September 14, 2017

3 recommendations for Facility Management Service Providers

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) recently released a report in collaboration with the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) titled “Raising the Bar: From Operational Excellence to Strategic Impact in FM.” As the report says, “The term ‘Facility Management’ continues to be a complicated label. Its perceived focus on the physical environment itself detracts from its impact on the most important organizational resource: the people who use the workplace to produce value for the business.”

Research - Disruptive information technology trends affecting the facility management service provider industry

In a joint research report with Panorama, Planon discusses the disruptive technology trends in the service provider industry and our insights into the future.

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It goes on to emphasize that for facility management service providers, doing things right and doing the right things are both strategic business decisions that demand time and attention.  As one of my colleagues wrote in an article in the FMJ, demonstrating the value of facility management has become an important task for both corporate real estate and facility managers, as well as service providers.

While the RICS report includes a lot of information specific to the real estate occupier side of facilities, it concludes with a few recommendations targeted specifically to facility management service providers:

1. Support initiatives that make FM a career of choice

That facility management professionals are aging and that there is a war for talent in this field is well known, but I was shocked by the dramatic numbers put forth by the report. More of RICS’ facility management professional members are over the age of 70 than under the age of 30. IFMA reported similar numbers with the average age of members being over 50.

This age gap creates an even larger knowledge gap that will change the way service providers onboard and train new employees. But it also emphasizes the need for encouraging FM as a career choice to develop the next generation of employees.

2. Explore newly emerging technologies

There is a need to adopt technology more broadly and more quickly than in the past. As the Internet of Things becomes commonplace in consumers’ lives, it will become expected of the workplace as well. Self-reporting smart assets that allow for just-in-time maintenance will influence new contracts that expect 100% up time, and the ability to do almost anything from your phone will change expectations of how long a project should take.

Exploring technologies now – and ensuring you have a stable software platform to manage your business operations – will prevent service providers from falling behind their competitors who embrace these developments.

3. Develop data and metrics to measure performance and outcomes

The RICS report specifically mentions creating “dashboards” and to focus on metrics that assist with facility management decision-making at a strategic, tactical and operational level. Planon has long understood the need for transparency into performance levels, and dashboards in our customer portal easily show key metrics and performance indicators.

The report has a few other recommendations, for both service providers and in-house facility managers. 

Marc Wetzelaer
Former Director Services Providers