The book The Checklist Manifesto details how some of the most complex jobs in the world—think surgeons and commercial airline pilots—use checklists to ensure they produce the highest quality possible. The book is a great read for anyone who is managing complex but repetitive tasks. Again, think about how a commercial pilot flies dozens of flights per month, but each and every flight must be perfect and follow the exact same pre-flight inspection procedure.
The author, Atul Gawande says, “Good checklists, on the other hand, are precise. They are efficient, to the point, and easy to use, even in the most difficult situations. They do not try to spell out everything–a checklist cannot fly a plane. Instead, they provide reminders of only the most critical and important steps–the ones that even the highly skilled professional using them could miss. Good checklists are, above all, practical.”
You may not be flying for airlines but, as a facility manager, you are tasked with keeping your buildings safe and clean. That means ensuring every single person who walks onto your building’s grounds won’t slip on a spill or use an unclean bathroom. Just like the pilot of a Boeing 747, using a facilities audit checklist will ensure your teams execute each task of their route, each and every day. Make no mistake about it. A checklist is a powerful tool in your facilities management toolbox.
Let’s unpack what makes for a good facilities audit checklist and, at the bottom of this post, you can even download a sample checklist to use in your facility.
Checklist Tip #1 – Make sure the checklist is clear
Keep your checklist as simple and easy to use as possible. The goal of your facility’s spreadsheet is to produce consistent results, not to be as ornate and complex as possible. So, keep your audit checklist simple and to-the-point.
Checklist Tip #2 – Audits and checklists are the perfect combo
Auditing should be a key practice in the management of your facilities. A good checklist will power your audit to ensure you are thorough and consistent.
Checklist Tip #3 – Consistency is king
As always, the key to checklists and even audits is consistency. Ensure you define the auditing schedule for each area in your building, and stick to it!
Checklist Tip #4 – Mine your audit for data-gold
A good checklist and facilities audit are perfect partners. Auditing your facility is driven by a good checklist, and a good checklist powers your facilities audit.
One good idea is to develop a series of checklists for each one of your audit routes. You might wind up with dozens of checklists to power each one of your audits, but ultimately this will result in a more consistent audit trail. Shameless plug: 4insite digitizes both your checklist and audit.
Checklist Tip #5 – Analyze your data for trends
With so much checklist and audit data, you’ll be sitting on a mountain of powerful facilities data. But data is only powerful when you have the tools and analysis to uncover the insights.
Ensure you are slicing your data to find where your facilities hotspots might be.
To get started with your facilities checklist for an audit, we’ve put together an easy excel doc for you to download.
With the above checklist and a few of our tips, you’ll be well on your way to using checklists to power not just your auditing process, but your entire facilities management system.