WOW – You Offer THAT?!

The other day I was contacted by a man from a church who was working with a committee he had established to help his church understand the importance of taking care of and planning for the inevitable future costs related to their church facilities. He had downloaded one of our eBooks (Church Facility Stewardship) and was interested in other resources to make his case.

As I started to compile a response, I paused and stared at the screen…WOW – THAT IS INCREDIBLE! As the email developed and the list grew, I was frankly humbled and blown away with the resources that we have been able to make available to churches across the country.

If you have not checked out what we have developed (many resources are free) and what services we provide…just take a look at the list below.

  1. 5 Intentional Steps to Establish a Capital Reserve Account –  Free eBook – This was written as a primer for churches that are starting from Square 1 with a capital reserve.
  2. Church Facility Evaluator – Free tool to evaluate some of the key operational metrics/costs of a church related to national averages.
  3. Church Facility Stewardship Manual – Almost 300 pages of information for any church to use to establish and further their facility management initiatives.
  4. Other Resources – We have written a number of books and other material.
  5. Assessments/Training – We also provide a number of assessments and training.
  6. Life Cycle Calculator – This is a free software that will help ANY organization establish their capital reserve plan and project funds needs and when.
  7. eSPACE – Facility Management Software – We originally developed this software suite for churches, but since 2008,  we now have private and public schools, colleges, YMCAs, municipalities and other facility/property managers. In addition to the free Life Cycle Calculator from above, we have subscription offerings for:
    1. Event Management 
    2. Work Order Management
    3. HVAC Integration 
  8. Church Facility Management  Solutions – This is a new membership website that we recently released…VERY excited about this!

If your church has a facility…you need to familiarize yourself with the above items and take advantage of the best set of tools to help you be a GREAT steward!


New HVAC Integration with Network Thermostats

As we have discussed before, the number one cost “influencer” to your utility bills can be attributed to the cost of heating and cooling your facility. And the 2 factors that are the root cause of most inefficiencies are “controls” and “behaviors.”

Most of you know that eSPACE has developed an HVAC Integration feature called COOLSPACE that now will integrate with various Building Automation systems and WiFi thermostats. Not only that, but eSPACE can integrate with many of the leading Church Management Systems such as Ministry Platform, Shelby Systems, CCB, Fellowship One, Servant Keeper, ACS, Planning Center and more (Click HERE to learn more).

Well…we have just added another integration partner – Network Thermostats. While we will not be “selling” their thermostats (they have a very generous program when then sell to churches) we have developed an integration that will allow churches that have these thermostats to integrate with eSPACE or the other event schedulers mentioned above. That’s right…if you have Network Thermostats, or are considering obtaining them, then you can increase your energy and operation efficiency by integrating them to you event and facility scheduling software.

With COOLSPACE/eSPACE integration, you can easily schedule all the events in your facility and know that the HVAC systems will respond to each event as they occur. Not only can you realize energy savings with improved HVAC run-times, your facility staff is able to devote more time to other needs as the scheduling will be seamless and automatic.

If you are looking for ways to increase operational efficiency and reduce energy consumption, you need to check out all of our HVAC and ChMS Integrations.  You will be glad you did!


Why Use Facility Management Software for Your Church: Part 1

How do you track and process work requests at your facility:

Legal Pad?

Excel spreadsheet?

Post-it Notes?

Cross your fingers, then hope and pray?

I would like to explore a better option for tracking work orders, service history, equipment inventory and condition, capital improvements, defective equipment log, vendor log, on-site maintenance, staff assignments…and so much more. We will take the next several weeks to investigate the needs of most churches to track work orders as well as being proactive tracking capital improvements to assist in your annual budgeting process.

To get started let’s develop some common language…here are some words and phrases that will help us in this discussion:

  1. Work Order Process: This process generally starts with a request from within your church/ministry that someone is asking to be addressed (i.e. It is too hot in our classroom, the copier is not working, the toilet is clogged, etc…sound familiar?). The work order is the necessary processed so that your team can facilitate the inspection, review, acceptance and fulfillment of the work order.
  2. Scheduled Maintenance: Work that reoccurs on a regular basis (or should occur on a regular basis).  These can include Preventive Maintenance items (i.e. HVAC servicing, changing filters, systematic replacement of light bulbs, certification of fire extinguishers, regular maintenance on elevators and other systems with moving parts) as well as other items that need to be scheduled and tracked on a regular basis (i.e. housekeeping items, yard maintenance, mulch in the plant beds, window cleaning, carpet cleaning, etc, etc, etc).
  3. Capital Improvement/Reserves: These are items that are identified as having a predicted life cycle with a predetermined or expected end of its useful life/service. These would be items that would require capital funds to replace or significantly modify in order to extend or start a new Life Cycle (i.e. replacement of HVAC equipment, paving in the parking lot, replacing or re-coating roofing materials, replacement of floor coverings, etc).
  4. Vendor Management: Who does work on your facility? Is it by on-staff personnel…outside vendors…volunteers? Regardless of who does the work, you need to assign the work and then follow up on the completion of the work. You also need to track Certificates of Insurance for vendors that are not on staff at the church. There needs to be clear and definitive communication to all personnel that are performing services for the church including the assigning of work, tracking of the work, issuing the proper paper work (i.e. work orders, PO’s, work scopes, “not to exceed” amounts for the work, warranty fulfillment…and so much more). All of this would fall under the category of Vendor Management.
  5. Equipment Tracking/Inventory Control: Your facility has HVAC equipment, light fixtures, bulbs, plumbing fixtures, water heaters, kitchen equipment, IT equipment, office equipment, yard equipment, cleaning equipment…and the list goes on.  So…what is your process for tracking the manufacturer, make, model, components, warranty remaining, quantity of items, service history (when was the last time this was serviced, repaired or replaced) and other aspects associated with this equipment? Do you even know the make and model number of all of your equipment…if not…why not?

OK…now that we have started to develop a common language, we will explore how a process and system can be developed to help you with managing your facilities. To keep this all in perspective, let’s not forget that our ministry facilities are large, complex, commercial structures…with lots of very expensive moving parts that need to be maintained, serviced and repaired. These facilities have been ENTRUSTED to us…so let’s do our part to steward them.

More to come next time…


HVAC Solutions – FREE eBOOK

Can we all agree that HVAC operations, maintenance, scheduling, and replacement are one of the LARGEST expenditures, both in dollars and operation/manpower resources, that your church experiences?

Utility bills, HVAC maintenance, and HVAC replacement are significant costs for most churches. however, if we take the time to plan our energy usage carefully, we have the ability to reduce costs. If we reduce the amount of run-time, we can increase the life of our units if that is also coupled with proactive intentional maintenance. This frees up money to spend on other ministry endeavors.

Nearly every church in the county has some form of heating, cooling and ventilation system; as such, these issue are universal. They not exclusive to those in Miami or Anchorage.

“If we take the time to plan our energy usage carefully, we have the ability to reduce costs.”

In light of that, we have just released a new FREE eBook called HVAC Solutions: Taking control of your HVAC to Reduce Energy Costs, Extend Life Cycle, and Increase Operational Efficiency“.

This invaluable resource will help you better understand:

  1. The impact of your HVAC usage on your utility costs
  2. How maintaining and replacing HVAC units can get expensive
  3. Ways your facility staff could spend their time elsewhere
  4. That functioning HVAC units make people happy

We will also explore how to reduce energy costs and extend the life of your HVAC units by adopting more effective behaviors and the use of control systems.

Download your FREE copy today!


Utility bills, HVAC maintenance, and HVAC replacement are significant costs for most churches. HVAC usage can be attributed to 50-75% of your utility bills and HVAC maintenance and replace are your second or third largest capital expenditure not to mention the cost of staff to constantly change settings for events. If you are looking for a means by which to increase operational efficiency and control costs, then this resource is a MUST read.

Don’t Just Raise the Bar; Be the Bar

I love the new television commercials for the Ford F-150 that ends with: It Doesn’t Raise the Bar, It is the Bar.

The obvious connotation is that Ford is not raising the bar…but they ARE the bar that everyone else chases and tries to obtain.  I love that.

Now, let me be clear, I am not a Ford guy…in fact…I am not an any “brand” guy. I have owned Fords, Chevy, GMC (I am still driving my 14 year old Yukon with 198,00 miles), Toyota and others.

I do like Ford’s confidence and guts to claim to be the best. Is it true? I am not getting into that discussion. But what I do want to look at is being BEST-IN-CLASS…more than just bravado or words, but in actions and deeds. I have used the analogy that you can get a chicken sandwich (and a taco and a burger and…) from Jack-In-The-Box, but if I am looking for a “best-in-class” chicken sandwich, I go to Chick-fil-A.

Our team has made a very INTENTIONAL decision to be the Chick-fil-A of the church software market.  We are not trying to be all things to all people. It is not our competency. We are FACILITY PROFESSIONALS that have developed best-in-class Facility Management software solutions for those responsible to steward their ministry facilities. PERIOD…end of story. No if, and, or but!  We are here to serve the church as it relates to their facilities usage, management, maintenance, integration, controls, training, services, and life cycle planning.

eSPACE does not accommodate member management, child check-in, small groups, accounting, missions trip planning, worship service planning…we are all about FACILITIES.

As we shared last week, given our conviction, we have integrated with many of the “best-in-class” Church Management Software applications…you can see the whole list HERE.

If Facility Stewardship is important to your church, then you owe it to yourself and your congregation to give us a look and see how we can assist you to be EFFECTIVE, EFFICIENT and INTENTIONAL with the facilities God has entrusted to you to steward.

We ARE the Bar!


eSPACE integrates with the tools you use to manage your church. You can now integrate your Church Management Software with the industry leading suite of Facility Management applications including HVAC Integration, Event Management, Work Order Management, and Capital Reserve Planning

Efficiency On Steroids – Church Management (ChMS) + eSPACE

For years, the eSPACE Team has been asked “Does eSPACE integrate with our Church Management Software?”

Great question!

If you have been asking that question and want to utilize the eSPACE Event Management module or HVAC Integration, then we have good news.  For many of you, the answer is YES!

eSPACE has developed an integration of our COOLSPACE HVAC Integration (either via a Building Automation System* or WiFi Thermostats) for the following Church Management Software (ChMS) applications:

  1. Church Community Builder (CCB)
  2. ShelbyNEXT
  3. Rock RMS
  4. Ministry Platform
  5. Elexio
  6. Elexio Community
  7. FellowshipOne GO
  8. Simple Church
  9. FellowshipOne Premier/Event U (there are some specific requirements for this to function…call for details)
  10. Servant Keeper
  11. ACS (HVAC only)

*Some hardware may be required

What is even better…you don’t have to abandon your ChMS calendar as this integration can either work in the background or in the forefront…your choice.

eSPACE has developed an HVAC Integration called COOLSPACE that can integrate with many Building Automation Systems and some WiFi Thermostats.

Welcome to the future of software integration and the world of the “Internet of Things.”

With COOLSPACE/eSPACE integration, you can easily schedule all the events in your facility and know that the HVAC systems will respond to each event as they occur. Not only can you realize energy savings with improved HVAC run-times, your facility staff is able to devote more time to other needs.

For continued efficiency, integration with eSPACE allows your ChMS scheduler to still be the front end interface for your general users and staff while the Facility and Event Management Teams can utilize the robust features of eSPACE as their daily management tool. You do not have to train the majority on new systems, and your facility team can really drill down into the more detailed information and planning tools needed to intentionally manage and maintain facilities.

Do we have your attention?

You are going to want to contact us so we can share how this can help your church be more Efficient, Effective, and INTENTIONAL with the ministry tools God has entrusted to you.

Sound too good to be true?

Welcome to the future of software integration and the world of the “Internet of Things.”

Contact us for more details! 

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.

Bellevue Baptist Church Switches to eSPACE

Over the last year, our team has fielded a growing number of calls from churches using other event scheduling software. Our Lorrie Eriksen, Solutions Strategist, has assisted many of these clients including Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, TN (Memphis area).Bellevue aerial

Bellevue was the sponsoring church that commissioned and initiated the development of ServiceU more than 12 years ago; however, for a variety of reasons, they made the switch to eSPACE late last year. Bellevue is a large church (750,000+ SF on more than 300 acres) with multiple campuses, currently using the eSPACE Event Scheduler and COOLSPACE JACE Driver modules.

So why did Bellevue make the switch to eSPACE?  Steve Cowart, Director of Events Management shares:

“While we were pleased with our previous long-term calendar and scheduling provider, we were concerned about the future because of the many ownership changes they had experienced in the past few years. A couple of years ago we began searching for another provider for these services.

Bellevue has more than 400 spaces that can be scheduled, including classrooms, auditoriums, conference, banquet and other rooms. We knew that a robust scheduling system would be required to manage the facility in order to eliminate scheduling conflicts.

We found the eSPACE product from Cool Solutions Group and researched and tested it thoroughly for almost a year. We found eSPACE to be a powerful system and, most importantly, user friendly. We ‘went live’ with eSPACE in the spring of 2016 and have been very pleased.eSpace_Logo_Md

The relationship with the eSPACE team has been great. The company has responded to our requests for new features and they’ve made slight revisions to existing features. The training offered, both online and at our facility, has been excellent.

We have also found that the product is a great value and we’re saving hundreds of dollars a month compared to our previous provider.”

Debbie Campbell, Ministry Assistant, and Office of the Pastor, has found eSPACE to be a tremendous tool. Here is what she had to say about us:

Our experience with Cool Solutions Group/eSPACE has been wonderful. It has been much better than what you would expect when transitioning from one software to another. The transition was very smooth and couldn’t have gone any better. The eSPACE team was there every step of the way and was always available for any questions or concerns we had. They’ve worked to accommodate our needs in a calendaring system that works great for us.”

“The Event Scheduler has been a great tool for calendaring all our events. One of the many benefits that I love about it is the ability to have multiple schedules within one event entry. Many times, you will need multiple spaces within one event that have different setup or start/end times. Another benefit I love is the Calendar itself. I take advantage of the filtering when searching a certain day for a certain room. The ability to export the calendar to Outlook is a tool our Information Center has taken advantage of. This gives them quick access to all events occurring on a daily basis. I also like to check out The Knowledge Base/Recent updates periodically. It keeps me informed of any updates, fixes or changes that have been made.”

Thank you Bellevue Baptist Church for choosing eSPACE and for entrusting us with your Event and HVAC Scheduling needs.

How are you handling your facility management needs? If you are searching for a solution, we invite you to check out eSPACE. We have the ONLY 3-in-1 Facility Management software solution on the market (Event Scheduler + Work Order Management + HVAC Integration) and the ONLY WiFi thermostats that integrate with our platform.

Come check us out!  

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COOLSPACE Pro

 

Meet Our New Onboarding Specialist

Here we GROW!!!

As our company continues to grow, God has provided the right team members to join our band of dedicated Facility Specialists. He always proves the right person…for the right seat on the bus…at just the right time.

Given our growth and deep passion to serve our clients (and future clients…and you know who you are!) we knew we had to make an adjustment to our customer service efforts.  To that end we have added a new “Onboarding Specialist” – Jennifer Erwin.  This frees up our Customer Service team to focus on serving the needs of our current eSPACE subscribers.  If you are already a subscriber, you know that we go to enormous efforts to provide you with a live person…in the USA…to help address your concerns, questions and overall support.  That is why this change is so important to us…and to you.

So, I asked Jen to share a little bit with you all.  Please join me in welcoming Jen to our team…and family:

A Personal Note From Jennifer Erwin, Onboarding Specialist

jen soloJune 13th was my first day as the Onboarding Specialist at eSPACE/Cool Solutions Group. Onboarding Specialist. Fancy title, right? Not really. I’d rather change my title to “Servant.”

“Servant?” you ask. Yep.

Servant.

And in that servanthood my desire is to train clients to appreciate the software that eSPACE provides – Event Scheduler and Work Order Management platforms as well as our COOL SPACE HVAC Integration and WIFI Thermostats (these are SO COOL!) – so that they are able to better manage the resources with which the Lord has entrusted them.

See, I’m a no-nonsense kind of person. Black-and-white thinker. Logical. Rational. Straight shooter.

Our software is like that, too.

And even though I think it’s pretty awesome, the staff at eSPACE doesn’t want the credit. We want the credit to go to the One who holds it all. We want to help you better manage your spaces, your resources, your locations, your events and your equipment so that you have more time to focus on the Kingdom.

Simple.

We realize that church administrators/leaders wear lots of hats. How many? Lots. In fact, they probably wear more hats than there are proverbial hatboxes in which to store them! But are you – the administrator – insistent on committing to memory all the schedules, events, work orders and calendar items of your church?

Surely not.

Like you, I love people – but I’m not fond of chaos. In fact, here’s a simple formula to remember as you use our software:

Chaos = NOT GOOD. Order = GOOD.

I love hearing potential clients say, “Oh, now THAT’S awesome!” when their minds’ light bulbs flicker on after a demo. I love knowing the moment they’re able to envision how our product(s) can integrate into their current workflow to help better manage it.

Do I know everything there is to know about facilities management or software or training or modules or integration? Nope.

But I do know this: Our program is simple yet comprehensive. It can be as granular or as over-reaching as you want. It can handle your facility related workload – and everyone else’s, too. In addition, I’m listening. I’m documenting. I’m communicating. I’m following up. You want the very best? That’s what eSPACE wants for you, too.

So you have more time to focus on the Kingdom.

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Operational Equality + Intentionality = Operational Efficiency

In a recent blog by Seth Godin (my favorite blogger and author), he outlined what I would refer to as Operational Equality (my words not his…so don’t blame him). Read these 4 sentences from his blog and then sit back and ponder them.  They are far more impactful and revolutionary than they may seem at first blush:

Something rare is happening, and it might not last long.

Today, right now, anyone with a $300 laptop can use the very same tools as the people at the top of just about any industry.

If you want to write, you have the same writing tools available to you as the most successful writers in the world.

If you want to join a social network, well, the software that connects the titans of your industry is the very same software you can use.

For generations, only the rich or elite or privileged or large organizations had all the “best tools” and access to the leading edge technology.  Think about a few examples:

Until the time of the Gutenberg press, only religious elite had access to the Bible and scripture…now many of us carry our Bible in our pockets on our Smart devices in nearly ever translation.

Until recently, only Meteorologists had access to weather forecasts…now with an app on your phone you can get almost as much data

Used to be that only Stock Brokers could assist you with purchasing stocks and bonds…not any more!

10-15 years ago, only the largest facilities had access to building automation systems…today it is rare NOT to have one.

Think about the internet…it does not matter if your organization has 2 people or 2 thousand, we all login to the same internet which means we have the same access.  This is one of the first times in society that “operational” equality has been so flat lined…which means, there are very few reasons to not be working, playing, developing, managing, leading, writing, creating, etc. using tools that are available to organizations smaller or larger than your own.  How many of you still use a 3″ Yellow Pages to search phone numbers? Have you bought a car lately? Did you only rely on the word of the dealer as to the value, service history or life cycle?  Probably not?

Let’s take it another step.  Just because we have a tool/system that “works” (or maybe better said is, “USED” to work when we first implemented it) does not mean it is the best or most efficient tool know. My manual screw drivers still work fine and they “can” get the job done…but my battery powered screwdriver is much more efficient for most applications. My 1986 “car phone” could probably still make calls (maybe) but compared to my iPhone 6S, there is no comparison.  I have faxing capability on my printer…but I cannot tell you the last time I used it. Just because faxing was the best way to send documents 10-15 years ago does not necessarily make it the most productive today. My old Excel spreadsheet used to be fine for managing our corporate books, but QuickBooks is such a better tool and application for financial accounting

Get my point?  I think so.

So as an organizational leader, with responsibility for your physical facilities, are you INTENTIONAL about utilizing the best tools to get the job done?  You virtually have access to the same tools, means and methods as the people managing your local mall or downtown office towers.  Given the myriad of tools, resources, blogs, articles, etc,  there are very few excuses to not be utilizing the most up to date systems and processes to manage your facilities.

Here is a partial list of the tools your organization should be utilizing to increase your Operational Efficiency…and they are all just a click away:

  1. Facility/Event Scheduling Software
  2. Facility Management and Work Order Management Software
  3. Life Cycle Projection Tools
  4. Some level of Building Automation…at least for your HVAC system…maybe WIFI Thermostats (call me for more details!!!)

Anything less is like living in the stone-age.

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