As we highlighted in a recent survey report, companies are migrating to more agile workplaces in order to recruit a new generation of talent, create a more collaborative workplace, reduce square footage and contain real estate costs. Achieving these results requires companies to provide their employees with high-level facilities management services—a more demanding task in an agile workplace than in a traditional business environment.

In a presentation based on the survey report, Canon executives highlighted several key trends that are expected to alter the business landscape for facilities management during the next few years. Several of these trends, spotlighted in this whitepaper, are driving organizations to consider consolidating space and/or relocating in order to realize such advantages as lowering operational costs, attracting a new generation of employees and supporting these employees with the highest levels of facilities services.

These are the key trends that may alter the business landscape for facilities management during the next few years.

Working Virtually

The first trend to consider is that fewer employees are traveling to an office location every day. Many workers today prefer to operate virtually, a practice that is increasingly becoming acceptable to enterprises across all major industries. Canon describes this new environment as an agile workplace in which seating and desk space are unassigned, provided as needed when employees are in the office.

Many companies are encouraging this trend because, with fewer people coming to the office, there are business benefits to be gained. These include considerably reducing the amount of office space required to run the business and the ability to attract and retain top talent. In our experience based on working with many different clients, a company can potentially reduce office space by 30 to 60 percent by migrating from a traditional to agile work environment.

Recruiting Talent

Today’s employees work differently. One distinction is that they expect a higher level of service. This challenges organizations looking to recruit the best talent to offer an agile, attractive workspace supported by customized services and leading-edge digital technology. A reason for the latter is that increasingly, today’s workers are true “digital natives,” a term generally referring to individuals born after the widespread adoption of digital technology. These workers have grown up using technology like the Internet, computers and mobile devices. This exposure to technology in the early years is believed to give digital natives a greater familiarity with and understanding of technology than people who were born before it was widespread.

Today's employees expect a higher level of service.

Reducing Costs

In addition to providing a superior workspace and top quality services in order to attract today’s best workers, facility managers face the perennial challenge of meeting such objectives while containing costs. Another way to put it: FM professionals are constantly asked to do more with less.

There is no easy solution to achieving this goal because so many dollars have already been squeezed out of budgets. For years facility executives have been renegotiating contracts in an effort to save money by reducing staff and lowering the cost of supplies. However, the strategy of cutting back can only go so far for a company that expects to achieve high levels of facility service and attract top talent. To attain these goals, as pointed out earlier, organizations increasingly are migrating to an agile work environment.

Bringing the Challenges to Life

A global company wanted to reduce their overall headcount and labor expenses by 20 percent. The company engaged Canon, which moved ahead by assuming management of the company’s FM staff and implementing changes to advance the operation. One example is warehouse management, which spans the receipt, storage, inventory control and distribution of virtually everything that moves throughout the company’s main campus, including hazardous materials. Canon helped improve the efficiency of many of these activities by installing a sophisticated asset tracking and management system. The system offers many benefits, particularly better accountability in the form of a chain of custody for tracking the flow of mail, parcels, property, files, print jobs, services, people and more—as they enter and move around the campus.

By integrating FM functions and implementing new technologies and approaches, Canon has helped the company save thousands of dollars annually. Canon and its client are also examining ways to ensure continuous process improvement by leveraging Canon’s quality management capabilities. This includes Canon’s expertise in Six Sigma-based methodologies and BusinessInsights, Canon’s analytics and reporting tool designed for clients needing business performance metrics that can help them benchmark and continuously improve document intensive processes.

With these achievements, the company has not only met the demands of change posed by the merger; it is better prepared to fulfill its mission. This includes using innovative science to promote health and safety around the world. Canon’s vision is to continue helping similar clients meet such important goals, today and in the future.

The Path Ahead

It is important to remember that FM executives have alternatives in choosing to both meet the challenges outlined in this whitepaper and contain costs and improve service quality.

These alternatives include obtaining as much data as possible that can support smart facilities management decisions. Also critical to success are maximizing technology, putting in place carefully defined service level agreements and understanding the role digitization can play in improving how services are delivered.

Finally, if taking advantage of these and other opportunities is beyond the reach of internal resources, teaming with a qualified outsourcing provider is a strategy that can pay rich dividends. Whatever approach has the potential to work best for your organization, putting it into action is the key to successfully navigating the path ahead.

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