Bloomfield Hills Schools + eSPACE = WOW Experience

Many of you who follow us or read our blogs, generally will associate our products and services with churches and Houses of Worship.  For the most part you would be correct.  However, what many of you may not know, is that we also have a large consortium of private schools, colleges, universities and yes…Public School Districts.

Let me introduce you to one of these public schools – Bloomfield Hills Schools

According to their listing on Google, they are “one of the best public school districts in Michigan for students ages 6 weeks to graduation.”

While I cannot confirm or refute this claim, I can tell you that they are passionate about serving their community and the students (and their families) that attend their schools.

Bloomfield Hills School district is located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. They are highly respected for their teachers and staff, commitment to creating opportunities for their students, encouraging them to explore a variety of unique experiences, providing hands-on activities, and having a diverse set of course offerings to help each student achieve their own unique goals.

This school system is comprised of 3 Preschools, 4 Elementary Schools, 3 Middle Schools, a High School and a variety of other programs, buildings and opportunities to meet the needs of their community.

Early last year, Shira Good, Director of Communications & Community Relations, reached out to our team to learn more about our eSPACE Event Scheduler, as they wanted to make a change from the “dude” they were using. They were frustrated with the lack of support, customer service and development initiatives. After an extended vetting process, Shira pulled the trigger and moved all of Bloomfield Hills event and facility planning to eSPACE.

Since that time our team has collaborated with the school district to develop several features and enhancements that have benefited not only Bloomfield Hills but many of our education and church clients.  It has been a great partnership. But…don’t just take our word for it.

Here is what Shira has to say about us!

“Oh. My. Gosh. We could not love eSPACE more!!!! You all ROCK!”

Moving to eSPACE has been everything we’d hoped and dreamed it to be.  Their staff is extremely responsive and supportive of our unique and growing needs.  They are flexible, thoughtful, and the best company we work with hands down.  We only wish the team at eSPACE would take over the internet world and build software for everything so we could work with them on every digital need we have!  Their customer service is far superior to anyone we’ve ever worked with!”

Do you want this same kind of WOW Experience? CHECK US OUT


Fram Oil Filters and Church Facilities

A few years ago, I was introduced to Kevin Folsom, former Director of Facilities and Plant Operations, Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, Texas  He wrote a White Paper entitled “sustainable facilities” vs. Sustainable Facilities. This is an excellent article and frankly some of it is over my head…Kevin is one smart dude!!!!

Here is a quote from this article:

There are numerous levels that can be used to go about this, but to start we have to remember our early Physics lessons in high school about the 2nd Law of Thermal Dynamics. Everything we build will decay, but it may last longer if properly maintained. So, here’s a puzzling question…If we build facilities that the natural law causes them to decay at fairly predictable rates throughout its birth to burial, why do we not plan for it?

According to a research project done a few years ago, facilities…any facility…will deteriorate at a rate of 1-4% per year, assuming regular preventive maintenance. However, this rate of deterioration will in most cases more than double if the regular, systematic preventive maintenance is not performed.

So…why do we, as church leaders, avoid addressing and planning for the inevitable? Would you drive your new car and never change the oil until the engine seizes up and then cough over a huge amount of money for a new engine? That does not make any sense to me.

Let’s step back and look at the big picture for a minute. An appropriate preventive maintenance program should be funded on average at 1.5 percent of the CRV (Current Replacement Value) of a facility. Using the Fram Oil Filter analogy and advertisement from 1972, let’s look at how the “pay me now or pay me later” principle might be applied to your facility.

Let’s assume you put 15,000 miles a year on your $25,000 car…you are prudent and change your oil at a minimum of every 5,000 miles…and the average oil change costs $50.00. That would be $150.00 a year.  In addition, let’s assume you have 60,000 mile tires, meaning you should get 4 years of wear (life cycle).  If the tires cost $150 each, that would be $600 or $150 per year.  There is some other miscellaneous filters, belts, etc that need to be replaced every year or accounted for every X number of years.  Let’s assume that we need to allocate another $100a year for those items.  That totals $400 of “preventive maintenance” on your car. Based on the above assumed purchase value, we would invest 1.5% of the value annually to keep the car running smooth.  Is there anyone out there that thinks it is a waste of time or money so spend $400 (1.5% of the value) each year to maintain your vehicle and extend its useful life?

Do you see a pattern here?

Here is another factor to consider.  If your $25,000 car has a life expectancy of 8 year (15,000 miles for 8 years, for a total of 120,000 miles), how much do you need to set aside to replace the car?  We know we need to invest $400 +/- annually to keep it running, but that money is going to be spent and we sill need to plan for the new vehicle in 8 years.

If I make the assumption that vehicles are going to experience a 5% cost inflation per year (compounding) then the cost of that replacement vehicle will be $36,938 which means I need to set aside $4,617 each year in a “capital reserve/life cycle” account.

So, if we are inclined to subscribe to the above 2 models for maintaining and replacing your vehicles, does it not make sense to do the same for your facilities?  God has entrusted you to steward them…right? If so, to quote Sean Connery in The Untouchables, “What are you prepared to do?”

Where's the Money to Fix This?

A few weeks ago I received a copy of the Church Finance Today newsletter. The lead article really caught my attention and I have used it as the title of this post.  Given my focus and dogma on the topic of Facility Stewardship, I had to read on!

The article was full of great thoughts and comments…it even had a quote from yours truly (Tim Cool) which was a little bit of a surprise…a pleasant surprise.  You will want to read the article for yourself, but here are some thoughts from the article.

They provided 6 Tips to help get started in developing an intentional and proactive plan for long term care:

  1. Avoid the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it mentality.
  2. Don’t ignore “out of sight, out of mind” items.
  3. Good Stewardship includes physical assets.
  4. Tap experts to assess your needs.
  5. Create a capital reserve account even if you start small.
  6. Work towards your plan every year.

These are great tips…and I especially LOVE # 3.

One of the other quotes by the author, Bobby Ross, Jr., really seals the deal for me and is exactly the drum I continue to beat:

Every air-conditioning unit, every piece of carpet, every window, every light and the entire roof will need to be replaced at some point. It’s vital for leaders to recognize all of it needs to be replaced sooner or later. And setting funds aside now may avoid more painful scenarios later – like a church that needs to rent temporary worship space while its air conditioning gets fixed*

It is not a matter of IF they will be replaced.  It is a matter of WHEN and HOW will you fund it.

Intentional churches plan for the inevitable!

A few weeks ago, our team released the first of its kind LIFE CYCLE CALCULATOR. If you are serious about getting started with a Capital Reserve Plan…then this tool is the right first step.  Click HERE to get started.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Originally appeared in the November 2016 issue of Church Finance Today. Used with permission.

Focus or Frenzy?

I (Jen Erwin, Onboarding Specialist for Cool Solutions Group) recently read the following excerpt from Dr. David Jeremiah:

“It’s happened to everyone: You go online – to make a single purchase – and an hour and many clicks later you are on a totally unrelated website wondering how you got there. We sometimes act like small children who are attracted by bright lights and loud noises. What we do externally often bears little resemblance to what we intended to do internally.”

And even though that last sentence punched me in the gut, I couldn’t stop myself from reading it again and again: What we do externally often bears little resemblance to what we intended to do internally.

I know that eSPACE doesn’t ascribe to the theory of frenzy. We respect and value order and believe that’s how we, ultimately, were designed to operate at peak performance.

Same goes for your facility: If you’re aimlessly putting out fires instead of strategically planning for appropriate upkeep through careful, calculated and poignant budgeting, what happens around you may begin to show little resemblance to your original intention.

That’s why our team created the Life Cycle Calculator.

Capital Reserves? Check!

Asset Tracking? Check!

Life Cycle Projections? Check!

Addressing Inflation Factors? Check!

ORDER. (We love it!)

So, why stand back and throw stones (knee-jerk reaction) at the bad guy (lack of planning, deteriorating facility) instead of taking the upper hand to wrangle him into submission (budget appropriate funds needed to sustain)? You have control here! “Intentional” is more than just a buzzword at eSPACE – it’s a means by which effective facility management and stewardship is tackled.

It’s time to focus – and it’s time to let your internal intention create external results.

Make sure to download your FREE copy of 5 Intentional Steps to Establish a Capital Reserve Account.

5 Intentional Steps to Establish a Capital Reserve Account

If you are reading this post, then your organization likely owns or utilizes a facility. Given that, there are some facts about the life cycle and condition of your facilities that you need to be aware of:

  1. All buildings deteriorate at a rate of 1-4% per year
  2. As such, nearly every physical component of your facility will be replaced or have a major overhaul
  3. The rate of deterioration can more than double if we do not stay current with the natural rate of deterioration
  4. All of the above will require dollars

So the big questions are…how much money will be needed and when.

If you cannot definitely answer either part of that question, then we have the right resource to help you better develop a long term life cycle and capital reserve plan (and it is FREE):

5 Intentional Steps to Establish a Capital Reserve Account

Almost every component of your facilities will have to be replaced at some point. Do you have an action plan? INTENTIONAL organizations plan today for tomorrow’s costs. That’s why it’s critical you establish a capital reserve account now!

What’s in the eBook?

  1. Easy to understand concepts of Capital Reserves
  2. Compelling statistics about the cost of facility ownership
  3. Intentional steps to get you on the right path
  4. Tools to get you started

This FREE e-Book helps you implement the 5 steps necessary to start the process of Life Cycle and Capital Reserve planning.  Click HERE to download your copy.

Also, don’t forget to check out the eSPACE Event Scheduler and Work Order Management tools to help you be efficient, effective and intentional with your Facility Stewardship.

 

Facility Management vs. Maintenance

Over the past 8 years, I have met with dozens and dozens of business administrators, executive pastors, operations directors and facility personnel. As I have documented these experiences, I see a real and perceived discrepancy between the meaning of Facilities Management and facilities maintenance. To some of you, this may sound like semantics, but I think that it is much, much deeper than two “words”, even if some may consider them synonyms. Let me describe what I have seen and then let you decide if there is or is not a difference.

First, let’s explore how various dictionaries and sources define these 2 words:

man-age-ment
1. The organization and coordination of the activities of a business in order to achieve defined objectives
2. The act or manner of managing; handling, direction, or control
3. The technique, practice, or science of managing, controlling or dealing with

main-te-nance
1. The act of maintaining
2. Care or upkeep, as of machinery or property
3. The work needed to keep a road, building, machine, etc. in good condition

As I look at these definitions, I see a couple things that jump out at me:

1. Management appears to define the act of being proactive.
2. Management requires a skill to lead and direct activities of an organization or team
3. Maintenance appears to be developing a way to maintain the status quo
4. Maintenance is focused on the care and upkeep of something which may be seen as reactive.

What words could be used to differentiate management vs. maintenance? Here are some possible word associations:

MANAGEMENT

MAINTENANCE

Proactive

Reactive

Preventive

Corrective

Lead

React

Plan

Respond

Systematic

Scramble

Save over the Long Term

Spend as needed

Increase Life Cycle

Band-Aid

 

I think there is indeed a difference between these words…especially as it relates to facilities. Facility Management can be defined as so much more than maintenance. It can and should be proactive in looking for ways to staff, save, and service. Keeping up with the best tech ideas, security, budgeting, Life Cycle planning,  “green uses” and more. Also, Facility Management staff can look for ways to better set-up, design, and use its “plant” rather than simply caring out work orders or manual instructions. In most church settings these functions are a last minute “Hick-Up” and are not thought out well or processed INTO Ministry systems, processes and flow. In short, Facility Management is working “ON” verses simply “IN” a process.

A simple way to think of the difference is that maintenance is keeping what you have running smoothly and efficiently, but Facility Management means planning ahead, seeking to improve, managing risks, learning what is available, proactive and possible.

So, as you explore your facility stewardship needs, are you providing management or merely maintenance? Both are important…but there is a difference.

If you need assistance sorting out the difference and leading a proactive Facility Management initiative in 2017, please contact our team of facility professionals.  You will be glad you did.

Also, don’t forget to check out the eSPACE Event Scheduler and Work Order Management tools to help you be efficient, effective and intentional with your Facility Stewardship.

3 "Must Have" Attributes of a Software Provider

Does anyone reading this article not use software for some aspect of your life?  Work, bill payments, contributions, personal, web surfing, gaming, photo storage, reading books, in your car, on your phone, etc, etc, etc?

If you can truly say that you do not use software in any component of your life, you either live in a cave (so not sure how you could even read this) or are delusional…because, even if you do not have software on your computer, the services you use and stores you frequent use software in some form or fashion. Software is an integral part of modern culture, society and life in general.  It is everywhere.

Most of you know that I am personally a relative novice when it comes to software.  I am a facility guy.  But our company cropped-eSpace_Logo.pngprovides a best-in-class SaaS (Software as a Service) based solution for Facility Management effectiveness…eSPACE.

Given that, I have invested a great deal of myself into understanding the SaaS world of software and studied what makes for great customer experiences…which in the end…is the the primary reason to offer a SaaS product.  eSPACE helps our company realize the WHY of our existence:

WHY = To assist organizations be effective, efficient and intentional with the facilities they have been entrusted to steward.

What I have learned is that the WHY is our driving force, but it must be coupled with our HOW which is greatly driven by the needs of those we serve and provide products and services…YOU!

To that end, here are 3 MUST HAVE attributes that we have adopted that make eSPACE the best (and possibly only) 3-in-1 Facility Management Software on the market:

  1. Agile – “able to move quickly and easily” – we live in a microwave age…we want what we want NOW. We are accustomed to getting what we want at the click of a button or a keystroke. Companies that are still practicing a development method of quarterly releases or large roll outs 1-2 times a year is waning.  We want our software companies to move quickly…we want them to be agile. Let me put this into perspective.  In the first 10 months of 2016, the eSPACE development team has completed 226  minor feature additions or enhancements ( what we call “quick picks” for items that can be done in less than 4 hours). In addition, that team has released 27 major feature releases (that take more than 4 hours) and 8 projects (feature enhancements that require multiple days/weeks)…and about 180 “bug” fixes.   That is a ton of new features, enhancements and support that provide expedited results and happy clients.
  2. Listening – of the incredible amount of development activities listed above, nearly 90% of all of these items are subscriber/client driven. Now, isn’t that a breathe of fresh air.  A company and their technical team that is actually listening to their clients instead of just sitting in a conference coming up with what THEY this is cool and fun. I have learned that no matter how COOL (pun intended) our team thinks something might be, if it does not meet an expressed need of our clients and prospective clients, it is not worth adding to the application.
  3. Customer Service – I could write an entire post on this. I could tell you about other suppliers who do not offer direct phone support, or take days or weeks to respond or NEVER respond.  I could list dozens of our new clients that have left companies for that very reason.  But what I want to share with you is what we do…not what others don’t. To date i 2016, we have responded to nearly 1,100 customer service tickets with almost 40% of those being resolved on the first contact with our customer service team. In addition, our average “close” time (the amount of time to address, resolve and close a ticket) is about 1/2 a day.  That is freaking awesome.  I wish I could get some of the companies I use to respond at that rate. According to Forrester Research, “45% of US consumers will abandon an online transaction if their questions or concerns are not addressed quickly.”  Maybe that explains why our churn rate has been well below .6% per month for the majority of 2016.

Are the above interactions and attributes important to you?  Are you getting that from your Event/Facility Scheduler, Work Order Management of HVAC Integration providers?  If not…give us a look.

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Open Wide and Say Ahhhh

How often do you get a physical?  For the past 20+ years, I have gotten one every year.  The poking, the prodding, the blood work…you know the drill.  There is critical bench-marking done during this annual ritual including comparisons from the previous procedures as well as discussions about “best practices” for a person my age, height and family history. I learn things I need to work on for the upcoming year and behaviors I need to improve, add or terminate (like weight… sodium…fatty food). This is all meant for my good and longevity…none of the suggested changes are done to hurt me or shorten my life span, but rather to extend my life and productivity. Besides, we are the temple of God…right?

So, what about a “physical” for our ministry facilities (the other temple)?  Do they need a physical? How is your Facility Stewardship initiatives being implemented?

Let’s take a pre-physical assessment to see if you can answer all of the below questions (don’t worry, there are no HIPAA issues):

Pre-Physical  Assessment

1. What is the effective life expectancy of the roof(s) at your facility?

2. How many more years will your HVAC systems last and how much will they cost to replace?

3. Are your electrical systems/components safe and utilizing current technology to increase efficiency?

4. What kind of “First Impression” will your facilities have on a guest?

5. How do your operational costs compare to similar facility bench-marking?

6. Are your facilities safe?

7. Do your facilities meet code(s)?

8. Do you have any “Life Safety” issues that could be a hazard to your members and guests?

9. Do you have adequate Capital Reserves?

10. Are your facilities as energy efficient as possible and are you keeping up with the changes in technology and laws?

My guess is that the majority of you either could not answer these questions or answered them in the negative instead of affirmative…thus the statement – What you don’t know can hurt you!

So, how do you “know” the answer to these questions? What we recommend is a Facility Assessment…a physical.  I have been very encouraged lately to see more and more churches investing in the “knowing” what condition their facility is in and then taking steps to address the current and long term issues associated with any/every/all facilities. NOTE:  A physical is one the first step…implementation is the real purpose behind any assessment.

So…what can you do to get “in the know”?

We strongly encourage churches to perform or hire someone to perform, various levels of Facility Assessments.  There are a variety of complexities and methods that must be considered…and each has their place.  Below are some of the most common assessments that our team has been asked to perform:

  1. “Fresh Eyes” Assessment   –   A “10,000 foot view” of your facility/campus with the perspective of a first time guest(s).
  2. Physical Facility Assessment – A detailed approach to reviewing the major systems, building components and Life Cycle projections (including potential replacement costs)
  3. Operational Processes and Cost Assessment
  4. Facility Staffing Assessment
  5. Deferred Maintenance Assessment
  6. Preventive Maintenance  Review and Plan Development
  7. Implementation Recommendations and Process  

Call us today to make your appointment to see the “doctor”.

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eSPACE has gone NUTS!

No, not crazy (although some of you might disagree!). Rather, NUTS! Let me explain …

eSPACE was founded in 2008 and its sole market was churches and other houses of worship. I spent 24 years of my life serving this market so it was the one I knew. In fact, the Event Scheduler was originally called ministrEspace an the Work Order Management was named facilitEspace. Does anyone remember that? If you do, then let me personally thank you for your support of the years. You were the early adopters.

Over the past 3-4 years we started to see a trend with other market segments contacting us about our software solutions. At first, we had the occasional Christian school, which seemed in line with our primary market; 5 years ago, the City of Orlando contacted us about their need for work order management. Today, their parking lot division uses our Work Order Management software.

Soon, the largest manufacturer of Peking Duck in Canada called for assistance. Then an optical clinic with hundreds of locations, then retail chains, then public schools. It certainly appears that facility management software is needed for any facility! I have always believed that all facilities – no matter where they are located – need to be intentional about caring for the utilization and life cycle of their facilities.

That leads me back to why we have gone NUTS – in the truest sense of the word!Our newest Work Order Management client is the Southern Hemispheres largest walnut orchard owner, manager, producer and marketer of walnuts! Let me introduce you to Walnuts Australia, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Webster Limited. Walnuts Australia produces approximately 90 percent of the Australian walnut crop.

So, why did they need work order management?  Why did they select eSPACE? They appreciated being shown how to organize their workflow in a way that makes sense. eSPACE has developed a straightforward approach that’s simple to follow, saves organizations money, and keenly manages resources. We are proud and excited to be able to serve this organization – and we’d love to serve yours, too.Want to go nuts with us? Check out how eSPACE can make you more efficient, effective and intentional with your Facility Management initiatives.

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Wi-Fi Thermostats – Greatest Thing Since HVAC

Does your facility have HVAC units?

Do you have manual or programmable thermostats?

Do you wish you could reduce your energy bills?

Does increasing your staff efficiency rank high on your priority list?

Do you wish you could control your HVAC from your mobile phone?

WAIT NO MORE!!!!!

Cool Solutions Group and eSPACE is ecstatic to announce the release of the ONLY Commercial Wi-Fi Thermostat that can interface with eSPACE (and other facility scheduling software). We are beyond excited to release this option for churches, schools and other organizations, that we can hardly contain ourselves.

For many years we have been asked about a means by which a church could integrate their HVAC to their event/facility scheduling software.  We initially developed an option that would provide a means by which a BACnet system, utilizing a JACE could do such.  But we found that churches with a JACE were the minority in the market.  While that system is still a viable option, most of the churches we work with still have manual thermostats or at best, programmable thermostats.  Our first option was not a good option for them.

That is why the new COOLSPACE/EnTouch Pro is such a revolutionary option.  Check out this list of features:

  • > Interfaces with eSPACE and others facility schedulers*
  • > Full color touchscreen displayetprowifi1
  • > Built-in motion sensor
  • > Built-in WiFi networking
  • > Remote management including mobile app
  • > Security modes limit user changes
  • > Supports remote temperature sensor
  • > Manage multiple facilities and locations
  • > Multi-stage controls
  • > Track performance and usage of HVAC

You are going to want to check this out!

Click on HERE or e-mail us at info@eSPACE.cool 

coolspace-med*Call for details on which Facility Schedulers we interface with.