Top 3 Trends in Higher Education Facilities Management
One of the biggest challenges we continue to see is outdated technology. Champions of legacy systems are retiring, and older legacy systems are barely supported. What many don’t realize is the adage, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” isn’t always true. Technology is evolving at a rapid pace and implementing an in-building logistics platform that can integrate with other workplace systems to help you operate more efficiently is crucial.
Below are some workflows that can be vastly improved by updating to new technology.
- Digital Services – Print/Copy/Scan Management
- Package Tracking – Student/Faculty Mail Center
- Research Labs – Hazardous Material Tracking
- Facilities Requests – Supplies, Repairs & Replacements
- Records Requests – File Movement & Oversight
- Central Receiving – P.O. Line Item Receiving
Now, more than ever, we are seeing Universities invest in their facility managers’ education. They are attending more conferences and tradeshows to learn about the latest technology trends. Our resident expert, Bruce Little, always stresses the importance of leveraging technology at every conference he attends. A package tracking system is a good place to start, but if you think outside of the box there is way more you can do for your department and your campus.
Smarter Use of Existing Space
One of the hottest topics in Higher Education is Smart Locker systems. Smart lockers give students access to their packages 24/7, decreasing the turnaround time between package delivery and student pick-up. The locker is assigned to the student, an e-mail notification is sent, and the student comes to pick up their package.
Traditional Mailboxes are becoming a thing of the past with the increasing need for more space. We are seeing more and more universities implement Virtual Mailboxes – File folders are temporarily assigned to recipients when they receive mail. Once the mail is picked up, the file is available to be assigned to another recipient.
Kiosks have been a great improvement for the pick-up process of mail and packages. Place them across campus or in the mailroom and allow the students to “check-in” without appearing at the window first. This allows staff to pull packages/mail before the student reaches the front of the line, improving the experience, speed, and efficiency of the operation.
Sustainability has really become a top priority for entire campuses over the past few years. We have seen efforts to conserve everything from energy to paper usage, to the extent that departmental desktop printers have been banned on campus, requiring everything to be printed through the on-campus print center. While this may seem extreme, the printers in the print centers are designed to operate at a lower cost overall, which saves money for all involved, this also reduces the number of misprints, as a direct cost is assigned to each job.
What are you seeing at your campus? As always, if you have any comments, questions, or concerns, please reach out to us in the comments below.