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News & opinion

7 SEP 2018

Competition is driving the adoption of Strategic Facility Management

If the 20th century was about human management, the 21st century could very well be the era of facility management. Corporate enterprise must adapt or be left behind.

Effective, strategic facility management (FM) is poised to be among the most significant demands facing corporate enterprise in coming decades. Much as scientific management changed how we view productivity and the internet transformed information access and communication, the integration of people, place, process and technology that defines FM is altering the built environment and changing the way we do business.

Early adopters have already harnessed the potential strategic FM provides. Smart buildings run by smart people can improve the productivity, health and satisfaction of occupants while at the same time using fewer resources and costing less money. Organisations that understand this are strengthening their competitive advantage by attracting and retaining the best employees, enhancing company culture and improving customer interactions.

As this realisation begins to permeate the global business community, we’ve seen the emergence of three central themes within the profession. First, there is value in unification. The haphazard approach to FM that led to dramatically different protocols even within a single company’s real estate portfolio is giving way to empirically tested, standardised solutions.

Second, FM must be integrated into the built environment conversation from the start. Fewer organisations are designing and building facilities without considering operational realities, which ultimately account for 85% of their total cost.

Third, with so much attention on smart building technology and the Internet of Things, it’s increasingly vital for organisations to rely on well-trained people who know how achieve expected facility performance.

Fortunately, as market forces drive wider adoption of strategic FM, there are more resources available than ever before. In recent years, the International Organization for Standardization released the first global standards for FM. The collaboration between RICS and IFMA is helping to integrate FM principles into other disciplines across the life-cycle of the built environment. The suite of credentials and professional qualifications offered by IFMA and RICS provides options for workforce development that fit the rising demand for skilled FM professionals.

The Strategic FM Framework provides companies with a process for reviewing their organisation’s future design and structural needs based on risks and stakeholder requirements. This is an excellent resource to reference before deciding how best to deliver FM services. Strategic facility management is about determining the link between overall organisational goals and specific FM targets, then selecting the most effective means of accomplishing both.

I speak from experience, as I personally utilised this process in 2012 for a major FM transformation. That year, thanks to this process, we were recognised as the FM team of the year in Asia Pacific. I am pleased to see that the latest release of the strategic FM guidance note includes updated details on the new ISO standards, which will help organisations properly apply FM to enable future business success.

Graham Tier
Chair, Board of Directors
International Facility Management Association