In this final segment of our three-part series, we conclude our discussion of simple steps (ABC's) to achieve excellence in building management and deliver value in challenging economic times.
In the first segment, we focussed on getting to Know your Facility! We discussed the importance of (A) knowing what Assets you have to maintain; (B) Benchmarking the performance of your assets and your facility operations; and (C) the importance of knowing what Condition your assets are in, what it Costs you to maintain those assets and facility, and how this collectively brings you to the point where you will be able to attain greater Control!
In the second segment we spoke about the importance of getting to Know your Vendors. We discussed the importance of (A) holding them Accountable via the use of performance-based contracts; (B) helping your vendors understand and focus on the Big Picture of your organization's vision; and to (C) Consult with your Vendors and frontline staff as an excellent source of advice!
This brings us now to the third and final point on our To-Do List: Know Your FM Function! And the ABC's of this, while seemingly simple, do take some effort to implement!
Would you try to paint a room using just a toothbrush? Very often we find ourselves in situations where we are forced to work with resources that are less than adequate for the jobs that we are required to fulfil. We may even have staff that are not adequately trained for their job functions. In addition, the FM function is often forced to compete with other organizational functions for scarce financial resources, especially in tough economic times. When you put this in the context of recent studies that indicate: 70% of employees that are disengaged said they didn’t have the equipment needed to do their job, and 90% said they didn’t know what was expected of them; it starts to make a lot of sense! So, what do you do when placed in a situation like this with limited financial resources?
Firstly, you need to integrate the measurement of your FM performance with the mission, values and strategic goals of the organisation. This allows you to demonstrate in very practical terms the value your FM function adds to the organisation. For example: in a manufacturing environment, one of the things you may want to report on is percentage uptime or the number of days without unscheduled downtime; this helps to show how you support the organization's production. Essentially find what matters most to your organisation and show how your FM activities contribute to achieving that?
Regarding training, international member associations such as the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) offer training opportunities for every level of FM practitioner, as well as opportunities for growth and development; many at very little to no cost. More so, they also offer opportunities for professional networking which assist practitioners in sharing knowledge and dealing with any challenges they may encounter.
Regarding scarcity of resources, it is up to you to build a strong business case and advocate for the resources that you need, and to do so in a compelling manner that will demonstrate how you will eventually save the organisation money and/or valuable work hours that can be put to more productive use for the organisation. You may also advocate for any cost savings you achieve to be diverted to secure the resources that you need. Of course, it goes without saying that you also need to demonstrate that you are already using your existing resources in the most efficient way possible.
The above goes hand in hand with the next point we wish to raise.
This begins with changing your Perspective. if you have not already done so, stop thinking about FM as a Cost or an Expense to your organisation! Instead, think of FM and what you do as an investment in the life cycle of your organisation’s assets. You need to consider how your FM function contributes to the core business objectives of your organisation. Your perspective on FM will influence how you justify expenditure, will influence how you represent and advocate for your requirements, and eventually will influence how others perceive you!
You should use every available opportunity as a teaching moment for your team, customers and executives to help them better understand what FM is all about. Similarly, you should also pursue every opportunity to deepen your own personal knowledge and development.
The FM profession is one in which accolades are not often provided. In many cases, the greatest accolade is simply the absence of complaints by end-users who are satisfied by the services that the FM function provides. It is often taken for granted that these services will be provided uninterrupted at an established standard regardless of whatever challenges the FM has in their delivery.
You should therefore use every opportunity to rally your troops and celebrate your successes as a team! Especially in challenging financial times. This ties back in with how you measure your FM performance. Set team goals in line with targets that demonstrate the organisational impact of the FM function, so they can see the direct correlation of their efforts. Break larger projects into smaller milestones or deliverables so the team can see the progression towards the finish line.
Celebrate the achievement of these targets and milestones. It costs nothing to praise a team member for a job well done, or to recognise substantial achievements over a period within team meetings. This helps to reinforce the positive behavioural traits and culture you should seek to build.
In closing, one should never underestimate the power of positive reinforcement and its ability to help your team achieve excellence in building management and deliver value in challenging economic times.