By Phil Gregory, Senior Regional Executive: Johnson Controls Global WorkPlace Solutions, Middle East & Africa
The globalisation of Facilities Management (FM) has come about as the result of the rising cost of space – and maintaining that space. Real estate property and facilities management are, for most organisations, the second or third highest cost of running a business. This puts it on the executive’s radar, making it a strategic issue. For multinationals, globalisation of FM strategies is delivering the desired efficiencies and driving greater value from their built assets. For everyone else, the globalisation of FM is creating a solid body of industry specific benchmarks and best practices, and new and innovative approaches are emerging.
So what trends will we see in the global FM industry over the next five years?
- There will be increased use of sophisticated cost and performance data from property assets, enabling better global benchmarking to drive improved efficiency and effectiveness of buildings.
- The globalisation of the industry will continue as organisations seek to consolidate their strategies for buildings.
- The evolution of smart buildings will also have an impact on FM, with intelligent building technologies used to control heating/cooling, security and energy consumption from anywhere in the world.
These trends are likely to create a clear distinction between mere aggregators of FM services (general maintenance) and FM service providers that can provide the gamut of services – e.g., property portfolio management, design, project management, integrated technologies, strategic consulting, and energy and facilities management services. These services are underpinned by world-class service level agreements that deliver the value organisations need to see.
The key issues are reducing costs and optimising the value of built assets. For that you need to be able to assess and optimise performance of the assets at a number of levels, and have the monitoring and evaluation frameworks in place to maintain and refine performance, continually taking advantage of new technologies, approaches and solutions. Real time data provides the foundation to achieve all of these benefits. Integrated building management systems provide the technological intelligence to measure and monitor, but also control. And with the tools in place, little replaces the advantage a dedicated provider of specialised and/or integrated FM services can offer.
What are the multinationals doing?
There are huge benefits to be gained through use of a single outsourced supplier with global reach that can manage an entire real estate property portfolio. Organisations like IBM, Verizon and the BBC, GlaxoSmithKline and Bristol-Myers Squibb, BP and Shell, have achieved the ideal of working with real-time data. They understand what they are achieving and where they can improve with regards to their built assets, and have a number of strategic options to select from. For them, FM is about ongoing improvements in health and safety, security and environment, and about pursing productivity and operational excellence. It’s also about introducing innovative, scalable and sustainable solutions, together with their FM service provider, to unlock future value.
Clearly, on a large scale, a global portfolio approach to managing facilities and resources delivers meaningful financial and operational benefits. Organisations want to maintain a high quality, environmentally friendly work environment for employees, achieve operating efficiencies and improve overall business performance – but challenges and requirements differ across industries. Global FM service providers have built expertise in a number of markets, like oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, finance and corporate, communications, and deliver competitive advantage to clients in these sectors through a focus on continuous improvement.
These benefits will apply equally to smaller organisations within industry sectors who make use of outsourced, professional FM. Staying on trend is important. In this case, it can impact organisational competitiveness. If real time data and integrated FM have not yet occurred to you, it may be time to raise the issue.
First steps? Find an FM organisation with the insight, the tools and the ability to implement and who can offer a guaranteed service level agreement. Do the audit. Create the strategy. Implement.