Measurement and Verification – DIY

Systems Integration, Asset register, Building Management System, Energy Management System, BIM, Measurement

In a previous life these terms were mutually exclusive, they required different vendors, different software and varying degrees of mutually exclusive expertise.Measurement and Verification
These terms had this “black box” specialized and expensive connotation, with single vendor “captive client” pricing gouging associated with them, these “Glory Days” are over. Check you Calendar, it now 2014 and we’re rushing into 2015 like a steam train and there is little patience for the “Glory Days” with technology becoming so wide in its variances, in its pricing, availability and delivery of the results customized to your site.
No longer can we make it through the day without the support of our mobile device and why, because your competitors are optimizing all the technology available to make a point of difference with the customer, yours included.
Technology and even the hint of an upgrade usually has a hint of significant costs along with it. This is not always the case, unless you whole site is still using windows 3.11, then maybe you should have cause for concern and/or reconsider your job opportunities.
But this isn’t a software sell.
To be direct, I’m old school, and prefer to drive software as opposed to be dictated by it. The Point of this article is not to ask you to buy software and preach its benefits, but to ask you to do some manual handling yourself (or your staff) and then you will either continue with the manual handling or have a better concept of what you want from software and govern it, rather than enter useless data into fields which you will never use and will never make you money; and that’s what is about isn’t it, reducing costs and improving returns.
Enough about me, what about your place.
Every Hotel site has its own idiosyncrasies and it’s own vintage; if you’re driving a 1971 HQ you’re not going to get to run like a current model CL 63 Mercedes, but you can upgrade the dashboard, the engine management system, the engine, put in new fuel system, new headlights, a set of mags and use modern fuels in your HQ to make it run a lot better.
Typically, if you’re driving a HQ, your budget won’t be the same as the CL 63, but your customers still need accommodation in comfort and your Hotel Business still competes on the same track for those customers.
So what can you do?
For the sake of discussion where going to assume you’re running a “HQ” and because you’re on a budget, you’re not going to use a consultant or a large multinational company energy/systems company. As Chief Engineer, maintenance manager, you are going to do this with your existing staff, (except the painter)

  1. Your Goal, will be the point of focus for your data collection. There is no point in collecting data and statistics about toilet roll usage if we are considering improving the energy performance of the Function rooms. Be specific, what part of the site do you want to improve the most, which area(s) are cause for greatest concern and hit your budget every month. For example:
    • Energy Conservation
    • Air Conditioning (HVAC)
    • Resource Conservation (water)
    • Asset Maintenance
    • Guest comfort
    • Function Room performance
    • Ecstatic performance
    • Work Place Health and Safety Performance
  2. Data collection: there will be obvious items, but we need to consider what “load” there is on your chosen area of concern; we need to consider demand. Here’s a few suggestions for our function room example. The information we want is to have a high frequency of activity and be allocated an integer, so we can compare trends.
    • Occupancy (weekly)
    • Out Door Temperature
    • Out Door Humidity
    • Calendar events (those which directly affect your site’s performance)
    • Function room performance (% of total capacity)
    • Energy Bills (monthly, Energy/KW value, not the Dollar value)
    • Water Bills (monthly, Energy/KW value, not the Dollar value)
    • Subcontractor Maintenance Schedules (Hours, if after hours convert 2.0 time to 1.0 time, etc)
    • Subcontractor Corrective Maintenance (Hours, if after hours convert 2.0 time to 1.0 time, etc)
    • Staff Management of Subcontractors (Hours, if after hours convert 2.0 time to 1.0 time, etc)
    • Guest Complaints (give the complaint a graded integer value, say 9/10 for extreme cranky)
    • Staff Complaints (give the complaint a graded integer value, say 9/10 for extreme cranky)
    • Anything else, but give it a integer value, leave dollars out
  3. Put this information into a single spread sheet, based upon your goal. No dollar values, they will take care of themselves in another spread sheet by others. Break out the monthly values into average daily values where you can. Create some sub totals of the information where it’s is logical. Put the values into some graphs and over layer these so you can see comparison trends between occupancy, temperature, complaints, etc.
  4. Gets some coffee and review these trends, take some time on this because the visibility you have just created my need a little more than just a glance to see a real operations improvement opportunity. Your thought process is to ask yourself why. Why you see what you do.

Note: The reason we remove the dollar value is it will skew the view; additional costs from parts, which may have been required, after hours call out fees, tolls, CPI, “pole and wires”, etc. if you can reduce the overall hours by a subcontractor, staff, or others, via your operations improvements, then the overall costs will typically take of themselves.

Does this sound a little too basic, or obvious, perhaps it does, but although you might be thinking how straight forward this is, I would bet you are not doing it. The typical thought process is that “I know what’s going on, I know where the money is going” and we would argue, “then tell me” and we will find holes in your answers as we drill down into your response.

Visibility is key in operations performance you can make a good start without spending big dollars. Purchasing top shelf software and hardware can do a lot for you, but is it focused for the challenge to successfully guarantee the result(s) you are looking to achieve. Any software will need to be focused and “fit for purpose”.

Software packages can integrate your Building Management System to your work order system to your Energy platform, to your function room booking system and so on. Offering huge opportunity to create trends for measurement and verification between services. But it is useless if the trends are not examined, and regularly, and it’s a waste of time entering data which is not likely to offer a financial return.

Your competitor, with their CL 63 Mercedes, may already have the technology installed and implemented, but does anyone interrogate it, look for trends with common traits indicating unnecessary losses. Do they log financially useful data?

So even with your competitor spending big on technology, you can still keep up by using internal labor and a set process of investigation, measurement and verification…. And doing the analysis regularly.

The analysis doesn’t require a tertiary degree, it requires good coffee and time, time to look at the figures. It’s not unusual to see a trend “jump off the page” and then the “ah ha” moment. You might want to consider adding other variables to your data including sub-contractor attendance times, and staff.

And if you are driving a CL 63, a powerfully engineered machine, then are you driving it well and optimizing all your features and opportunities to improve operations? Do you have it flat out or are you coasting?

Nigel Wraight
Forte Asset Services

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