Facility management: 8 key trends shaping a more strategic role
Until relatively recently, the term ‘facility management’ conjured up images of changing light bulbs or mopping floors. Today, it means much more, and its scope continues to expand every day. By integrating facility management into your core business instead of seeing it as a separate process, the facility manager becomes a strategic sparring partner that helps achieve larger business goals.
Besides the cost of employing its workforce, the purchase and management of facilities is likely one of an organization’s largest investments. And until recently, this is how it was considered: merely another necessary expense. But the role of the facility manager is evolving.
Developments like digital transformation – e.g. the Internet of Things (IoT) – create unprecedented opportunities for facility managers to optimize operating conditions and impact the business. Here are 8 important trends in facility management:
1. More user interaction
Practically everybody owns a smartphone today. As a facility manager, why not provide employees with an app they can use to book meeting rooms or report problems with light fixtures, for example.
2. Shift from reactive to preventive maintenance
Reactive maintenance refers to repairs performed after equipment has broken down. While this may look like a good way to save resources, it is a short-sighted approach and not sustainable in the long term. Preventive maintenance is a big step forward: by performing maintenance before equipment failure, you can extend its lifetime and save costs.
3. Buildings interact with facility managers
IoT technology makes buildings increasingly smart. By integrating intelligent software/sensors into equipment, you no longer have to depend on employees to report problems. Your lighting system or air-conditioning unit will send an alert about a failure.
4. Maintenance-as-a-Service (MaaS)
As technology advances, it’s not always easy for in-house teams to keep up and stay knowledgeable about how to fix equipment. Moreover, an in-house repair or maintenance team is expensive. That’s why more companies choose Maintenance-as-a-Service: when buying a product, they ‘subscribe’ to a maintenance plan offered by the supplier. In case of a failure, the equipment notifies a team of trained technicians working for the supplier who will come fix the issue.
5. BIM facilitates smarter maintenance planning and execution
To make maintenance planning smarter, facility managers increasingly rely on Building Information Modeling (BIM) – a 3D digital model that contains important details about a building, such as spatial dimensions and exact locations of wiring and piping. The 3D model shows exactly what assets are behind a wall or above the ceiling, so you can quickly locate an issue when it crops up and fix it in no time.
6. Commercial real estate as an extra business model
Corporations are implementing alternative workplace practices and discovering new ways of working. As a facility manager, you can help management optimize the utilization of space. Online facility reservation and management tools can help pinpoint underutilized facilities and find solutions, such as renting out surface area to another company. The result: better facility management.
7. Transform the workplace to boost business
The evidence speaks loud and clear: there is a strong and proven interrelationship between workplace well-being, happiness, productivity, performance, customer satisfaction and retention. That’s another important aspect of the facility manager’s new role. By focusing on employee experience in transforming the workplace, you can help boost the engagement level in your company – and in doing so, perhaps even help your company win the war for talent.
8. Change is the only constant
Finally, as digital transformation is a continuous innovation process, the role of facility managers and the scope of their jobs will continue to evolve as well. You will regularly have to convert processes, activities and models to keep up with the latest technology, trends and employee demands.