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Clean App on Aisle Four

Workforce Apps

06/04/16 | Sally Wotton

Retail and CAFM has always been a good match. But with retail now one of the fastest moving and most competitive business sectors, there has never been a better time to take the benefits of automated FM to the shop floor itself, FSI explain to Tomorrow's FM.

With more than 25 years' experience in developing and delivering crossindustry CAFM solutions, FSI has seen a rise in demand from retailers for intuitive systems that help them to improve the management of their estate, assets and trading environment.

That's why it makes sense to offer Concept, FSI's flagship CAFM software, in a version that is tailored to the specific requirements of the increasingly mobilised, app-hungry retail sector - a recognition that it is business users on the shop floor, rather than behind-the-scenes technologists, who are driving demand for software that answers their immediate needs.

The benefits extend all the way to the top of the business. Concept gathers and reports on real time data that allows the retailer to react quickly to events, while maintaining operations in a cost-effective and efficient way that will impact directly on the bottom line.

But with the flexibility and extensive functionality of Concept itself, and FSI GO, the mobile CAFM app development platform, retailers can take charge of their assets and spaces in new and more responsive ways - without having to start from scratch every time a new store is opened.

Making the connection between an event on the shop floor - whether it is a fridge failure, a slip/trip alert or a dead light bulb in a display area - and the overall performance of the building is a matter of growing strategic importance, inextricably linked with the retailer's compliance, security and safety policies.

But it is only recently that leading retailers have woken up to the benefits of introducing remote monitoring for their legacy refrigeration equipment, for example. Gathering information about an asset's gas usage or refrigerant discharge can help the property manager make important decisions about replacement and upgrades more quickly.

Concept anticipated the advent of the Internet of Things with its focus on asset connectivity and mapping: software that receives real-time information and does intelligent things with it - not just raising alerts, but reflecting the long-term impact of those events on the day-to-day operation of the building and assets.

The range of this data helps retailers to build a complete picture of asset performance, its impact on the business and the efficient allocation of maintenance resources. Putting that information into the hands of end-users on the shop floor takes CAFM out of the IT silo, and pushes the information directly to the app.

In the age of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) an app that everyone can access simply by logging on to their smartphone is an attractive alternative to the overhead of providing tablets for access across the shop floor, and the need for a complex portfolio of multiple bespoke apps that demand constant input and support from the IT department.

The key to FSI GO's mobile proposition for retail is the simplicity of building a questionnaire-based app that can be tailored to deliver the relevant information for any particular job - making deployment straightforward and easy.

This fluent, reiterative model scales all the way up the retail business. For retail chains, a CAFM system based on a template of pre-written mobilisation routines means that new stores can be brought online quickly and efficiently, using pre-set KPIs. This allows the property manager to focus on local adjustments and the provision of performance updates to head office.

As retailers gain a better understanding of the relationship between the performance of their property and environment, and managing events on the shop floor, their desire to use information strategically is growing daily.