10 Qualities of a Super Facility Manager

A look at the definition of the term Facility Management gives one a good idea that this is not the typical walk in the park kind of job. The International Facility Management Association (IFMA), for example, defines it as “a profession that encompasses multiple disciplines to ensure functionality of the built environment by integrating people, place, process and technology”.

This means not only is the Facility Manager expected to keep the property under his care in top shape (and maybe even better than he met it), he also has to create an environment of optimum value to everyone who uses the facility and the business they do while there.

Here are 10 qualities needed to function as a Super Facility Manager:

1. Multi-tasking Skills
A facility manager must be an expert juggler. He must give his undivided attention to the many issues that need his attention but at the same time keep occupants, owners and regulatory persons happy.
While he is on one hand monitoring the routine maintenance of the generating plant, he must also ensure that the procurement team delivers Mrs. Adebayo’s new 15 liter water heater in time to be installed as promised. Success in one task, is not an excuse to fail in the other.

2. Natural Problem Solver
He should not view problems as a setback but an opportunity to learn and make life better for the property users at the same time. Challenges of varying degrees will arise sometimes even on a daily basis. He is not afraid to think out of the box and come up with innovative solutions that are safe and acceptable to all parties involved.

3. Proper Work Ethics
Personal accountability, taking responsibility for his actions and that of his team.
Integrity, delivering as he promised.
Efficiency, getting the job done even with lean resources.
No Facility Manager can go far without good work ethics.

4. Organizational Skills and Delegation
His job is never done. He must be able to keep the facility running smoothly even when he is not there physically by proper delegation of tasks. Jobs should be planned well in advance with the relevant contact information, resources and safety checks in place. The ability to coordinate several projects at the same time is indispensable.

5. Solid Managerial Background
Apart from technical and engineering tasks, he is in charge of preserving the value of the property. He needs to rely heavily on various professional qualifications and business trainings to enable him handle all that is required of him. He must be finance savvy because he deals directly with the factors that affect the bottom line.

6. People handling Skills
This is probably the most important skill he needs. He must work well with a variety of people and know how to handle them. The stubborn staff, the angry occupant, the children who keep playing football on the lawn and the sleeping security guards. He must remain positive no matter the provocation especially from customers and occupants.

7. Hands-On Approach to Work
Facility Management is a practical profession. He must be willing to get involved and not just sit back while his team does all the work. Daily inspections, routine and unplanned checks are all a part of his schedule.

8. Leadership Skills
The ability to inspire or influence others towards achieving set goals. The Facility Manager must be actively involved in the hiring, training and supervision of those who report to him because at the end of the day the buck stops at his table.

9. An Ambassador to their Employer
A simple “hello” with a friendly smile goes a long way. He should be approachable and sincere with customers and his team. Respectful and a good listener even to seemingly trivial issues. Always available to solve their problems and generally putting his best foot forward. Especially in residential facilities, he is the face the occupants can identify with not the company he works for.

10. Ability to see details
He must pay attention to details to protect both residents and staff. The ability to recognize a hazard before it turns into an accident is a priceless skill that is both taught and developed with years of experience. This ability can and does save lives.

This list is by no means exhaustive but clearly gives a good guide on what is expected of Facility Managers. Your ability to incorporate these skills in your daily activities will surely earn you the title of a Super Facility Manager.

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Is Safety Expensive?

“The safety of the people shall be the highest law” – Marcus Tullius Cicero (Roman Philosopher)

Getting the best out of your workforce is not always a matter of throwing more money at them or having strict monitoring policies and procedures in place. It would not be farfetched to say that every worker would value his safety and indeed life above all else. As a business or facility owner it is your responsibility to provide an enabling environment for those who carry out the various tasks that make your business what it is. These people include the technicians, accountants, drivers, cleaners, managers, vendors, customers and even yourself.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) reports that “every 15 seconds, a worker dies from a work-related accident or disease. Every 15 seconds, 153 workers have a work-related accident. Every day, 6,300 people die as a result of occupational accidents or work-related diseases – more than 2.3 million deaths per year. 317 million accidents occur on the job annually”.

Grim statistics indeed.

Is Safety More Expensive Than An Accident?

Safety and the equipment that go with it costs money and that is a fact that cannot be avoided. On the other hand accidents also cost money, much more in fact. Commonly reported accidents depending on the particular industry in question include falls, crushing injuries, puncture wounds, electric shocks, electrocution and fire.

Let’s take a typical example of fire outbreak which is something we can all relate to.

Company XYZ Limited is a furniture making company and has its head office in Victoria Island, Lagos and its workshop at Ebute Metta also in Lagos. The head office is well furnished and equipped with state of the art fire detection equipment. The workshop does not have any fire protection because the one previously installed malfunctioned years back and was disabled.

Several requests by the workshop manager for a replacement, even if a cheaper one, have been turned down because the funds are needed elsewhere. The cost for this cheaper alternative is put at 75,000NGN.

It’s a few days to Christmas and the workshop is filled with customers’ orders waiting for onward transportation to the head office the next morning. Unfortunately there is a fire incident that night after close of work. The guards on duty try putting out the flames and two of them are injured in the process. Eventually the fire is put out by the Federal Fire Service.

Which would have been cheaper? Replace the fire detection system or pay for repairs of the severely damaged workshop, replacement of burnt materials including customers’ orders and medical care for the two guards?

The issue should be how to create a safe working environment with the required financial commitments and still keep overhead costs within limits.

Tips for Controlling Your Costs on Safety

In any human working environment the potential for accidents is a daily reality. However, a proactive approach would limit the occurrence of accidents and the resulting expense.

Safety is a collective responsibility
One person in an organization cannot monitor and implement safety on their own. The entire staff need to be involved and made to understand the impact of the actions they take on their own personal safety and that of their colleagues.

Training is critical for passing information across to your team. The benefits of a well-trained and safety aware workforce far outweigh the costs of training them.

Communication and feedback System
An aspect of safety often overlooked especially in the Facility management field is informing workers about hazardous chemicals and dangerous equipment on site. This is especially risky for new staff that are being deployed to a particular location. Once they have been trained, your communication and feedback system should be open and allow for quick ease of relating issues.

For example, if your feedback system keeps getting information of a particular kind of illness among the staff working in the same location, that should raise a red flag. Without a feedback system, such information would be lost and you would be spending more money on repeated treatment of the same illness.

Appoint an in-house Safety Officer
You may decide to hire an external safety specialist but it is also advisable to have someone in-house responsible for monitoring safety on all your locations. Don’t leave this task for “everybody” because as they say, “Everybody’s’ job is done by Nobody”.

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