Commentary: What the C-Suite Needs To Know About The Future of Facilities Management
The facilities management (FM) industry is characterized by constant change, progress and innovation.
Advancements in everything from technology solutions to workforce management impact the way organizations operate their facilities, and it’s imperative for senior leadership to take note (and keep up) if they want to compete.
While some trends prove to be short-lived, others have real staying power and will continue to shape FM as we know it. With the first half of the year behind us, now is a great time to take stock of how far the facilities industry has come, and more importantly, where it’s headed in the future.
All-In on the Integrated Approach
Integrated facilities management (IFM) is more than a trend—it’s a whole new way of doing business, and it’s taking the facilities world by storm. In fact, industry reports indicate that global spend on IFM services is expected to surpass $152.7 billion by the year 2021.
There are several benefits to the integrated approach, including its ability to:
Bring disjointed systems, tools and processes together, which eliminates silos and improves workflows;
Leveraging technology as a tool and not a cost to the organization;
Streamline and optimize your FM workforce; and
Provide actionable insights into your FM spend that can improve budgeting practices and reduce costs.
Housing information regarding your organization’s key FM business assets under one roof can provide much-needed clarity to facilities managers and C-level executives alike. With a holistic FM platform, facilities managers can access work orders and maintenance requests in real-time, and even make adjustments or updates on the fly. Senior leaders can use this same information to monitor their organization’s FM budget and total spend, giving them a better understanding of what capital is coming in, and what’s going out.
New Tech is Changing the FM Game
In one form or another, technology touches virtually every industry, business vertical and modern company operating in today’s economy. While some businesses are quick to implement new technologies, others prefer to play the long game and approach these innovations with caution. Whichever category you fall into, opting out altogether is really not a viable option if you want your organization to succeed.
When it comes to your facilities program, it helps to do your homework before selecting an FM tech provider. Many FM platforms appear similar on the surface—for example, most providers tout features such as push reporting and budgeting tools—and these features sound great on paper, but they may come at a cost. If the vendor provides a tech platform, do they charge extra “tech fees” on top of their base price? Are reporting features locked in, or can they be customized? Can you run detailed analytics from the platform, and if so, does this require extra training or manpower?
Embracing new technology is key to evolving your organization, but it’s equally important to get answers to these questions before signing contracts.
Focus on Workforce Enrichment
In recent years, the facilities and construction industries have experienced a shortage of skilled laborers. This trend has been putting a strain on companies large and small, with senior leadership feeling increased pressure to “do more with less.”
Completing maintenance requests on time and on budget while also preserving your brand’s image and meeting customer demands can get quite difficult under these workforce constraints. If you’re like many multi-site business leaders, you probably have a hard time finding reliable contractors to complete work orders and routine maintenance projects.
One way to combat the decline in workers is to partner with an FM solutions provider that employs an entire network of service providers. Through this partnership, you’ll gain access to these service providers and greatly enrich your workforce. Plus, you’ll reduce your liabilities knowing that service providers are fully insured with Federal ID and licenses.
As the industry forges ahead into the latter half of 2019, new trends are sure to crop up along the way. Staying in tune with the shifting FM industry, and taking stock every now and then, is the best way to use these trends to your organization’s advantage.
Rob Almond is CEO of NEST, a leader in the integrated facility management space.