Facility management is much more than the management of buildings and services – it is critical to the successful functioning of every organization which occupies property or manages infrastructure that supports society.
Successful FM delivers in part through a complex set of relationships which is probably wider than that of any other organizational function with seven distinct features as briefed below:
1. Strategic and operational plans
Strategic planning and operational planning are both vital for success. This requires an understanding of the significant external factors affecting support services, and an awareness of the possibilities of adopting or creating new solutions.
A strategic plan describes the mission, vision, and high-level goals for the next three to five years. It also takes into account how you’ll measure those goals, and the major projects you’ll take on to meet them. An operational plan is the actionable steps for the near future and those that must be taken in order to achieve the goals and objectives stated in the strategic plan. This plan will answer questions of who, what, when, and how much. Every facility manager should have copies of these plans within arm's reach and the documents should be dog-eared to reflect repeated use and reference.
2. Service design and implementation
Customer-related performance measures describe the way in which value may be created for customers and how customer demand for this value is to be satisfied.
A successful FM strategy should be supported by effective service delivery of the required outcomes. It is important to understand and manage customer expectations to implement a successful strategy. Communication should be two-way, and mechanisms should be established to receive feedback on services as well as to explain their implementation. Effective feedback is essential to service development. Facility managers should document the obligations of the FM service, whether it is provided internally or externally.
3. Leadership and resource management
The foundation of successful service delivery is the facility management leadership team. Any service plan should therefore begin by ensuring the leadership team is in place, and possessing a combination of management skills, which include:
- General management
- Strategic planning
- Financial management
- Human resources
- Risk management
- Procurement and supply chain management
- Health, safety, and environmental management
- Technical elements of each facilities service
After the leadership team has been established, the next fundamental decision concerns service configuration. A task breakdown analysis is to be carried out to determine the approximate working time required for each task, and the skills required to carry it out safely and effectively by utilizing all available opportunities.
4. Information management
There are countless requirements for records and documents to be maintained relating to the operation of facilities. The reports provide snapshots in time for a facility manager to learn about accomplishments, trends, and opportunities for future FM participation. These include statutory and regulatory documents, operating licenses, financial and contractual records, safety records, employment and safeguarding, and so on.
5. Development plans
Innovation can involve either creating a wholly new solution or adapting and adopting solutions that have been created elsewhere for another situation. Facility managers are responsible for innovation in their properties and should be aware of developments within their sector, in the industry at large, and in associated disciplines like surveying, architecture, design, finance, and general management, to be able to apply new solutions to the properties and services under their control. In a product or service-driven corporate environment, researching new products or services in the pipeline gives a facility manager a perfect excuse to spend time with department heads responsible for these decisions. Decisions about new products and services also have the potential to affect FM service delivery, making it imperative for a facility manager to be proactively involved with the scheduling and timing of new products and services.
6. Business continuity and disaster recovery plans
Maintaining a functioning facility at all times is a key requirement of FM, therefore the effective management of risk and of risk events should be incorporated into any FM strategic plan. Business continuity focuses on risk evaluation and control, business impact analysis, and continuity strategies to ensure complete or partial business continuity. As the impact of risk can range from inconvenient to catastrophic, disaster recovery planning is one of the elements least suitable for generic planning. Although there may be contingency plans and options available, knowing which is the most appropriate is likely to be dependent on the severity and duration of the risk event. Risk events with severe impacts are relatively unusual, facility managers should take every opportunity to learn from them.
7. Project management principles
A project requires justification through an approved business case, an effective governance structure, a financial control and reporting capability, and a change management plan, including stakeholder communication. It is not enough to undertake the project: it should also be completed on time, within budget, and reported to key stakeholders.
This article is written by Prajil Prabhakaran, Engineering Manager at Reliance Facilities Management LLC.