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Could Integrated Facilities Management Benefit Your Business?


October 19, 2021     5 minute read

The short answer is yes. Facilities management (FM), long considered an expense of no strategic consequence, is integral to a company’s success. It has the capacity to impact employee productivity, customer experience, and everything in between. If FM efficiency is lacking, the effects will echo throughout the organization.

Integrated Facilities Management (IFM) is a holistic approach to FM that drives operational efficiencies, uncovers insights, and generates cost-saving opportunities beneficial to any business一especially those with multiple sites. Here are several ways how:

Improved Operations 

The coronavirus pandemic, labor shortages, high rent, and rising energy costs have taken a toll on retail outlets. In 2021 and beyond, keeping stores open and inviting has become more important than ever.

An IFM solution that includes a comprehensive work order management system, reliable service provider network, and complete program visibility can meet these challenges head on. Optimize service visits across the fleet to address enhanced cleaning protocols, improve preventative maintenance, minimize equipment downtime, and maximize store foot traffic. 

In addition, access rich data to identify problem areas, achieve greater operational efficiencies, and drive more effective spend across the entire program

Considering the complex logistics of these challenges, achieving the same results is nearly impossible with a traditional, tactical FM program. 

Better Brand Protection 

Your brand is your most valuable asset. If the in-store experience includes a broken dressing room light, grimy floor, or even worse一a malfunctioning bathroom, chances are your brand promise has fallen short. Business may suffer.

A quality IFM partner can help maintain a winning brick-and-mortar experience to support your company’s brand and reputation. NEST’s IFM solution, for example, includes highly skilled independent service providers (ISP) trained to meet clients’ FM requirements. Their work is evaluated against pre-established Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and reviewed by an on-the-ground Quality Assurance (QA) team to ensure user expectations are met一the first time.

By bringing a strategic understanding to the FM tasks required, NEST offers increased opportunities for users to delight customers and increase repeat business.

Full Integration With Existing Business Systems

Most in-house FM programs use a legacy work order management system that doesn’t integrate (or only partially) with existing business systems. That means users must capture FM program data in one system and move it to another for review and analysis. This process is labor and time intensive and rife with potential for error, missteps, and data loss. This can hamstring an organization’s ability to pivot under quickly changing conditions, a key competency for staying viable, if not competitive, in today’s fast-paced marketplace.

An IFM solution, however, can include a nimble work order management system that easily integrates with existing business systems. It can make relevant and actionable data on FM operations and spend available to the C-suite, finance, sales, marketing, and so on. Increased FM program visibility across various business functions mitigates opportunities for mistakes and delays and enables better decision-making throughout the organization一at speed.

Better Tracking & Budgeting

In the sage words of Lord Kelvin, famous for inventing the absolute temperature system that includes his name, “If you cannot measure it, you cannot control it.” The same is true for facilities management. An FM program with legacy software, siloed functions, and other operational inefficiencies is difficult to measure accurately, and therefore, can’t be managed efficiently.

By comparison, an IFM solution such as NEST’s addresses FM challenges holistically. Its industry-leading work order management system and pre-negotiated service fees make tracking, budgeting, and forecasting easier and more accurate.

Financial and programmatic data such as year-on-year spend, variance analysis, first-time completions, repair and maintenance spend by store, and work orders by store, are constantly updated and available so that adjustments can be made proactively, and in real time.

Improved Risk Management 

With several (or even hundreds) of sites to oversee, how well can you manage your service providers? Are they all appropriately licensed? Fully insured? Do you have the time to recruit at the level you need? If the answer to any of these questions is no, there may be more liability risk in your system than you’d like.

A comprehensive IFM solution can include a robust vetting protocol for its service provider network to ensure members are fully compliant. As part of its IFM solution, NEST includes a separate compliance team to ensure vendors stay current with their required licenses, insurance, training requirements, and background checks. This improves risk management and better protects you from potential liability down the road.

More Opportunities for Cost Savings 

By its nature, FM is highly complex. It involves a motley collection of functions and tasks that can range from trialing business continuity protocols to changing the oil in a commercial lawnmower or the flowers in the reception area. By measuring the cost of tasks in isolation, interdependencies get missed, which gives an inaccurate view of what the true cost of something is. 

If the lawn doesn’t get mowed, that could be a health and safety violation, which could prompt closure, unplanned downtime, and lost revenue. What happens if an untrained service provider arrives to fix the lawnmower? That may require pulling another, better-trained vendor from another task一which is likely to add marginal cost to the total.

However, an IFM provider that uses a total cost approach to FM takes these interdependencies into account. Throughout the system, interdependencies are analyzed, inefficiencies identified, then rectified. 

With an IFM solution in place, the case described above could be avoided in several ways: a better understanding of service provider capabilities, use of pre-negotiated service fees, backup lawn equipment on hand, and so on. And any of these solutions could provide an opportunity to capture savings across the entire program.

Elimination of Fees

As a rule, service providers require access to an organization’s work order management system to receive and provide work order updates. However, legacy work order software programs often charge vendors to use their technology. And while fees are generally only a few dollars, that’s a few dollars per service provider, per work order, per location. Naturally, these add up and are mostly passed along to the user. 

In addition, legacy systems also charge users subscription or “tech fees”  to leverage the system and subsidize future tech upgrades.

However, a quality IFM provider such as NEST doesn’t charge service provider fees or tech fees. Access to NEST’s work order management software, Facilitate, is free to service providers and other users, and NEST doesn’t add additional subscription fees of any sort to your bill. 

Increased Agility 

In today’s fast-moving marketplace, staying competitive requires all business functions to pull in the same direction at the same time. Sourcing, production, marketing, sales, finance, operations, IT, HR, and the C-suite must collaborate effectively to achieve business objectives and move the ball forward.

FM plays a significant role in this process, regardless of how healthy the program is. With an IFM solution that provides real-time data and opportunities for improved efficiencies and cost savings, your FM program can be part of the solution. It can help empower the organization to be more agile, pivot when needed, and inform leadership strategies. A traditional FM program that functions tactically simply can’t keep up.

The NEST IFM Solution 

NEST offers a unique IFM solution that includes all of these benefits, and more. With a best-in-class work order management platform, comprehensive ISP network, 24/7 operational support, and a wealth of financial consulting expertise, NEST is the IFM partner to revolutionize your FM program and better prepare your organization for the future.

Contact NEST to learn more about how Integrated Facilities Management can benefit your business today.

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