Facilities Management Challenges and Opportunities
The Road Ahead
The workplace is changing in unprecedented ways. It’s not unreasonable to speculate that, in the near future, a much smaller number of people will travel to a location every day and work in an assigned office or cubicle.
Additionally, as the nature of business teams becomes more intricate, companies are seeking to become more agile and cooperative. More people are working remotely and at different times of the day. As a result, coworkers are having fewer personal interactions and communicating increasingly through platforms like email and conference calls.
In our experience, companies are migrating to more agile workplaces in order to:
- recruit a new generation of talent
- retain existing talent
- create a more collaborative workplace
- reduce square footage and contain real estate costs
Achieving these results requires companies to provide their employees with a high level of service. This is more challenging in an agile workplace than a traditional business environment. How do you deliver regular and accountable mail to employees who are in a different place each day and/or might not be in the office at all? How do you make people who may only come to the office two days a week comfortable? How do you schedule and effectively utilize shared conference space? Where and how do you store personal and work-related items?
These and other challenges add up to complex problems for facilities management executives and their teams. In order to navigate the road ahead, they are expected to find solutions, adapt to the changing workplace and deliver superior logistics and other vital services that support the company’s employees and site operations. But that’s not all. FM professionals also are increasingly being asked to accomplish these goals with the same—or fewer—resources and a smaller budget.
With this demanding scenario in mind, our goal for “The Road Ahead” is to help FM professionals:
- share what they consider to be their top priorities
- clarify tools and techniques that might provide an edge in achieving their goals
- identify facilities management activities that present the greatest challenge to success
- uncover possible hidden opportunities for driving continuous improvement in delivering exceptional support services
Which tools, techniques, or methods have the greatest impact on improving facilities support services?
In our survey, FM executives provided their feedback on a number of topics related to these issues, including what they believe are their most important and challenging management responsibilities. Among other important data, “The Road Ahead” has yielded the following key findings:
- Compared with other tools, techniques or methods, facilities management applications offer the greatest impact on improving facilities support services.
- The management responsibility seen as most important is maintaining high customer satisfaction.
- Among jobs that are difficult to staff within facility support services, office support positions are considered the most challenging.
- FM executives specified that maintaining staff levels is the most difficult activity to manage compared to other responsibilities.
- Top among support services that need improvement is data collection and reporting.
Increasingly, organizations are moving toward a different type of work environment: one that is more agile, characterized by unassigned office and desk space. In some cases this new business setting integrates the latest technology, constructed to represent the values of the corporation and designed to attract, develop and retain the best talent while reducing real estate costs.
To help their companies cost-effectively and efficiently manage these kinds of transitions, facilities management operations are looking for fresh approaches. One strategy, for example, is to reduce the number of suppliers by consolidating select support services for the day-to-day workplace services under one supplier, one contract and one uniform service level agreement across all sites. Ideally, this could mean partnering with a supplier capable of delivering more value to the enterprise by supporting logistics processes with Six Sigma practices and logistics management tools.
Other benefits such a partner might offer include flexible staffing to match the client needs; consistent service level agreements; continuous training and improvement and visibility into operational performance metrics and data. Many of these managerial strategies have been spotlighted in this survey. Whatever challenges the future holds, service providers such as Canon will continue to advance new solutions that enable facilities management operations to meet their most important goal: maintaining the finest quality customer satisfaction.