The concept of facilities management as we know it today dates back to the 1980s, when the “railway companies in USA conceived the idea of providing facilities-related services as opposed to providing buildings.”-Sciencedirect.com Since its conception, the facility manager's role has always been complex, as they are evolving and taking on new challenges on a daily basis. And supporting all of the regular operations is the facilities manager’s commitment to provide a high level of service for the organization, therefore leading their companies to success.
The modern-day facility manager must meet the needs of multiple customers- company executives, owners, facility employees and, in turn, the company’s clients. Facilities teams are faced with the unique challenge of reducing expenses, while delivering a higher quality of service than ever before. The pressures to reduce employee census, maximize spatial assets, and recruit and retain top industry talent makes delivering the best, in both tools and service, critical to the facility manager’s success.
Perhaps the most demanding challenge, though, is identifying and defining the dynamic needs of customers and measuring related successes. Who determines the matrix for assessing “customer satisfaction” and what tools should be used to measure the effectiveness of the facility manager’s delivery of said services?
The Solution Lies in Communication and the Right Facility Management Tools
To properly address these challenges, facilities managers must be proactive in their approach, building a solid foundation through clear communication of both organizational and individual goals. Facility managers must first identify management expectations and communicate such needs to their workforce. In turn, employees can reciprocate by providing valuable information regarding individual needs, required to accomplish such goals. Once the infrastructure has been laid, it is important that management teams have the necessary reporting tools to measure customer service satisfaction, identifying cracks in the system along the way. Without a way to measure such successes and weaknesses, it is impossible for facilities managers to effectively manage their department, much less the entire organization.
The Challenges in Facility Management
It is important for the facility manager to remember that the workforce is the company’s most valuable asset, moving ideas into action. Thus, it is critical that your organization invest in its employees, empowering them through proper leadership, appropriate training, and affording them access to the latest and most effective workspace tools. Since your workforce is likely comprised of a diverse group of individuals, this can often prove quite challenging.
For many, the space itself is a critical tool. One might thrive in an open space, while another requires a quiet office for success. Additionally, facility managers must ensure every square foot of real estate is maximized, adding a whole new dynamic to their spatial challenges. For those Facilities teams who wish to fulfill their organizational commitments, it is critical to assemble disparate data regarding such spatial factors into one collective, so they are not only able to identify their needs, but also determine the most effective way in which to deliver the proper tools and solutions.
Along with meeting your workforce’s spatial needs, Facilities managers must ensure their customers have adequate resources to work and communicate efficiently, making decisions based on real-time data. Once company goals have been identified, facility managers must meet with departmental heads to determine expectations and priority levels, as well as procedural needs to aid the workforce in staying on target. Key performance indicators must be established around such expectations, which will provide the framework of metrics to be measured.
Facility Management Tools
Identifying organizational and individual challenges and needs sets the foundation; it is now the facility managers responsibility to identify the solution. Many Facilities Management teams have found Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS) to be the comprehensive solution. Such a tool delivers continuity amongst departments, ensuring every user has access to the most relevant data, collected from all the moving parts. An IWMS eliminates redundancy by automating processes and ensuring all disparate systems are unified and working conjointly through the collection and sharing of relevant data. And with SaaS, the workforce has access to the tools they need, regardless of location or time.
Even after all workforce, communication or spatial needs have been addressed, and the proper fixes are in place, it is still critical for your presentation of new methods, procedures and tools to be of maximum benefit to the team which will use these new tools and methods. If your team is unable to see the importance or reasoning behind something new, they are likely to reject it, on some level. Therefore, how you outline the new methodologies, as well as their uses and benefits, will set the framework for smooth and effective transitions.
It’s one thing to complete a job, but another to excel at it. Simply crossing the finish line, even if repeatedly, shows a lack of growth and improvement, which is always a determining factor of success. As a facility manager, you must always strive to deliver results, but you should also be examining your output to make sure the measurements of quality are on par with the measurements of completion.