Most business don’t realize how much money they could be hemorrhaging because of inefficient lighting and electrical systems. Facility Solutions Group (FSG) designs, installs, and maintains better lighting and electrical systems for business customers in a wide variety of industries so that those customers can spend less on their operation and more on growing their business. We sat down with Brannon Bourland, FSG’s Director of Marketing, to gain more insight into how FSG does this:
Q: Tell us something about your history, how did you start?
A: Businesses rarely realize how much their facility is truly costing them. Sure, there’s the rent, the utilities, the regular maintenance and repairs– the obvious costs— but to really know what a building is costing an operator can be a tricky. I had this realization early on in my career while managing a small facility and fleet. I discovered that the real cost of operating that facility and fleet didn’t always show up with a nice, easy to read receipt attached. Instead, the real cost of operating a facility always seemed to raise its ugly head while I was at the dinner table with my family or while I was on vacation at the lake house– with no cell phone service! Something was always breaking or breaking down at the most inopportune moments and as the facility manager, it was my job to find a solution. This almost always led me to Home Depot right before closing time for that one part to get the A/C back online or that valve so we could have running water by opening time the next day. It was this realization– the fact that lost opportunity was perhaps the most expensive part of operating a facility- that lead me down a career path of finding solutions for facility and fleet operators. My first entrance into more streamlined operations came in the form of building automated vehicle tracking systems for large fleets. This grew to incorporate buildings and has landed me at FSG– where our whole purpose is to help facility operators save money through more efficient technologies and better practices when it comes to operating their lighting and electrical systems.
Q: What is a Smart Building?
A: A smart building is simply a building that monitors and maintains its own health so that a facility operator can spend more time on the projects and priorities that help grow the business. To do this, smart buildings will use sensors and algorithms to do things like set the thermostats automatically so the A/C doesn’t have to work too hard in the summer, or dim the lights when no one is in a particular area so that energy isn’t wasted on lighting that isn’t needed. Smart buildings can be connected to monitoring services with real, live people watching data coming from that smart building 24 hours a day– predicting a failure in the HVAC system or even dispatching a plumber in the middle of the night if a major water leak is detected! Smart buildings can be interconnected to POS systems to help develop customer shopping patterns to more accurately predict what a building needs to do in order to handle larger or smaller customer loads. Smart buildings can even fix themselves, to a certain extent, by shutting down systems that report anomalies in order to prevent further damage, or even damage to begin with– and that feature right there is the the most amazing thing a smart building can do for a facility manager. Because that means that when a failure occurs, it can wait. It can wait until you’ve finished dinner or until you get back from the lake. Smart buildings are designed to be buildings that minimize lost opportunity– and that opportunity can be both professional and personal!
Q: What kind of technology services do you offer?
A: I think the biggest challenge a building owner or operator faces is the fact that their building is a necessary part of their business that they care greatly about, however, most people working in that building don’t care as much as the building owner or facility manager does. FSG brings technologies to the table for building owners and operators that help them operate their buildings more efficiently and effectively so they can focus more time and money on using their building to grow their business. FSG’s energy management system, Clarity™, is perhaps the most clear cut technology service that FSG offers with respect to this. Clarity™ puts sensors on just about any system you can imagine in a business and then sends data from those sensors up to Clarity™’s software platform. At that point, the data is turned into information and Clarity™ helps the facility owner/operator make proactive decisions to help save money and time. Clarity™ can even go so far as to do some of the things we talked about in the last question- such as shut a failing system down- or dispatch a repair truck for an emergency failure like a broken water pipe!
Q: Other than that, what else do you provide to your clients?
A: Again, every product or service FSG offers is offered with the goal of reducing stress on a facility operator. Our focus has been and continues to be on those systems related to the lighting and electrical operations of a business. We’ve found through the years that those systems can be expansive and include not just plugs, switches, and light bulbs, but also include signs, A/V, and structured cabling! To this end, FSG offers signage, technology, and EMS, as well electrical contractor services, lighting services, and services related to managing utility bills for customers with utility providers that offer rebates and incentives.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: Invest, invest, invest. All of the things we’ve discussed today have one endgame in mind. Put more money back into the businesses of the clients we serve and work with. The same holds true for us as well. As a company, we’re committed to more efficient and effective operations and projects that allow us to invest more in our people, our technology, and our business as a whole! It’s these investments that will not only take us well into the 21st century as a company, but will also leave a lasting legacy of efficiency and efficacy for our grandchildren and beyond.