Regardless of the size or industry, managing a facility comes with many challenges. With the business landscape moving at an exponentially faster pace, these challenges will only continue to evolve for the future. Everything from building hardware and software systems to employee management techniques are multi-layered and complex. Many of the current expedited expectations can be traced to the influx of technology. The faster data and information can be processed, the greater the necessity to keep up. Fortunately, this same technology can be one of the biggest keys to successfully handling the job of facilities manager by providing tools which think and process at a fraction of the time of their human counterparts. In this installment, we’ll be looking at some of the greatest challenges and most useful solutions for staying ahead of the curve and remaining a successful FM.
1) Managing and Utilizing Data
Historically, data management and analyzation is at the heart of an FM’s job description. Being able to track workplace progress and needs requires knowing the numbers. Unfortunately, the older methods required the FM to continually pore over reams of spreadsheets, just to face a new batch by the time the last was being digested. Now, with available technology able to perform the bulk of the work, the job shifts to making sure the real estate decision makers and planners are properly implementing changes and adjustments to use said data successfully and fully. A software system which helps analyze, make predictive suggestions, and communicate results to the rest of the team is the best option and helps businesses become more proactive and less reactive.
2) Multigenerational Workforces
With our more seasoned employees preparing for retirement, and the younger workforce changing jobs at three times the rate of past generations, many companies are looking for greater stability and faster, lower learning curve training programs. Training new employees and retaining existing staff can be a challenge. Fortunately, many systems offer continuing education training programs, which grow with the employees and their levels of expertise. Always learning and moving forward is attractive to younger workers and keeps older employees in the loop longer.
3) Maximizing New and Existing Real Estate
When looking at real estate holdings and new acquisitions, FMs must be able to understand the various scenarios that can both positively and negatively impact the business’ bottom line. Everything from storage and work spaces, to designing floorplans that meet the dynamic needs of their workforce, is critical to keeping pace with industry trends and workforce requirements. Precision in this area has a trickle down effect, generating millions through increased productivity and saving millions in cost reduction.
4) Communication and Information Sharing
“The energy and cost of creating a highly engaged organization may sound daunting, yet the comparative costs of higher employee turnover, lower productivity, and less impressive client interactions is a much greater cost to an organization. Investing in your people to build engagement has the largest ROI of any investment you could make in your company! Engaged team members are the root of successful growth, new innovative ideas, and superb customer experiences that get your organization recommended!” ~Christina Rowe, The Collaborative Team
As mentioned previously, being able to share the results of data mining, as well as various other facets of the organization, is critical for the health and growth of the entire team. Real-time sharing of data and communication between employees at all levels helps maintain transparency and boosts engagement, ensuring the business’ short and long-term goals stay on track.
5) Vendor Partnerships
When considering the success of a facilities management team, it bears noting the partnerships which exist outside the walls of the facility itself. What type of relationship has your team built with outside vendors? How often are they communicating – are they communicating before a problem arises or trying to scramble to fix an existing problem? What processes are in place and what tools are being used to ensure minimal downtime? Regular communication and automated monitoring of facility needs helps keep everything running smoothly.
6) Accurate Cost Analysis
Real estate decision makers and planners are often looked to as the problem solvers, particularly in the eyes of C-Suite. This usually directly correlates to the bottom line, a critical piece of the overall picture. In reality, everyone involved has a stake in the organization’s financial health. Software systems, which can predict future costs and maintain a watchful eye of existing occupancy numbers, facility maintenance, and procedures, helps provide regular snapshots of where the business is in meeting its goals. Consistent data collection, vendor communication, and workforce support contribute greatly to the bottom line costs associated with running a successful business.
While the FM’s role is expansive, those who embrace innovations in business tools and all they have to offer, now have the support and information necessary to drive growth and success. Software solutions, such as SpaceTrak, provide the data needed to effectively manage a company’s current real estate and business landscape, while planning for future needs. The impact on the bottom line proves the invaluable effect both the facilities manager and investment in technological tools can have on organizational success.