual process is typically time consuming, expensive and exposed to make mistakes.
“Hire” a robot
In many cases, you can solve your challenges with a complicated FM-system landscape by implementing Foxtrot RPA. A robot can bind your systems closer together and release FM resources to service the organization. Foxtrot RPA is especially useful in cases where you can solve the challenges by using repetitive manual work in the systems. It can be both internal in an FMS, but also in cases where you need to move information between source systems and FMS and beyond. Here, a robot can, for example, remove the need for an expensive and complicated integration.
Another possibility could be that the robot scans incoming emails in a dedicated FM mailbox and automatically redistribute relevant data to the right recipient. The robot can also update a relevant Excel sheet or a Work Order in FMS with data from the email. As long as data is electronic, the possibilities for efficiency improvement with Foxtrot RPA are boundless.
A robot can thus be configured to perform exactly the process that the employee would execute manually in the system. The robot can log on and off the systems, execute actions, and document the actions. The advantage with Foxtrot RPA is that you can complete tasks as long as the robot has the extra capacity- 24/7, 365 days a year. Once the robot is finished moving data from TMS to FMS, it can continue to move other data from FMS to the ERP-system.
Since you do not have to program a robot using technical code, but rather drag and drop with simple mouse clicks, the FM team can control it without being dependent on the help from the IT department. This increases the agility significantly and makes it easier to change supplier on both sub-volumes of the FM task and the entire FM task.