The role and function of facilities management (FM) have changed significantly over the last few years. Once limited to processing work orders and completing repairs, FM professionals today oversee complex operations involving space, technology, infrastructure, and various stakeholder requirements.
According to University of California Irvine’s quarterly Division of Continuing Education Magazine: “Keeping the country's infrastructure humming along, whether we're talking public or corporate facilities, is crucial to economic growth and efficiency. It also presents a set of challenges that have grown more complex and urgent…for…[facilities] management staff.”
Work order tracking一including service provider management一while important, is one component of a much larger and more sophisticated operation. Furthermore, the nuanced complexities of FM may be lost on decision makers at the executive level due to their vastly different roles and responsibilities. This can lead to a gap in information—and communication—between FM teams and the C-suite.
FM Managers Constantly Juggle Tactical & Strategic Demands
Whether they handle a chain of 4,000 retail stores or a dozen medical offices, facilities managers of all stripes often face similar challenges.
Successful managers act as the liaison between facilities, employees, and third-party service providers to address their organization’s most pressing needs. However, they must also think strategically about long-term goals and preventive measures that keep store personnel safe, happy, and productive at each location—while also supporting the in-store customer experience.
But focusing on strategic initiatives can be challenging, with a constant flow of open work orders needing processing, management, and follow-up. For many FM leaders, it’s nearly impossible to get out from under an endless pile of paperwork. Add reporting responsibilities and administrative tasks to the list—not to mention many FM teams are understaffed to begin with—and the result can be defeating.
Leaders Across an Organization Often Have Different Needs But the Same Goals
While the C-suite wants to see both short-and-long-term goals met, it isn’t typically involved in the day-to-day minutiae familiar to most facilities managers. Executive leadership is primarily concerned with program-level results—such as hitting benchmarks, optimizing ROI, and keeping FM costs to a minimum. Though they want to see their facilities department succeed, they may not be aware of the inefficiencies FM teams face on a routine basis or how improvements in operational efficiency, for example, could benefit the organization more broadly.
How an Integrated Facilities Management Solution Bridges the Gap & More
The challenge facing many organizations then becomes: How do we equip facilities managers with the tools they need to be more efficient and less tactical, and fully leverage the value a high-functioning FM program can deliver? And relatedly, how do we keep company leadership abreast of key FM trends and events?
An Integrated Facilities Management (IFM) solution grounded in industry-leading technology can bridge the information gap with game-changing data and insights that benefit the facilities manager and their C-suite counterparts. A top IFM program should include the following components:
Advanced Work Order Management Software & Robust Analytics
An advanced, holistic work order management platform that includes customizable reporting capabilities, easy-to-use dashboards, and mobile access enables all parties to see the full scope of work being conducted in real time.
When combined with robust analytics functionality, the work order management software can provide crucial data points and trends to inform decision-making. This enhanced visibility benefits senior leadership and facilities teams alike—CFOs and CIOs can see which benchmarks they’re hitting or missing, and facilities managers can see what tweaks need to be made on the floor that may lead to extra savings.
Homegrown solutions and legacy systems just don’t measure up.
Increased transparency into an FM program combined with leading financial consulting can help an organization save money through better budgeting and forecasting. Expert financial consultants can assist in “telling the story” behind program data and framing insights into dollars and cents that resonate with organizational leadership.
Independent Service Provider Network & Operational Command Center
A locally sourced, deep Independent Service Provider (ISP) network can provide reliable quality service to ensure client expectations are met—if not exceeded—every time. When combined with a centralized, operational command center on the job 24/7/365, service provider compliance, scheduling, progress, and follow-up are handled. This helps mitigate risk, increase overall ISP ROI, and frees up the internal team to address strategic initiatives instead of day-to-day tactical tasks.
An Added Advantage? Streamlined Communication
Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden famously said, “Teamwork is not a preference, it’s a requirement,” and the now-popular adage has become the rallying cry of employees who understand that some projects require a collaborative approach.
For multi-site facilities to run efficiently, FM team members need to collaborate not only with each other, but those operating at different levels of their organization. When deployed successfully, an IFM solution can improve program efficiency, save cost, and move an organization to a more agile footing.
In the end, executive decision makers and facilities managers share the same goals: to optimize processes, improve productivity, and boost their organization’s bottom line. With the support of a holistic, technology-driven IFM solution, FM teams can transcend the purely tactical aspects of facilities management to focus more on strategy. This simple shift in how facilities managers operate can elevate the role of FM teams—and increase their effectiveness—across an entire organization.