The unforeseen magnitude of the COVID-19 crisis pushed healthcare institutions across the globe to their limits. While frontline workers were seen struggling to keep up with the patient surge, facility managers (FM) witnessed the failure of their decades-long approach to managing, maintaining, and incepting assets to deliver safer, healthier, and more compliant facilities.
FM teams have traditionally relied on manual processes to maintain and inspect their assets due to the lack of sophisticated software. The tools that are generally available are like databases requiring FM teams to manually input asset data on a timely basis. Needless to say, they are in no way user-friendly. This puts significant strain on technicians and managers during inspection or audits, impelling them to extract that information, create reports manually, or file paperwork for the joint commission or other regulatory bodies. The lack of data accuracy and accessibility alongside the cumbersome nature of this manually-driven process took a toll on healthcare facilities across the board with the advent of COVID-19. As budgets were repurposed to more PPEs, hand sanitizers, among other things, FM teams were expected to do more with less—which, given the circumstances, was easier said than done.
“Our leading facility management software improves the way people manage and interact with the buildings they occupy. We aim to change this by breaking down information silos and providing people quick access to facility data in a way that makes their FM processes more efficient,” says Mitchell Comstock, Product Marketing Manager, AkitaBox. “With real-time data on assets’ condition, FM teams can identify risks and prioritize ways that won’t lead to a breakdown for a potentially catastrophic event. This is also beneficial from the compliance standpoint, as easy access to data can help them create reports for inspections and audits.”
AkitaBox was founded in 2015 to offer a new approach to managing facilities of the 21st century. The company took its roots in the construction industry and is currently a facility management software provider that supplies accurate data management tools and implementation services to over 250 million square feet of educational, commercial, healthcare, and governmental organizations in the U.S.
Built to revolutionize how FM teams manage assets, AkitaBox helps clients with processes ranging from location-based asset mapping and maintenance management, to facility compliance and capital budgeting.
A typical engagement at AklitaBox begins with a turn-key implementation process where they come onsite to verify clients’ floor plans and update those into the Akitabox system or, as they like to call it, the PlanView™. “Leveraging our direct integration capabilities with AutoDesk Revit®, we provide clients with new, accurate floor plans in a BIM file format,” says Comstock. “During the data collection, our teams locate and document a standard list of assets.” QR codes get placed on major assets that can be scanned for rapid access to asset information in the field. The experts at AkitaBox also take photos of the assets for clear identification amongst the client’s teams, in addition to entering the name, manufacturer, model, and serial numbers. Clients can customize the data fields within their assets to track and manage any data. Important documents such as O&M Manuals and warranty information can be uploaded and connected directly to an asset. Once AkitaBox is completely implemented, clients have the power to add as many new pins and pin types. They can add new assets directly to their floor plan with a single click through PlanView. If at any point clients find it necessary to move an asset to better represent its position in the room, they can just click “move.” This new location will be updated for all to see.
Our leading facility management software improves the way people manage and interact with the buildings they maintain
They can also view recent activity of the asset and work orders associated with it in ListView—which allows entities to add internal notes, new work orders and take other necessary actions. “AkitaBox was built as a reservoir of information that allows better decision making with increased speed and accuracy,” says Comstock.
To add more value, AkitaBox comes with two additional applications—Capital Management and Inspections. The Capital Management software features a powerhouse of the asset life cycle, condition, and risk data to more accurately project capital needs and reduce risk. It is reshaping how organizations determine capital budget needs with two major focuses. The first one is the reporting dashboard. Beginning with the state of clients’ assets, the condition of their buildings, to suggested up-coming capital action and estimated renewal costs—this software does it all. Based on the current condition and severity of asset failure, a risk data point is created. As such, clients can easily prioritize the highest risk projects while deferring those for assets still in good condition.
While most organizations rely on industry averages and estimations, the dashboard in AkitaBox Capital Management is based on real-time data showing the condition of your buildings right now. As technicians complete work orders in their daily work, they have the ability to record assets condition for the field. These additional data points provide a current picture of these assets within the facilities, allowing teams to anticipate breakdowns before they happen and not overspend on capital improvements that are unnecessary.
“In a nutshell, it keeps finance, capital planners, and facility teams on the same page to ensure that the right amount of dollars are flowing where they’re needed most,” says Comstock.
In one instance, a large hospital system located in Madison, Wisconsin, partnered with AkitaBox in 2016 to help improve their Joint Commission compliance processes and inspections forfire extinguishers across their main hospital building. The client struggled to find the time to update floor plans and record critical asset data. The company sent a team of data coordinators to walk on each floor of the facility and map fire assets against the floor plan. The AkitaBox team expedited the data collection process to minimize the interruption of the facility’s daily operations. The data was then put through a standardization process so that it could be easily imported into AkitaBox software.
By using the data within AkitaBox, each fire safety asset recorded onsite was pinned on a digital, location-based floor plan which technicians can access for their tablets while completing rounds. This allowed facility teams to establish routes for each asset that needs to be inspected. After this, a dedicated customer success manager from AkitaBox worked diligently with the maintenance and trades staff from the client company to make sure they felt confident using the solution as part of their daily routine. The goal of the training was to enable each department to access, update, record, and share asset information across teams. Throughout the implementation process, the AkitaBox customer success manager held regular feedback sessions with stakeholders to measure the efficacy of the program. This feedback was then taken back to the product team at AkitaBox to drive performance enhancements and improvements to the software. The fire safety program proved successful for inspections within the hospital facility. With accurate data and a visual software to support inspection routes, the hospital system was able to reduce daily inspection time from 4-6 hours to 2, resulting in a $250,000 annual savings from the gained effeciency. Building off this succes, the client has expanded the scope of the partnership to a number of surrounding clinics and additional Joint Commission standards.
Backed by the prowess of many such successful implementations, AkitaBox envisions growing at a steady pace and enhancing its offerings along the way. “We want to make our products more robust by improving its capabilities and even integrating it with other tools in the FM space. We want to build out our capital management and inception tool as they play a pivotal role in the healthcare sector. Going forward, we want to dive deeper into this space helping healthcare institutions provide patients with cleaner, safer, and compliant facilities for treatment,” concludes Comstock.
Description The company offers a facility management software that simplifies facility management by giving a single location for all of building plans, assets, maintenance records and work orders. It improves the way people manage and interact with the buildings they occupy by breaking down information silos and providing people quick access to facility data in a way that makes their FM processes more efficient. Built to revolutionize how FM teams manage assets, AkitaBox helps clients with processes ranging from location-based asset mapping and maintenance management, to facility compliance and capital budgeting
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