Honeywell Now Integrates With eSPACE


FINALLY…we have developed integration with one of the largest providers of HVAC controls – Honeywell.

For as long as I can remember, Honeywell has been the leader in Building Controls. Whether in the commercial or residential arenas, they have been the leader…and the 800 pound gorilla. With that “notoriety” also comes a certain level of inflexibility, bureaucracy, “king of the hill” mind set and a stigma that they do not “play well with others”.

While all of that may be true, Honeywell has started to provide 3rd party integration and API access to a limited number of their devices. This has opened the door for many companies to develop means by which to allow the end user (i.e. YOU) to integrate their controls with other systems…such as eSPACE Event Scheduler (and the 13+ ChMS systems that eSPACE integrates with).

Our team has now developed, tested and released integration with the following Honeywell controls:

LYRIC PLATFORM

  1. T1 Pro
  2. T4 Pro
  3. T6 Pro (Z Wave, Hydronic, Smart)

NOTE:  Honeywell does not have a means by which we can communicate with their API for their “Total Comfort” systems….which is most of their residential stats.

For more information on the above integration or potential other integrations, contact our team and see how eSPACE integrations can increase energy and operational efficiency!



Operational Efficiency MUST Include Automation

Over the past 4 years, our team has done numerous Facility Condition Assessments. These are evaluations of a church facility that include:

  1. Fresh Eyes Assessment
  2. Identification of deferred maintenance
  3. Development of a Capital Reserve Plan
  4. Bench-marking of facility operational expenses

As we have analyzed these assessments (which every church should have done) we have identified a significant pattern…and not a good one. What we have seen in every one of the FCA’s we have performed, where the facility has some level of deferred maintenance (which has been all), there are 3 significant budget line items that are underfunded:

  1. General Maintenance Budget – the stuff you need to do to keep up with the natural rate of deterioration and wear/tear.
  2. Facility Staffing – Best practices have been proven that you need 1 full time general maintenance staff member for every 35,000 SF of facilities.
  3. Capital Reserves – these churches have deferred as they did not properly plan for the inevitable costs of capital replacement and renewal.

So…how do we remedy this?  GREAT QUESTION!

The easy answer is increase the budget for each of these. There you have it…case closed. NOT!

Most churches cannot immediately increase their budgets to be in keeping with intentional Facility Stewardship.  This means we need another approach. Consider these:

  1. What if we could make our current staff more effective and efficient?
  2. What if we could free up 10-30% of their time to inspect the facility? I would suggest that this kind of increase would reduce the calculation of the number of full time staff needed.
  3. What if the time they had on-the-job was utilized to perform tasks that only a human can perform?
  4. Perform a periodic walk through, meet with vendors and negotiate the best rates, get on the roof every month?
  5. Verify all the emergency lights are operational.
  6. ETC!

With the introduction of the INTERNET OF THINGS over a decade ago, there are few reasons or excuses to not add automation to the routine and mundane tasks of setting HVAC setting, unlocking doors, setting up digital signage.  What if you could automate those tasks…how much more time would your staff have?

If you have not added FACILITeSPACE to your facility automation…now is the time! *Click below for more information.

The Simple Church (Scheduler)

 

Did you know that between 60-75% of all churches in America average less than 200 people on a weekend? That is over 210,000 churches!!!

Do you want to venture a guess as to how many of those churches have facilities that they use on a regular basis? Yeah…me either, but I would venture to say that it is at least 75% (if not more). That is almost 160,000 churches.

Given these statistics and Cool Solutions Group’s passion to serve churches of all sizes, we are so excited to announce the release of the SIMPLE SCHEDULER.

This new facility and event scheduling software is the ideal tool for churches with smaller facilities who just need a “simple” scheduling tool, but need more than Outlook, Google Calendar or paper/pencil can offer.

Here are some of the features of SIMPLE SCHEDULER:

  • Can schedule up to 25 rooms
  • Real time conflict checking and resolution
  • Schedule tables, chairs, projectors and other resources for your event
  • Website calendar integration
  • Simple reporting
  • Simple custom forms
  • In-app communication
  • Event Approval process
  • API to integrate with other ChMS platforms
  • UNLIMITED USERS

All this…and only $25/month.  REALLY?!?! That’s right – you heard us right.  Only $25 a month with no long term contracts.

Do we have your attention? Click HERE and start your free 14 day trial.  We will be right here to help you get started.

Stop Putting Out Fires

Contribution by Deborah Ike, President and Founder of Velocity Ministry Management

Of course, I’m not talking about actual fires (go ahead and put those out).  I’m referring to those proverbial fires where you’re running from one crisis to the next.  That’s what I see happening all too often with churches and their events.  Every ministry department wants to host several events throughout the year (often “planned” a few weeks instead of a few months ahead of time) PLUS the church as a whole hosts events as well.  All of this activity results in exhausted staff, frustrated volunteers, less-than-optimal events, and a congregation overwhelmed by so many event announcements.

Here’s what I often see:

  • The 1-2 weeks before an event, it’s all-hands-on-deck with nearly every other task dropped so all staff members can focus on last minute details for an event
  • No one knows all of the events coming up for the next 12 months
  • Facilities team members are often caught by surprise with requests for room setup and support
  • No single individual has a full understanding of how event plans are coming along or what’s supposed to happen the day of the event
  • Volunteers are frustrated with a lack of clear direction, training, or communication from staff
  • There are a lot of event planning meetings happening but rarely are firm decisions made or actions taken after those meetings
  • There’s a last-minute rush to try and get enough event volunteers
  • The staff barely finishes one event and already has to scramble to work on the next one…that’s coming up in a couple of weeks

Let’s stop the madness, folks. 

There’s a much easier, less stressful, and a more strategic way to host events at your church.  It involves planning ahead, thinking through what’s best (not just what’s good), and being disciplined in your approach.  It’s a bit like eating nutritious food and exercising.  Neither is super exciting but both result in more energy and better health.

If this problem sounds a bit too familiar, join us for the Proactive Event Planning Webinar on October 25th.  I’ll outline a proven process for planning events – one that will help you plan more impactful and less stressful events for your church.  Click here to reserve your spot today.

I’m looking forward to equipping you with a practical, straightforward process that can yield incredible results for your church.

Facility Stewardship – What Is It?

For over 10 years, you have seen me refer to facility stewardship. For some of you this may be still be a new concept. You know what a facility is and you are familiar with stewardship…but how do the 2 go together? I am glad you asked…

Let’s first look at the definition of each:

FACILITY (ies) – something designed, built, installed, etc., to serve a specific function affording a convenience or service.

STEWARDSHIP – (act of being a STEWARD) – a person who manages another’s property or financial affairs; one who administers anything as the agent of another or others.

If you have grown up in the church or been involved in church for any period of time, you have heard the term “stewardship”…and I am sure that in almost every case, it revolved around money or raising money. In these cases, we are generally talking about financial stewardship which is critical to our spiritual life as well as the life of our ministries.

The word “money” is used over 140 times and if you add terms such as “gold” and “silver” the number is huge. For example, financial matters are mentioned more often in the Bible than prayer, healing, and mercy.

But stewardship is not just about money and finances…but refers to (as its definition above indicates) the caring for or oversight of something of someone else’s. The EPA has a section on their website that explains “Environmental Stewardship”. They define it as:

Environmental stewardship is the responsibility for environmental quality shared by all those whose actions affect the environment.

So, how do we apply this to our ministry facilities? Do we really believe that God has entrusted these to us, thus making us stewards of their care and oversight? As I have shared before, I have witnessed churches and ministries spending millions of dollars in the construction and renovation of their facilities…but then fail to maintain them (i.e. steward them). They wave the banner of “stewardship” when raising money to build them…but then neglect their care, management and maintenance. So, the following is a list of attributes that I believe are part of “Facility Stewardship”:

  • Proper cleaning
  • Systematic and proactive Preventive Maintenance
  • Proactive Capital Reserve Account planning
  • Life Cycle analysis and planning
  • Development of a systematic painting plan
  • Proper facility scheduling – this is a key element of stewarding the facility…they were meant to be used
  • Sustainability implementation
  • Vigilant monitoring of operational costs
  • Implementation of energy saving processes (i.e. HVAC interface with a Building Automation System or WiFi thermostats of better yet)
  • Proactive cataloging of facility components and tracking of work orders and service requests

With the above as a backdrop, how are you doing with your Facility Stewardship? What can you implement immediately that would make you a better steward?


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.

JUST RELEASED: Event Registration, Ticketing and Payment Processing

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!

Cool Solutions Group and eSPACE has just released a new “product” as part of our suite of Facility Management Software. This new offering continues to be driven by our passion to “assist organizations to be EFFECTIVE, EFFICIENT and INTENTIONAL with the facilities they have been entrusted to steward.” 

One of the key factors of Facility Stewardship is the utilization of a facility. 

Our facilities are of little merit if they are not used to further the vision and mission of our churches and organizations.”

Our facilities are of little merit if they are not used to further the vision and mission of our churches and organizations. Buildings are designed and built to fulfill a purpose…which must be to accommodate effective and intentional ministry. If that is not so, then why have a facility? That is the primary reason we developed eSPACE

A component of effective facility usage is scheduling and managing events…and allowing people to register for events.  To that end, we are so excited to announce the release of the eSPACE Event Registration tool as part of the Event Management component of eSPACE.  Some of the features include:

  1. Event Registration
  2. Website Integration with Full Customization of Event Forms/Templates
  3. Multiple Venue Process and Workflow
  4. “Wait List” Capability
  5. Multiple Tiers of Ticketing, including FREE and Paid
  6. Check-in using Tickets
  7. Payment Processing of Event Registration Fees
  8. Ability to Sell Products as Part of a Event Registration (i.e. Books, T-shirts, CD’s, etc.)

In addition, we have a bonus that is included…ONLINE GIVING.  We have researched and learned that many organizations prefer to offer their event registration payments with the same online giving component.  Now you can…all within eSPACE.

To learn more, check out this introductory video and contact us to see how our full suite of Facility Management services and products can help you be more efficient, effective and intentional!


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. Download our FREE guide to learn more. 

CAPITAL RESERVE PLANNING

Does VBS Impact Facility Costs?

We recently partnered with Lauren Hunter from Church Tech Today to do some research on the operational impact to church budgets related to the use of the facility for Vacation Bible School. I had not given much thought to this and so when Lauren asked the question, I kicked myself since I didn’t already know the answers.

You can find her entire post HERE…but here are a few points that really stuck out to me.  Most churches…

…did not see a rise in insurance costs

…had some extra trash and water expenses

…had some carpet cleaning and facilities wear and tear that wasn’t optimal but was tolerable

…were willing to pay for background checks to ensure the safety of children

…a few of the church polled no longer offered VBS due to expense or other ministry objectives

But here was the big one for me…most, if not ALL of the churches that our team interviewed that still provided VBS as a church function, felt that the facilities costs involved were more than worth it to share the Gospel with children.

While I am a big fan of operational and budget efficiency…at the end of the day, our ministry facilities are still meant to be a tool to further the gospel and minister to people. Period!

Planning every church event, including Vacation Bible School, involves a myriad of details, including coordinating with multiple departments, reserving rooms and/or services, managing expenses, and communicating the event to potential attendees. Here we provide a simple and effective guide to understanding all the factors the influence event success and how to be INTENTIONAL and IMPACTFUL.

 

Do You Need a "COOL" Solution?

I just love our company name…COOL SOLUTIONS GROUP! When we started the firm in 2008, our branding consultant said that we just had to use my last name in the name of the company.  Since that time, the COOL part has taken on more significance related to the products and services we provide and much less about my name, for which I am thankful.

We do offer some very “cool” solutions and your church or organization may very well be benefited by one of them…maybe multiple solutions.

Before I share with you the various solutions, let me reiterate the WHY we offer these solutions:

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

All of who we are and what we offer is to fulfill that vision and mission. Here is the WHAT we do:

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Intentional Workshop This is an intense process to explore the WHO (are you), WHY (do you exist and do things the way you do), WHAT (is the right tool to fulfill your vision/mission). The INTENTIONAL WORKSHOP includes:

  • Vision Assessment
  • Program Study
  • Master Planning
  • Budget Analysis
  • Concept Design
  • Preliminary Project Budget Projections

Project ManagementIf you are considering a facility expansion of building project, don’t go it alone. Our team of facility specialists have over 30 years of project experience and can walk side-by-side your team to complete your project so that you can continue to focus on ministry.

Existing Facility Assessmentsthese assessment are a tremendous tool to assist churches evaluate:

  • Facility Condition
  • Life Cycle Management
  • Deferred Maintenance
  • Operational Efficiency and Bench marking
  • “Fresh Eyes” Assessment
  • Capital Reserve Planning

We are passionate about assisting organizations be as effective and efficient as possible. Check us out and then CONTACT us to see how we can partner with you!

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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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