Posts Tagged ‘Facility Management’



“So, what is it that you do?”

Ever been asked that about yourself or your organization? Us too.  I am constantly asked WHAT it is that our company does…and usually I regurgitate an elevator speech or fumble through a diatribe that puts the questioner to sleep. As inquisitive humans, we are constantly seeking to understand WHAT people, companies, churches, etc. do.

While that may be an important part of evaluating your need to engage with a service provider, organization or person, it should be the byproduct of a much more significant question. The “what” should be the expression of something much more significant and deeply rooted in the hearts and passion of those to whom the question is asked. There is a much more telling question that should be asked…


Why do you do what you do?

When consulting with our church clients, we strive to understand this question.  We spend a significant amount of time and energy with our clients to explore this.  And for them to just answer, “Because we love people and love God.”  is not a sufficient answer. If that is your answer to WHY, then congratulations, you are a church…period.  But WHY are you a church and WHY do you do things the way you do?  That is where the rubber meets the road.

In his book, “Start With Why”, Simon Sinek makes a very compelling argument as to WHY must be the starting point for any organization. He says, “WHY: Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. When I say WHY, I don’t mean to make money – that’s a result. By WHY I mean what is your purpose, cause or belief? WHY does your company exist? WHY do get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care?”

That really challenged me.

He went on to use Apple as an example.  He tells the story about how Apple and Creative Technology LTD both developed mp3 players.  In fact, Apple did not invent the mp3 player or the technology that would ultimately become the iPod…Creative did.  But there was a major difference as to how they told their story to the general public…which is tethered to their WHY.  Creative touted that it had a “5GB mp3 player.”  Think about that…in the late 1990’s or early 2000’s, how many of us had the foggiest idea what “5GB” even meant. Creative made electronic gadgets…that is the WHAT that drove them.  Conversely, Apple made the appeal that they would provide you with “1000 songs in your pocket.” Do you see the difference?  Which is more compelling to you?

As with Apple, when communicating from the inside out, the WHY is offered as the reason to buy and the WHATs serve as the tangible proof of that belief. Apple’s development of the iPod…and so much more since…was driven by their desire to challenge the status quo.  To think differently.  They happen to make products that a beautiful and user-friendly…but that is the WHAT. WHAT organizations do are external factors, but WHY they do it is something deeper.

So…WHY does Cool Solutions Group and eSPACE do what we do?  Many of you know what we do, but how many of you know WHY we do it? Not many I am sure. Some of you think of us as a church facility consulting, planning and project management firm.  Many consider us to be a software company while others think of us as Facility Management professionals.  But WHY…here is our WHY:

WHY = To assist organizations be effective, efficient and intentional with the facilities they have been entrusted to steward.

That is what drives us and gets us out of bed. That is the under girding of everything we do. Period.

Now, WHAT is it that we do?  We accomplish our WHY with the following WHATs:

  1. Intentional Workshops – These are intensive engagements to drill down into the vision, mission and DNA related to WHY they do WHAT they do and HOW they do it…then explore their physical facility needs and develop plans to assist them structure their facilities to serve as the TOOL needed to fulfill the vision.
  2. Facility Assessment – This consists of several facets related to life cycle planning, “Fresh Eyes” Assessments, Facility Management reviews and overall campus condition and efficiency.
  3. Project Facilitation – This is a process by which we partner with a church to serve as their “Owner’s Rep”/Project Manager during the pre-construction and construction phases of a facility expansion, renovation or building project.
  4. eSPACE – We offer “best in class” software solutions to help any organization with facilities be more effective and efficient.  These include:

So now you know the WHY and the WHAT.  Let us know how we can assist you be efficient, effective and intentional!

Facility Stewardship Binder - Small


Buckle Up for 2016 – WOW!







2015 was an incredible year for the development team at eSPACE.  The new set of features and product roll outs have been remarkable. Here are just a few of the enhancements that were rolled out in 2015:

eSPACE – Event Scheduler

  1. Added Event History – now you can see who, what and when events were modified
  2. Ability to Copy an Event – this saves so much time from having to re-enter data for a new event
  3. Ability to create Continuous Events (Multi-day events) that may span over several days
  4. New Calendar Filters to quickly filter by Room/Space, Category and/or Status
  5. Ability to color-code Categories – LOVE THIS ONE!!!!
  6. Added Locations which allows the ability to separate events and calendars at different physical locations
  7. Ability to list daily events in a RSS Feed (atom) for digital signage purposes – no more double entry!!!

eSPACE – Work Order Management

What can we say…this is ALL NEW!!! This replaces our previous application (facilitEspace) with a brand new look, feel, speed, features, functionality and single login capability if you use both applications.  If you have a facility and are intentional about its care and management, you have to check this out!


We have simplified the way of connecting our Event Scheduler with your HVAC systems. While there are a number of ways we have done this, we have refined the ability for organizations with a JACE as part of their controls package to add our JACE Driver with little to no additional hardware required. Now that is simple!

While our team enjoys looking back at 2015 and the great new features, the 2016 development list is even more exciting…check these out:

eSPACE – Event Scheduler

  1. Resource Tracking – Ever set-up an event and want to know how many tables are still available to reserve?  Us too! Now you can. This has just been released!!!EventBrite
  2. Event Registration – Integration with Eventbrite. Why recreate the wheel when you can partner with the best application on the market!  This will be released this month!!!
  3. Easy Data IMPORT – If you use another calendar, like Event U or others, there will be a very simple means by which to import your data to eSPACE. Call to see if your application is included.
  4. Public Calendar Enhancements with advanced embed options and customization
  5. Event Costs & Invoicing – Create cost codes, associate costs to room/event rentals and generate invoicing
  6. Disable Conflicts at “Item” Level and not just at the Event Level
  7. Customization of Dashboard Views – Set your personal dashboard to only show what you want to see
  8. Ability to add Offsite & Private Events
  9. Ability to Block Out Dates/Times for facility closures (i.e. Holidays, conferences, special cleaning or repairs)
  10. Set Custom Dates for recurring events
  11. Add Multiple Categories so that an event can be associated with more than one category
  12. Enhanced Reports – More to come on this

eSPACE – Work Order Management

  1. New Web-portal for general access – allow people to create a Work Request even without a login
  2. Ability to Add Images to Equipment
  3. Ability to Retire Equipment
  4. Customization of Dashboard Views – Set your personal dashboard to only show what you want to see.  And…if you use both applications, set which one is your default view at login!
  5. Add Accounting Component to track costs of work performed
  6. Enhance System Alerts associated with past due or soon to be due work
  7. Calendar View of Preventive Maintenance items, similar to the one currently in the application for the Work Orders


  1. Integration with Other Event/Room Scheduling Applications – Currently, COOL SPACE only integrates with the eSPACE Event Scheduler.  However, we are in test mode with other applications to provide a means by which this incredible tool can be interfaced with other applications. Contact us for more details.
  2. Integration with other Hardware Applications – We realize that not all facilities have a JACE, so we are exploring the possibility of interfacing with other hardware applications. This is a work-in-progress, so we would welcome your input.

As I am sure you will agree, these are exciting features.  If you have a facility that you schedule, maintain, manage or pay the utility bills, you need to check out these great tools!


Plan 4 It: The 4 Essential Master Plans for Every Church

Plan 4 It CoverI am excited to announce the release of my latest book, published by Rainer Publishing – PLAN 4 IT: The 4 Essential Master Plans for Every Church.

I can hear you now…“He has lost his mind!!! Why would a church need 4 master plans?  We had a tough enough time just getting one completed.”

I assure you, I have never been more coherent and clear thinking than I am about this topic and the essential…may I say mandatory…need for 4 master plans. Let me explain.

First, we must define “master plan”. Here is what I believe is the best and most concise definition: a vision of the future, beginning with today’s realities. That may sound overly simplistic, but that is the true essence of what a (any) master plan really is. Did you noticed that is did not say anything about a piece of property or buildings or parking lots or any other physical attribute?

Do you remember this interchange between Alice and the Cheshire Cat in “Alice In Wonderland”:

“Would you tell me which way I ought to go from here?” asked Alice. “That depends a good deal on where you want to get,” said the Cat.

“I really don’t care where,” replied Alice.

“Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

Not having a “vision of the future” will leave you in the same predicament as Alice…no direction…no clear reason why you are going anywhere…just going somewhere because you can. That is why this “facility guy” is emphatic that master planning is a 4 pronged process and that NONE of them can be eliminated…at least not if you intend to have a successful process.

Here are the 4 essential master plans:

  1. Ministry Master Plan
  2. Financial Master Plan
  3. Facility Master Plan
  4. Sustaining Master Plan

I will not spoil your reading of the book, but let me give you a very brief explanation of each:

MINISTRY MASTER PLAN: This is the first, and most crucial, part of the master planning process: the exploration and discovery of philosophies, concepts, stories, and cultural context through intentional research. We have to start from the inside out. It is the plan that helps identify the who (we are), the why (we do what we do) and the how (we do ministry).

To skip over this process of ministry master planning is like getting the GO TO JAIL card playing Monopoly. You do not pass go; you do not collect $200. This step is the foundation of the rest of the processes. Avoiding the Ministry Master Plan will leave the other three plans on unstable ground.

FINANCIAL MASTER PLAN: Once you have developed your ministry master plan, you need to determine the financial feasibility of the short-term initiatives and long-term vision. What is needed to fulfill the ministry master plan from a payroll perspective? How will it impact the budget? Is the ministry master plan financially sustainable? Are facilities required to meet the plan? If so, given our financial status, what can the church afford?

The tendency is to go straight to the physical facility planning after the Ministry Master Plan is completed, but this second step is critically important. Without the perspective of the Financial Master Plan, your facility master plan could be dead in the water. While dreaming big and having a God-sized plan are important, financial prudence is also a biblical part of this process. If you only give stewardship lip service, then you will have plans and pretty pictures that never become reality

FACILITY MASTER PLAN: This is generally the phase that people immediate jump to when thinking about master planning…but it can not be elevated to the first or second step in the process.  There is ample time to develop pretty pictures, floor plans, site plans and 3D video.  Plan 4 It has an extensive section dedicated to this phase of the master plan, so I will not elaborate further.

SUSTAINING MASTER PLAN: The fourth master plan is one that most churches fail to consider, even though it is the most costly stage in the life cycle of any facility. In most circles, the term “life cycle” is related to the longevity or life expectancy of a physical element, such as our ministry facilities. It is also used in referring to processes, systems, and research.

While I believe that understanding and developing proactive initiatives is a critical component of the master planning process, we may be better served to think of a term that is more encompassing than simply a life cycle. The word sustaining is a better word to describe the real need and meaning of the fourth master plan. Let’s look at how the dictionary describes both terms:

Life Cycle: a series of stages through which something (as an individual, culture, or manufactured product) passes during its lifetime

Sustaining: to provide what is needed for something or someone to exist and to continue to exist.

The above definition of life cycle would imply a specific duration or “lifetime.” Something that has a prescribed time frame for its existence and function. Sustaining, on the other hand, carries the meaning of continuance, without an end in mind. I believe that for our discussion, both concepts are needed and, in fact, mandatory. We must have a plan to sustain our ministries, finances and facilities. The Sustaining Master Plan actually under-girds the 3 prior master plans.

That is just a highlight of the content of Plan 4 It…so get your copy and be a planning superstar for your church and PLAN 4 IT.

Plan 4 It Cover







Who Is “They”?

Who is They

Happy New Year!  2015 was an exciting year that saw great growth and expansion for Cool Solutions Group and eSPACE…more on that at another time…THANK YOU for your support.

There was a reality that struck me in 2015 that was not new to me, but was renewed in my mind that I want to share. This concept may be heightened by the 2016 presidential debates or by some of the other finger pointing and “buck passing” I have seen this year. Here is a question I need your help to answer:

Who is “they?”

If only THEY would help the poor.

Why don’t THEY change health care?

If THEY had planned better, this would not have happened.

If THEY had thought through this design, we would have what we wanted.

If THEY made more cold calls we would have more sales.

I wish THEY offered a better program for us to get involved.

If THEY had kept better records we would not have these issues.

I am sure you all have heard these phrases…and likely have uttered them as well.  I know I have.  Guilty as charged! I am also pretty sure you have heard preachers, leadership gurus, motivational speakers and the like remind you who THEY are.  But how quickly we fall back into the THEY trap.

Here is the reality…THEY is US.

US = me and you! How different these phrases would be when we take ownership –

 I/WE will help the poor and those in need.

 I/WE will help change health care by being a change agent/advocate.

I/WE will plan better so we do not have difficulties like in the past.

I/WE will think through the design better so we get what we want.

I/WE will make more cold calls to produce more sales.

I/WE will offer a better program for people to get involved and utilize.

I/WE will keep better records to avoid these issues.

This seemingly small change of a couple 1 to 4 letter words (I, we and will) can have a profound impact on our lives and those around us personally, professionally and organizationally.  But in order to make this change you will have to be INTENTIONAL and be willing to accept responsibility…then take action.

I hope and pray that 2016 will be the year of I/WE and not “they” for all of us.

I/WE will do this!

Facility Stewardship Binder - Small

Keeping Track: Why You Need Facility Management Software, Part 4

historical-data1For those of you still tracking with me…this is PART 4 of a 5 part series about the benefits of using Facility Management Software for work order tracking, work request processing, equipment cataloging and so much more.

If you have not been tracking with us (and we know who you are), then you can see the first three posts on our BLOG page.

Last time we left off looking at some of the salient reasons to use a web based facility management software package…I will not review them all as it would take too long…so let’s jump in to the last few…ready?

1. Historical Data: “If you don’t know what you’ve done, how can you know what you need to do”?  Does that resonate with you? I recall a physical fitness trainer hammering that so that we could look back on our progress as well as keeping on track of what the upcoming workouts should entail. That same applies to our building management and maintenance.  If you are not tracking what you have done…then how do you know what needs to be done in the future?  If you are not tracking when a HVAC unit was last serviced, how will you know when it needs to be done the next time? Having a data base that lists your equipment and the historical data will give you great insight on the condition of the equipment and the steps that may need to be taken in the future.  This kind of tracking is not just to have data of the past, but to help plan for the future. Be Intentional!

2. Asset data base: Do you know the make, model, serial number and filter size of each piece of equipment at your facility?  Do you know what kind of light bulbs you have and how many fixtures in the facility use that type bulb?  Stop for a second…tell me the size water heaters you have as well as the make and model number…can you do that?  How many exit signs do you have…and what kind of bulbs do they utilize?  Now, I would not expect you to know all of this off the top of your head…but could you, with a few clicks, get to this data?  Is it written on a legal pad or tucked away in the corner of your mind (we addressed the potential issues with these applications in the prior posts). These are tough questions that need to be asked and answered.

3. Warranty tracking: Have you ever paid for a service call to later find out that the item was under warranty?  How did that make you feel?  Were you able to get a full refund?  I have witnessed, far too often, when an organization gets work done because something is not functioning correctly without much consideration as to the warranty that may still be active.  This is a waste of dollars and it frankly frustrates me. I have a client right now that had been calling image_-_money_in_toiletsubcontractors to get work done…and in some cases paying directly for said work…that was the responsibility of the general contractor that built the space.  This was not the contractors fault,  but rather the facility owner did not have a system in place to know what items were still under warranty.  There was money spent that did not need to be and time that was invested to chase these things down that was completely lost (how do you put a price on that?).  Knowing what the warranty is for your major components can save you a great deal of money…short term and long term.

So…this wraps up the “why” portion of our discussion. Next time, in our last segment, we will  look at the features that you should consider when evaluating different solutions…and yes…I suggest you do your due diligence to find the RIGHT solution for your facility. There are several good applications on the market. Do your research…and take advantage of Free Web Demos…they can be invaluable.



Avoid the “Hit by a Truck” Scenario: Why You Need Facility Management Software, Part 3

Hit by a truck

Welcome to Part 3 of our series on Why You Need Facility Management Software.  You can see the first 2 segments on our BLOG page

In summary, we have established common language for this discussion and explored the first 2 most obvious reasons for using facility management software. (Be intentional and Central Data Base/Repository).

Now, let’s expand that list and look at a number of other factors in making the right decision for your organization:

1. Hit by a truck: What would happen to all of your data, plans, procedures, systems, process, etc…if your key person at the organization was (heaven forbid) hit by a truck?  Would you lose all of the data that is squirreled away in their head?  Would you find yourself starting from scratch?  What things might go undone or undetected until something major broke-down? Would you know where all of the files were stored and what vendors had contracts with your organization or what promises had been made?  I have met dozens of great facility managers.  They know their facilities like the back of their hands and they are invaluable.  But…what if suddenly they were gone?  Would you be prepared?

2. Long Term Capital Improvement Planning: We have been pretty surprised by how many facility owners do not have an active “sinking fund” or some form of capital improvements process.  When we ask them about their planning process for major capital expenses (i.e. replacing flooring, replacing HVAC equipment, resurfacing parking, etc), the oh too common answer is…”we wait until it breaks and then replace it.”  OUCH…does not sound like planning. It is ironic that we generally do a tremendous job when we plan for a building expansion or new construction project.  We set aside money in a building fund…evaluate the costs…and plan accordingly.  However, we find it more common than not that this level of proactive planning dies when an organization moves into the building.  Having a proactive means to project and plan for future capital expenditures is a key factor in using facility management software

messy desk 2

3. Prioritize work: Does the “urgent” take precedence over the important?  Does that last e-mail or call take you off-task? Ever walk into the office…knowing you have a  million things to to…but don’t know where to start? Do you feel like you have a mountain of work…e-mails…projects…emergencies?  Well…you are not alone.  Frankly, I feel exactly like that as I am typing this.  I have a fence to repair, bills to pay, accounting to update, a building inspection and so much more.   Well…the use of software solutions can be a tremendous asset to staying on point and keep work prioritized.  If it was not for Outlook, I would forget where I am to be, everyone’s phone numbers and even when to take certain meds (I know…I am a mess).  If it was not for my Highrise and Basecamp accounts, I would not be able to stay on task with the people I need to follow up with or what tasks are needed to be accomplished related to a project.  Facility Management software can do the same thing for your facility team.  It can set the priority of the work, set an ETA for the work to be complete and send e-mail alerts and reminders.  Trying to keep all of this in your head or on a legal pad will only increase the stock value for Advil.

4. Manage Vendors: Who is approved to work on your site? How do you track their names, address, e-mails, phone numbers, etc?  How do you dispatch work to the vendors? Fax?  Phone?  Smoke signals?  Most good facility management software solutions will at the very least provide a section to list all of the pertinent data about your vendors and subs.  This is a necessity at the very least.  The better systems will also provide a means for assigning work orders to vendors and dispatch the work orders via an automated system through e-mail, text messages or some similar method.

Well…that is it for this week…there are several more factors that need to be discussed…but they will have to wait until next time.


Why You Need Facility Management Software: Part 2


Welcome to Part 2 of our series exploring why using Facility Management Software for your facility is a smart move.

Last time we developed some “common language” to establish a baseline for our future discussions.  The terms we defined were:

1. Work Requests

2. Work Order Process (a better term may actually be Work Order Management)

3.  Scheduled Maintenance

4. Capital Improvement Needs

5. Vendor Management

6. Equipment Cataloging and Tracking

7. Inventory Tracking

So…why should your organization consider using some form of Work Order Management software or Facility Management software?  Isn’t that just for big organizations with big facilities and big budgets and big staff and big _____ (you fill in the blank)?

If you have followed any of my past blogs, then you know that I have stated over and over that most organizations facilities are complex commercial structures.  Even if your facility is less than 10,000 square feet, it is a commercial structure…and it is complex.

Regardless of the size of your facility, take a minute to answer the following questions:

1. Does your facility have more than one HVAC unit? If so, do you have more than 5 “tons” of cooling/heating capacity?

2. Does your facility have an electrical service that is larger than 400 amps?

3. Do you have paved parking spaces with a curb cut to a city, town, county, state or federal road?

4. Do you have an automatic fire sprinkler system?

5. Do you have a fire alarm system?

6. Do you have exit signs and emergency lights?

7. Do you have ceilings higher than 10 feet with light fixtures in those ceilings?

8. Is any part of your roof over 30 feet tall?

9. Do you have more than one water heater?

10. Is any part of your building made of steel/metal?

If you  answered yes to 2 or more of the above questions, then you likely have a complex commercial structure and with that type of structure comes the need for scheduled maintenance, repairs, work orders, etc. In most cases, these tasks exceed the ability of the typical “residential” handyman.  They need to be completed by skilled professionals in these trades…whether from inside your organization or not.

I can hear you saying….“OK…we agree with you in principle….but so what?”.  Good question.

Well, let me start with 2 of the most obvious this week, and then address more next week.

1. BE INTENTIONAL:  There is a quote that most of you have heard…but I believe it is so appropriate for this discussion...“People do not plan to fail, we fail to plan”. We do not plan to forget to change the HVAC filters or to clean the coils or to clean the carpet.  However, without a plan, these things become lost in the hustle and bustle of the “urgent” items that tend to dictate our daily activities.  When that happens, the low cost maintenance items evolve into higher cost repair issues if not addressed early.  Having a proactive system that will serve as your “reminder” for these items will not only save you time, but assist you in being intentional with the care and maintenance of your facility…remember, these facilities were entrusted to your care.

2. CENTRAL DATA BASE/REPOSITORY: Do you have a spreadsheet here…a post-it note there…an e-mail requesting work be done…a legal pad full of ideas…your computer calendar withscratch head with arrows dozens of reminders?  Unfortunately, this is more the norm than the exception.  We met with a new client the other day who said “When all 4 of us involved in the care of our facility are together, we then have all the needed data”.  So, what happens when only 2 of them are together…do they only have 50% of the needed data and information? We are hearing this line of irrational thinking over and over from organizations with tens, even hundreds, of thousands of SF.  This “plague” of poor planning  is an “equal opportunity” offender.  Having a single source to input and store your facilities data is critical.  You need to have a single secure place to store data, process work orders, track historical data, evaluate work requests and manage vendors….and it needs to be accessible to all the key players and stakeholders.   Without this single repository, you will always be subject to missing critical data when you need it most.

There are a number of other critical issues to discuss…so join me next time…and please join in and provide some insights that may help all of our readers.


Why You Need Facility Management Software: Part 1

How do you track and process work requests at your facility?Android-KitKat-fingers-crossed

Legal Pad?

Excel spreadsheet?

Post-it Notes?

Cross your fingers, then hope and pray?

I would like to explore other options for tracking work orders, service history, equipment inventory and condition, capital improvements, defective equipment log, vendor log, on-site maintenance staff assignments…and so much more.  We will take the next several weeks to investigate the needs of most organization to track work requests and work orders as well as being proactive in tracking capital improvements to assist in your budgeting process.

To get started, let’s develop some common language…here are some words and phrases that will help us in this discussion:

1. Work Request: A request from within your organization that someone is asking to be addressed (i.e. It is too hot in our classroom, the copier is not working, the toilet is clogged, etc….sound familiar)large_church-mess-water-main-break-3gw

2. Work Order Process: The system/process that you use to facilitate the inspection, review, acceptance and fulfillment of the Work Request.

3. Scheduled/Preventive Maintenance: Items that reoccur on a regular basis (or should occur on a regular basis).  These can include Preventive Maintenance items (i.e. HVAC servicing, changing filters, systematic replacement of light bulbs, certification of fire extinguishers as well as regular maintenance on elevators and other systems with moving parts) as well as other items that need to be scheduled and tracked on a regular basis (i.e. housekeeping items, yard maintenance, mulch in the plant beds, window cleaning, carpet cleaning, back-flow preventer inspection, etc.)

4. Capital Improvement Needs: These are items that are identified as having a predicted life cycle with a predetermined or expected end of its useful life/service. These would be items that would require capital funds to replace or significantly modify in order to extend or start a new Life Cycle (i.e. Replacement of HVAC equipment, paving in the parking lot, replacing or re-coating roofing materials, replacement of floor coverings, etc)

5. Vendor Management: Who does work on your facility?  Is it performed by on-staff personnel…outside Construction-Fatiguevendors…volunteers…your kids (HA HA)?  Regardless of who does the work, you need to assign the work and then follow up on the completion of the work. There needs to be clear and definitive communication to all personnel that are performing services for the organization including assigning of work, tracking of the work, issuing the proper paper work, warranty fulfillment…and so much more.

6. Equipment Cataloging and Tracking: Your facility has HVAC equipment, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, water heaters, kitchen equipment, IT equipment, office equipment, yard equipment, cleaning equipment…and the list goes on.  So…what is your process for tracking the manufacturer, make, model, components, warranty remaining, quantity of items, service history (when was the last time this was serviced, repaired or replaced) and other aspects associated with this equipment?  Do you currently have a system/process to schedule work orders and/or preventative maintenance to each specific item?  Do you even know the make and model number of all of your equipment…if not…why not?

7. Inventory Control: If you have restrooms, you consume a certain amount of paper products.  If you have have light fixtures, you will have bulbs that need replaced.  How do you know if you have enough inventory at any given time? Inventory control, especially of your regularly consumed items, is a critical facet of your facility management initiatives.

Now that we have started to develop a  common language, we will explore how a process and system can be developed to help you with managing your facilities.  To keep this all in perspective let’s not forget that your facilities are large complex commercial structures…with lots of very expensive moving parts that need to be maintained, serviced and repaired.  These facilities have been ENTRUSTED to us…so let’s do our part to steward them.

More to come next time…


3 Intentional Strategies for Stewarding Your Ministry Facilities


In an unscientific “survey” by Sam Rainer (my publisher and eldest son of Thom Rainer) and myself (ok…actually it was more of just a conversation and not a survey) we believe that over 99% of all churches meet in a facility. Some may be an owned facility…others rented…others may be schools or store fronts, while yet others are homes. In fact, if you have an Internet based church, your servers and other IT infrastructure are likely housed in a physical facility.

Based on the above, as well as the fact that we have deep convictions that everything on earth belongs to God, and as such we are stewards of what He has entrusted to us, we must look long and hard at the means and methods by which we steward the ministry facilities God has blessed us with.

Here are 3 intentional strategies for this stewardship initiative:

  1. Use them – God did not provide you with these assets and resources to have them sit idle for hours or days on end. Physical space was meant to be utilized to fulfill a cause…in the case of the church, to fulfill a vision and mission. Can you imagine developing an office building but only allowing occupants to use it one day a week? This responsibility must come with an intentional means by which to facilitate the use. How do you create opportunities for groups, inside and out, to have appropriate space from where to assembly?
  2. Financial Prudence – We see this strategy being 2 pronged. First, do not encumber your church (and its mission) with excessive debt. With that said, I am not a “no-debt” disciple, but I am a believer in prudence when it comes to appropriate debt and its impact on the ministry. Second is future financial planning. Are you setting monies aside for the life cycle impacts of facility ownership? If you are not retaining $1-2/square foot annually in a capital reserve account, you will find yourself falling woefully short when the HVAC system needs replaced or the roof has aged out. A capital reserve fund is NOT a raining day fund. These are real costs that you will incur. Period!
  3. Care for them – Over a 40 year life cycle of a building, the cost of operations will likely exceed 70% of the total cost of ownership. When you couple the cost of construction, interest and operations (utilities, general maintenance, housekeeping/janitorial, etc) the cost of interest and construction pale in comparison to the cost of operations. If you spend $4M to construction a building, you will likely spend over $13M to operate it within that 40 year period…WOW…that is a huge responsibility!

That is a lot to take in, but we some great news!!!

eSPACE has just release a new (and affordable) software application to assist you be intentional…effective…and efficient in these areas.

Image an application that includes:

> Inventory Management – Track what you have in stock

> Vendor Management including a new Vendor PortaleSpace_Logo_Md

> User Portal for ease of requesting Work Orders

> Calendar view of Work Orders

> Document Library

> Robust Report Builder

> Unlimited Users Included with Advanced Packages

> Responsive Design/Mobile Friendly

> Single Login when subscribed to Work Order Management and Event Scheduler

> Fully configurable

If you have a facility and are intentional about stewarding what has been entrusted to you…you owe it to yourself to check out this new application HERE.

Facility Stewardship Binder - Small

Got CMMS? You Need To!

got CMMS

If you are not a Facility Manager, you may not be familiar with the term “CMMS”.  So as we get started, lets make sure we have a good definition.

Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS).  A CMMS software package maintains a computer database of information about an organization’s maintenance operations. This information is intended to help Management and maintenance workers do their jobs more effectively. For example, determining which equipment requires servicing/work, plan preventive maintenance and to help management make informed decisions.”

In short, it is a computerized system to help your staff, who is responsible for the care and stewardship of your physical facilities, respond to Work Requests, process Work Orders, track Equipment, manage Vendors, schedule and manage Preventive Maintenance.  It is a tool to assist the facility staff to be more effective and efficient in their implementation of their responsibilities.  Plain and simple!

There was a blog (and audio version) posted by facilitiesnet of an interview with Walt Petters, the Director of Maintenance and Plant Operations at Brevard County Public Schools, Rockledge, Fla.  It would be worth your time to hear the interview first hand.  The following are the questions and answers from the interview that I believe help to explain how a CMMS program can be a huge asset to any facility owner:

1. What are the main functions your computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) provides for your organization?
Our entire organization is focused around our CMMS. It is the way our “customers” (i.e. staff and facility occupants) communicate their needs. We document work efforts, productivity, reoccurring facility problems and the need to demonstrate a particular area of need. For example, if we have continuous work-order requests with roof issues, the CMMS allows us to demonstrate the need to create and fund a roof-replacement program.

2. What role does the CMMS play in your organizations preventive maintenance and work-order processing?
Everything we do is tied to a work order and categorized routine, service, vandalism, etc.  Preventive maintenance work orders are generated to document efforts in keeping warranties in place, such as monthly HVAC inspections and testing. We also use preventive maintenance work orders to generate repetitive work, such as mowing competition football fields.

3. When specifying a CMMS, what tools are most important for maintenance and engineering departments?

  • Flexibility: The systems should have a user-friendly report-writing system since everyone looks at and needs information in a different format.
  • Support: The user needs to have reliable, 24-7 support with quick response.
  • Training:  Ongoing training and feedback that comes from the vendor and user groups to help identify common operational issues that others have encounter and solved. That information helps make the system a collaborative effort between software and everyday personal experiences.

4. Can you talk about the importance of training technicians on the proper use of a CMMS?
Training the technician is paramount in the CMMS having validated data and providing usable information. The information provided from the technician must be accurate for the CMMS to have value. It is just as important for the supervisors and managers to evaluate the data and make decisions based on facts. It also helps eliminate the politics of who gets what.

5. How has the CMMS made your organization more efficient? Has it helped save money? Can you provide an example of how it helped save money?
Absolutely. We have created our own weekly productivity reports each supervisor reviews based on estimated man-hours. Supervisors use the reports to help discuss any large overruns in time or material with the employee. The reports assures everyone we are watching the “store”.

If your organization is looking for a more effective and efficient method to address your facility management and maintenance, then you need to explore a CMMS solution.  The recently released  eSPACE – Work Order Management is a “best-in-class” solution designed by Facility Professionals.  In addition, the Work Order Management module communicates/interfaces with our industry leading Room/Event Scheduler Software

For more information visit or call us at 1-888-448-5664