According to a Global Industries Analytics Report, the facilities management industry is one of the most rapidly growing industries, with expected growth to reach $394.69 billion by 2017.
FM continues to provide a lucrative career path, while the roles and responsibilities of the industry are broadening, creating greater job satisfaction and attracting a larger number of young people to the profession. Facilities managers today are expected to contribute to their company’s bottom line by not only reducing facility costs, but also by increasing the productivity of their organizations. Paying close attention to emerging FM trends can help FMs contribute to the bottom line by identifying the industry patterns to look for, the skill sets to work on and the areas to allocate their resources.
Below are some of the Facilities Management trends today:
Automation: One big measure is the automation of facilities management projects, leading to changes in the way they’re planned, executed and tracked. For instance, maintenance personnel are relying on wireless devices to monitor activity and to improve responsiveness while managers are using Computer Aided Facilities Maintenance (CAFM) tools to integrate all project aspects from space planning to resource allocation. The industry can leverage new technologies to better manage facilities, but it also needs to ensure adequate training is in place to educate practitioners on new systems
Sustainability: continues to grow in importance and prominence worldwide. Organizations have begun to incorporate it into business goals and culture, and within the profession, it has moved from an emphasis primarily for new construction to influencing existing building operations.
Flexibility: with four very different generations comprising our workforce – 5% Traditionalists, 38% Baby Boomers, 32% Generation X and 25% Millennials – organizations must re-think how they do business and how to create an environment that is inspiring to everyone. The answer lies in flexibility. Faced with limited space, managers are squeezing the most functionality out of every square foot. Facilities managers and their designers are creating cost-effective and productivity-enhancing facilities by tailoring spaces to the needs of the organization and its workers. As a result, trendy offices are out while classic designs are in. Additionally, workspaces that are flexible, able to accommodate multiple functions and capable of supporting cutting edge technologies, such as wireless LAN, are much coveted. In short, this value-driven trend is characterized by a renewed emphasis on maximizing usage and practicality.
Emergency preparedness and business continuity: Facility managers play a critical role in business continuity after a disrupting event, not only by crafting and implementing the prepared response plan, but also by serving as role models for the organization in emergency preparedness and business continuity planning.
Outsourcing: is on the rise as a growing number of businesses are choosing to turn over their facilities management functions to outside contractors. They are outsourcing to better concentrate on core competencies as well as to acquire expertise they would not be able to develop on their own. For example, service providers can teach a company’s maintenance staff how to perform tasks faster and better. Additionally, facilities managers often enjoy fixed costs when they use outside contractors and can ultimately cut overall facilities management expenses. Moreover, by outsourcing, facilities managers can access cutting edge technology. “Outsource service providers have the resources to employ wireless handheld inspection terminals and Web-based portals that make it easy to track equipment performance, plan maintenance, control inventory, inform repair technicians and report results to management,”.
Changing work styles: significantly affect both occupant behavior and the vacancy rate of buildings, which affects how buildings must operate. Facility management increasingly faces challenges posed by open work plan arrangements, differing hours of operation, and varying occupancy rates and densities — all of which impact power use and other considerations.
Mobility: In seeking to integrate new solutions into their facility’s workflow, FMs have the added element of mobility to consider. With so many employees working from home or on the road, today’s FM must take mobility into account with every decision. Web-based software must, at the very least, be implemented. But as employees increasingly require access to relevant resources when away from the web, mobile apps are an important tool to consider as well.
Doing more with less: This slogan has always been a part of many business models. But with today’s technology, more and more organizations are finding ways to make this a reality. Through investment in the proper tools, companies are able to provide their employees with wider mobility, allowing them to telecommute. Many are seeing a rise in productivity and a decrease in their overall spending, as well as increased employee loyalty.
Energy conservation: Is an enduring goal of facilities managers, and this objective has gained in urgency in the past few years because of rising energy costs. As a result, facilities managers are taking many measures to curb usage, following simple steps such as maximizing daylight as well as undertaking major projects such as integrating chilled water plants. Moreover, they are also performing thorough energy audits. This can reveal where and how a facility is using energy. It will also expose the areas in need of improvement and ways to boost overall energy efficiency.
Finding top talent: In facility management is gaining greater importance. Recognizing that facility management is often not the first choice of today’s new graduates, the profession will need to increase its branding and outreach.
What to Do?
Globally, the facility management profession continues to mature and evolve. Facility managers today are expected to understand their company’s core business and contribute to the bottom line — not only by reducing facility costs, but also by improving the productivity, revenue generating capacity and image of their organizations.
Go on, get out there! Networking is crucial to staying relevant and ahead of the FM curve. Attend industry events and become a part of industry organizations like FM Zone India, iNFHRA etc.,. The relationships you build through these organizations will help you gain an even clearer understanding of your profession and the ever changing industry landscape, as well as fill in any gaps in your knowledge. Lastly, take advantage of social media to expand your presence and knowledge base. FM professionals must develop an action plan to meet changing expectations. We need to be willing to find something different and be experimental. We need to go there to be relevant.”
FM professionals continue to identify ways to further assert themselves within their respective organizations, using metrics and value propositions that connect with their business and create compelling stories, and are building the future for a more socially connected and technologically enabled next generation in meaningful, specific ways. But as the old adage goes, the only constant is change. Facility management leadership needs to flex and evolve to reflect new approaches, skills and systems that are sure to replace innovations just emerging even today.