Providing better asset management system software for facilities is one of the goals for Mintek software. We also recognize that there are a few industries leading consultants who share their knowledge so that we can all strive to do a better job.

Facilities and Real Estate Management for Asset Managers

With that in mind, we are pleased to be able to share a guest blog post from Michel Theriault, Principal of Strategic Advisor, a Facility, Property and Asset Management consulting firm providing advisory services, consulting, education and training to the industry internationally.

Guest Facility Management Post from Michel Theriault

The Facility Management (FM) profession is progressing rapidly into a strategic business role in addition to the traditional tactical and technical role. The challenges of managing facilities are driven by an increasingly complex working environment. This includes economic pressures from the companies we work for, a more demanding workforce, expanding environmental challenges and a higher degree of regulations affecting facilities and real estate.

Not all Facility Managers have been able to prepare themselves well enough for these higher demands. Either they have come from a technical background or their organizations haven’t seen the value in providing more business training to them since they are in what is often seen as a less important and less critical function compared with their companies core business or even other support functions.

My goal with the book Managing Facilities & Real Estate is to help change this dynamic and continue to push the professionalism and importance of the role of the Facility Management Department within the organizations we serve.

One example is preventive maintenance. While all Facility Managers understand the importance of preventive maintenance to maintain reliability, lengthen the life of the asset and ensure the maximum energy efficiency, many Facility Managers simply don’t have the software tools to manage their preventive maintenance program and when they do, they don’t effectively use the information to analyze trends or assess performance to drive decisions that improve results.

So, in the section on FM Systems, I don’t talk about putting together a preventive maintenance program, the tasks and routines or frequencies. Instead, I discuss how to use the information for making decisions, techniques to implement an FM system successfully and selling the need to your organization. Here is an abstract directly from the book:

Implementing FM systems, including CAFMCMMS, Work Order management and Help Desk systems, for example, is the most important thing you can do to improve service, reduce costs and preserve your assets, including reducing future costs.

The range and flexibility of available systems, including stand-alone, integrated or hosted web based systems, put this capability in the hands of even small organizations.

Information from systems helps you manage your responsibilities better and make decisions based on evidence, not assumptions and anecdotes.

Information is the most important ingredient to managing facilities and buildings successfully and getting better results. Without it, you are working blind and relying on inaccurate or misleading anecdotal information, sometimes from staff that have been doing the same thing the same way for years or decades.

The business case for implementing a system includes at least four key benefits, however you need to consider the impact on your business process before you decide which system to buy and how to effectively implement your new FM system in your organization.

You can make your end-to-end processes for your service delivery more efficient, less prone to communication errors and more consistent using computerized processes and planning, web based work request entry, automated work flow and even direct dispatch and updating of work orders to contractors or your own staff through handheld devices.

Better management of space enables efficient planning, space use and move management. You can even give your customers direct access to the status of their requests.

You get access to important data and information such as the number of work requests by a variety of useful characteristics, response times, equipment information, churn, workstation allocations and more. You can use it to shorten and simplify your capital planning and space planning processes. It can automatically calculate chargeback and eliminate manual processing and manipulation that costs time and money.

As an example, your FM system can record new maintenance requirements and related costs that come from your technicians and contractors who identify issues after their preventive maintenance and inspection activities. This information helps you manage your assets and understand your activities better.

You can see what’s going on in your operations with the right system. Track work orders issued, who is doing what activity, see comments on work and know who or which department is absorbing most of your resources. Understand the volume and type of moves and relocations.

You can monitor conference room uses, track spending on equipment repairs and immediately know whether your legislative compliance requirements are met. Systems also provide tracking and evidence of completing legislative requirements, ensuring compliance, and demonstrating due-diligence.

Since everything is tracked, you can generate reports and access raw data to analyze for patterns and issues that identify areas you need to take action on, providing the information you need to decide on key responsibilities such as resourcing, communication, process issues, bottlenecks and costs. It can also provide the evidence you need to justify initiatives and business cases, in addition to performance management and benchmarking.

For example, tracking corrective repair work, including occupant requests, provides you with data you can analyze and turn into information you use to make decisions that reduce costs, improve services and manage your suppliers better.

By using this information and analyzing it with simple tools such as Excel pivot tables, you can pinpoint trends and develop strategies for your facilities and buildings. Track lamp replacement to identify when a re-lamping exercise will be cost effective, compare work order costs by vendor or service to see where synergies or new contracts are can save money, compare in-house work with subcontracted work to ensure limited overlap and that contractors are doing what is in their contract, identify call-backs on equipment to assess supplier quality or indicate replacement of equipment to reduce maintenance costs.

Information is the most powerful tool you have. You can use it to justify your business cases and your initiatives as well as demonstrating the value your Facility Management or Operations department provides to the corporation.

Source: Michel Theriault, Managing Facilities & Real Estate

Since selling your ideas and initiatives is so important to success, I included the tools and approaches to communicate effectively and to develop a successful business case in a section called ‘Communicate to Influence’. These strategies and skills are what you can add to your organization to support the experience and expertise you and your team already have.

I wrote the book from a management point of view based on years of direct experience in the FM business and as a member of IFMA for 19 years. I’ve worked in-house, as an outsourced FM provider and for a subcontractor in many different capacities, including senior level oversight for FM services. This full range has provided me with a very broad viewpoint on the profession. The fact that I had a technical education yet stepped right into a management role in FM forced me to rely on seasoned, experienced technical people while advancing the softer business elements of the roles I held as I progressed through my career. My experience in the past few years as Principal of Strategic Advisor, a consultant and advisory firm serving Facility Managers, has focused attention on the fact that most Facility Managers know what they need to do, but don’t have the time, background or trained resources to do the analysis, planning, business cases or implementation of their ideas.

Since I’ve been writing magazine articles, delivering seminars at facilities conferences and writing a blog Managing The Built Environment about the business and management aspects of Facility Management for quite a while, I realized I had lots of resource material on topics that a much broader range of Facility Managers could benefit from.

The book Managing Facilities & Real Estate brings together many of the topics I’ve already written or spoken about with lots of expanded information and new topics to fill in the gaps. In fact, it’s inspired by my Quick Guides for FM series of 2-page tips. But Instead of covering topics that are readily available in other good FM books, my new book complements existing books by focusing on the best practice areas of management & leadership that help FM’s be successful and rise through their organizations. This includes strategic management, communicating to influence, implementing FM systems, procuring services and outsourcing, managing performance from suppliers and staff, customer service and managing costs and productivity. Within these broad areas, the book covers specific things like promoting your role within your company, strategic planning, benchmarking, KPI’s, Service Levels, satisfaction surveys, writing business cases and more. It includes checklists, forms and examples for many topics that you can use immediately. The range and depth of topics will be useful to experienced senior FM’s and new FM’s alike.

At over 500 pages, the book is comprehensive yet structured so you can read it in any order and use your limited time to focus on the topics that interest you or are of immediate concern to you in your job. The book will be available late November. Sign-up to my Strategic Advisor newsletter for a chance to win a free copy before November 30th and to be notified when it’s available.

Michel can be reached through his website the Strategic Advisor