Make informed capital renewal decisions by tracking the right metrics

Expert Insight

Make informed capital renewal decisions by tracking the right metrics

Gathering facility condition information is critical for institutions to guide and prioritize decisions around where to invest limited renewal dollars. Yet with an ever-expanding list of attributes and data points to gather, many facilities leaders wonder if they are tracking the right metrics. No single list of metrics is right answer for all facilities units, so senior leaders must determine which metrics will translate into the most meaningful information for their particular campus.

To ensure facilities leaders have accurate information for capital renewal decisions, consider the following parameters to select, translate, and evaluate metrics.

Select valuable metrics to assess facility condition

The first step is for facilities leaders to decide what metrics to select. With so many metrics for facilities leaders to track, it’s challenging to know which is worth the investment. The graph below plots 17 metrics by two factors. The first is the difficulty of measuring the metric, with higher difficulty scores requiring more time and resources to monitor. The second factor is the prevalence of the metric, which describes how commonly other facilities units across higher education track and utilize a given metric.

Metrics with high prevalence and low difficulty values are great starting points for facilities leaders looking to expand what data they collect. These metrics—including system age, current replace value, and years past useful life—require less effort to monitor and have proven worth across a variety of institutions.

Translate data into information

The next step for facilities leaders is to conduct analyses to convert data into valuable information. Data points themselves have little value for capital renewal conversations. Instead, facilities leaders must translate the data into actionable information with impactful analyses. The table below details five high-value analyses along with their relative advantages.

One analysis that almost all institutions use to prioritize capital projects is the facility condition index (FCI), which measures the cost-to-correct condition deficiencies against the current replacement value. However, many institutions have benefited from additional analyses. For example, the facility quality index builds off FCI by incorporating modernization costs, resulting in a more comprehensive measurement of cost to renovate.

Keep your data clean

While collecting and utilizing data, facilities leaders must take steps to keep up the quality of the data and the reliability of analyses. Chief information officers, who regularly work with data, suggest four general principles to ensure proper data hygiene and governance:

  1. Assign ownership. Facilities leaders must assign someone within the department responsibility over the data parameters and the software used to manage them to ensure the collection of data occurs regularly through reliable processes.
  2. Lock in variables. Collection and measurement consistency from year-to-year allows for better tracking and analysis over time.
  3. Focus on groups of assets, not individual units. Data analysis requires categorizing equipment by similarities (such as location, function, type, criticality, and age) to have groups from which to extract data.
  4. Refrain from reinventing the wheel. Use data tracking and analytical tools the institution already possesses through computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) platforms or IT unit software.

More strategies to choose meaningful metrics

For more information on how to select strategically aligned condition metrics for capital renewal, explore our best practice research study Addressing Increasingly Complex Deferred Maintenance Decisions. Download the study.

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