Using Technology to Ensure Compliance

The property and facilities management sectors can be slow adopters of innovation, even when it offers significant benefits and is straightforward to implement. Mobile communications is just one example, where technology which is now commonplace in our private lives is largely unexploited in the buildings we occupy during our working week.

Large numbers of buildings still largely rely on traditional paper processes to manage important parts of their operation. These include proof of security patrols, asset servicing and key management, but proof of compliance is one of the areas where technology can bring the greatest benefits.

Whatever the size or nature of the organisation, the array of regulation, legislation and policy which must be complied with is becoming increasingly complex and more and more time-consuming. At the same time, the pressure on costs in today’s challenging economy is resulting in reduced facilities management budgets.

Failure to ensure proper compliance may damage reputations, have serious financial implications and can result in criminal prosecution of directors. The size of the task for property directors and building managers is increasing, and of course the regulations and controls have been put in place for good reason. Business disruption through accident or incident can be huge, employees must be protected from injury, and damage from a fire or flood can cripple an organisation’s finances. But how many directors are confident that their organisations are 100% compliant?

Non-compliance is rarely due to deliberate negligence. It is more often due to poor processes for managing the necessary checks and maintenance, unclear management responsibilities, the burden of workload, or difficulties in accessing the relevant information. Multiple suppliers providing services into a building can be another challenge, with documentation provided in hard copy or via various electronic systems only adding to the complexity. Time pressure means that compliance certificates may not be checked thoroughly or filed correctly, so there in no audit trial to prove that everything is in order.

Many business processes have been in place for many years, with small modifications along the way, but without a fundamental review of how well they meet the needs of the organisation today. A new simple but robust management process, underpinned by technology, which supports all the compliance work that needs to be carried out, can be a big step forward. MyTAG software as a solution allows all documentation to be stored in one place, and retrieved whenever it is needed, from anywhere, via the cloud. The replacement of paper based management oversight with electronic analytics, escalation and exception reporting results in a more accurate process as well timing savings, transparency and auditability. Every piece of work can be checked, whether it is carried out by a service provider or an employee and there is no paper to be misfiled or lost, and alerts automatically operate if work is overdue.

Couple this with a secure communications technology, such as the Near Field Communication (NFC) technology which your Oyster card or contactless credit card uses, together with location based tags, and you are able to prove all time and location based events. Contractor visits and the location of the work are recorded in real-time, and any wireless network dead zones are overcome with a system app. All testing and work carried out can be proven, including the date, engineer, precise location, nature and duration of the work, together with any additional work required to achieve compliance, ensuring follow up. The transparency of service information allows invoices to be easily checked and approved, helping to keep costs under control and get better value from the supply chain.

Importantly, MyTAG can be installed in a matter of hours, and is simple to use, delivering instructions to contractors and employees, and reducing the need for training. There is no impact on legacy systems and all information is available whenever you need it.

High levels of compliance will reduce risk within the workplace for directors and increase peace of mind, whilst supporting the safety of employees and other building users. Additional benefits from improved transparency, cost savings and a more efficient process that saves time mean a very quick pay-back period. It is somewhat surprising that many businesses are slow to adopt this type of technology but it is probably just a matter of time before it is commonplace. Would you be without your contactless payment credit card today?

Please call us today on +44 (0)844 371 6775 to discuss how MyTAG can help you prove compliance.

This article was originally published on the FM industry website www.i-fm.net