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How Facilities Management Can Streamline Your Business

Want smooth operations that keep your business running without problems? Well, that's where facilities management comes in.

The right facilities management strategy should allow your business to optimise its operations. Facilities Management should enable you to cut costs and boost productivity simultaneously.

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Louise Elliott

Louise is part of our Empro Talent team, she's one of our Principal Consultants with over 10 years of experience in recruitment.

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But what exactly is Facilities Management (FM)?

Facilities management is all about keeping a place in order. This includes a range of responsibilities, such as maintenance, security, cleaning, waste removal, and space planning.

With all these managed well, businesses provide an environment that supports their company’s goals and keeps its occupants happy!

The main goal of FM is to ensure that the workplace functions well and supports the organisation’s goals.

FM brings together a team of people, such as facilities managers, maintenance technicians, security staff, and cleaners. The goal is to collaborate towards the smooth operation of the physical workspace. 

FM includes strategic long-term planning and decision-making. This involves forecasting future facility needs and evaluating how changes can impact a business. Through proactive management, facilities management contributes to a business’s success by helping foster a safe, productive, and efficient work environment.

Now let's break down FM even more.

The distinctions between Soft FM, Hard FM, and Total FM can be important to understanding the full scope of facilities management. Here’s a breakdown:

Total Facilities Management (Total FM):

Total FM combines soft and hard FM services into a comprehensive package. This approach allows an organisation to deal with a single provider that manages all aspects.

The aim is to streamline operations, reduce costs, and improve service delivery. This means you can cover every aspect of building management and maintenance. Maintaining both the physical infrastructure and the occupant experience.

Hard Facilities Management (Hard FM):

Hard FM involves the physical and technical aspects of building management. These services are essential to a facility’s structural integrity and operational functionality.

Hard FM includes HVAC maintenance (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), electrical services, plumbing, fire safety systems, and building maintenance. Hard FM requires specific technical expertise and often involves compliance with legal standards and safety regulations.

Soft Facilities Management (Soft FM):

Soft FM refers to services that enhance the workplace environment’s comfort, safety, and quality. These are generally non-technical services that support the operation of a building.

Examples include cleaning, catering, waste management, security, and grounds maintenance. Soft FM focuses on creating a hospitable and productive environment for occupants.

Each type of FM plays a critical role in managing a facility. They’re tailored to meet the organisation’s specific needs and priorities.

Let’s explore how FM can be the key to efficient operations and streamline your business. We’ll outline various strategies that could be affecting your bottom line. Read on to find out how facilities management could be the perfect solution you are probably missing!

The role of facilities management in streamlining business operations

1. Maximising space utilisation

One of FM’s primary responsibilities is ensuring that space is optimised. This involves analysing an organisation’s space needs, evaluating the existing layout, and using strategies to maximise the use of available space. This can help businesses utilise space whilst avoiding potential moving or growing costs. It does so by changing layouts, promoting agile practices, hot-desking, or redesigning workspaces.

Statistics suggest that approximately 42% of commercial office space isn’t used to its full potential. Businesses can be more efficient with their space by optimising layouts and implementing space management software.

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2. Implementing Planned Preventive Maintenance

Facilities management ensures that all equipment, machines, and systems in the workplace are maintained. Preventive maintenance lets managers find and fix issues. This way, there are no surprises. Regular inspections, routine maintenance, and scheduled repairs can help businesses improve efficiency.

Implementing strategies like Planned Preventive Maintenance (PPM) is a prime example of how proactive management can lead to savings. PPM helps to minimise disruptions and downtime by ensuring that equipment is regularly serviced. This proactive approach reduces the need for emergency call-outs, which are often more costly and disruptive.

For example, a retail business implemented proactive maintenance for its chiller units. The company focused on regular maintenance, not reactive repairs. This led to a 545% return on investment. This was calculated by comparing the costs of proactive maintenance to the expenses incurred from emergency repairs and total replacements (which tend to be substantially higher). This example by Expansive FM shows the financial benefits of investing in preventive FM practices. Such strategies extend the lifespan of equipment and enhance operational efficiency. Leading to long-term cost savings and improved system reliability!

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3. Ensuring a safe and secure work environment

Safety and security are of paramount importance in any business. Facilities management is crucial. It keeps a work environment safe by using the right measures and protocols.

This includes safety inspections, compliance regulations, and security systems (like access control and surveillance).

By focusing on safety and security, facilities managers can reduce the risk of accidents, theft, or unauthorised access. Creating a safe work environment for employees.

4. Managing supplier relationships

Facilities management often involves managing relationships with external suppliers and service providers, negotiating contracts, and overseeing service delivery. Of course, managing your suppliers well helps facilities management. It ensures efficient and cost-effective delivery of cleaning, maintenance, and security, resulting in improved service quality, reduced costs, and streamlined operations.

5. Supporting sustainability initiatives

Sustainability is a key consideration, and FM can help sustainability initiatives. They can do this by using energy-efficient measures. This might include using energy-saving lights, starting recycling programs, or urging employees to adopt more sustainable habits. By adding sustainability to facilities management, businesses can cut their environmental footprint and help create a greener future.

6. Operational efficiency through automation

Automating work orders with a Computer-Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) system saves time and money and streamlines your operations. How? They can automate several critical processes, including data capture, task prioritisation, and even quotes. By reducing the reliance on manual administration, a CAFM system boosts efficiency.

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Key Components of an Effective Facilities Management Strategy

Efficient facilities management has several vital parts. They work together to ensure a workspace runs smoothly. These components include space management, maintenance and repairs, security and safety, and energy management. Let’s take a closer look at each of these components:

Space Management

Effective space management is crucial for optimising operational efficiency and productivity. By analysing space utilisation and using strategies to use space better, businesses can improve efficiency. This includes assessing the current layout and design of the workspace, finding areas to improve, and then making changes to allow for better workflow and collaboration.

One strategy for maximising space utilisation is implementing flexible workspaces. This allows employees to choose the most suitable workspace based on their tasks, preferences, and needs. It can include open-plan areas, private offices, collaboration zones, and breakout areas. Giving employees different places to work can boost productivity and create a more engaging work environment.

Another aspect of space management is optimising storage solutions. Efficient storage systems can reduce clutter and improve accessibility and workflow for businesses. This can include using vertical space, even things like shelves, and organising inventories. Good space management improves efficiency, leading to an organised and good-looking workspace.

Maintenance and Repairs

Regular maintenance and prompt repairs are essential to maintaining the functionality of a physical workspace. These tasks are necessary to avoid equipment failures, safety issues, and expensive repair bills. Preventive maintenance helps businesses find potential problems early, and then they can take steps to fix or mitigate them.

Preventive maintenance includes systematic inspections, routine servicing, and timely repair of equipment and facilities to ensure optimal operation. This approach minimises the risk of unexpected breakdowns and disruptions. Helping to prolong the lifespan of equipment, reduce the frequency of replacements, and save on costs over time.

While preventive maintenance is crucial, readiness for immediate repairs is also necessary. This includes addressing issues like malfunctioning equipment, plumbing concerns, or electrical faults. A dedicated facilities team or a good service provider efficiently handles repairs. Maintaining a safe and productive environment!

Preventive maintenance includes systematic inspections, routine servicing, and timely repair of equipment and facilities to ensure optimal operation. This approach minimises the risk of unexpected breakdowns and disruptions. Helping to prolong the lifespan of equipment, reduce the frequency of replacements, and save on costs over time.

While preventive maintenance is crucial, readiness for immediate repairs is also necessary. This includes addressing issues like malfunctioning equipment, plumbing concerns, or electrical faults. A dedicated facilities team or a good service provider ensures repairs are dealt with quickly and efficiently. Maintaining a safe and productive environment!

Preventive maintenance includes systematic inspections, routine servicing, and the timely repair of equipment and facilities to ensure optimal operation. This approach minimises the risk of unexpected breakdowns and disruptions. Helping to prolong the lifespan of equipment, reduce the frequency of replacements, and save on costs over time.

While preventive maintenance is crucial, readiness for immediate repairs is also necessary. This includes addressing issues like malfunctioning equipment, plumbing concerns, or electrical faults. A dedicated facilities team or a good service provider ensures repairs are done quickly and efficiently. Maintaining a safe and productive environment!

Security and Safety

Maintaining a safe and secure work environment is essential for the well-being of employees and company assets. FM plays a critical role in implementing security measures and upholding safety standards. This often includes installing and maintaining various security systems such as access controls, CCTV cameras, and fire alarms.

Regular inspections and testing of these security systems are vital to ensure their efficiency. Facilities managers continually review and update security protocols and procedures, helping to address any new threats or vulnerabilities. This process may involve conducting risk assessments, developing emergency response plans, or providing ongoing safety training.

FM is also responsible for addressing physical safety hazards within the workplace. This includes ensuring adequate lighting, maintaining clear walkways, and implementing ergonomic solutions to minimise the risk of injuries and accidents. By prioritising security and safety, businesses can foster a work environment that promotes employee well-being and minimises risks. Thereby enhancing operational efficiency and productivity.

Regular inspections and testing of these security systems are vital to ensure their proper functioning. Facilities managers are tasked with continually reviewing and updating security protocols and procedures. Helping to address any new threats or vulnerabilities. This process may involve conducting risk assessments, developing emergency response plans, or providing ongoing safety training for employees.

FM is also responsible for addressing physical safety hazards within the workplace. This includes ensuring adequate lighting, maintaining clear walkways, and implementing ergonomic solutions to minimise the risk of injuries and accidents. By prioritising security and safety, businesses can foster a work environment that promotes employee well-being and minimises risks. Thereby enhancing overall operational efficiency and productivity.

Energy Management

Efficient energy management is crucial for both sustainability and cost-effectiveness. Implementing energy-saving strategies and optimising energy usage within the workspace is essential.

One effective strategy is the installation of energy-efficient lighting systems. For instance, integrating LED lighting and smart thermostats can cut energy usage by 20%. Additionally, employing motion sensor lighting in low-occupancy areas can further reduce energy wastage.

Regular maintenance and servicing of HVAC systems are imperative to ensure they operate at peak efficiency. Smart thermostats and zoning systems can regulate temperature well. They also adjust energy use based on occupancy and usage patterns.

Facilities Managers might consider implementing energy monitoring systems to track and analyse energy usage. This helps to pinpoint areas where energy consumption is high. This data helps to identify energy-intensive processes or equipment. Enabling businesses to make informed decisions about where to focus their energy-saving efforts.

One effective strategy is the installation of energy-efficient lighting systems. For instance, integrating LED lighting and smart thermostats can cut energy usage by 20%. Additionally, employing motion sensor lighting in low-occupancy areas can further reduce energy wastage.

Another key aspect of energy management involves optimising heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Regular maintenance and servicing of HVAC systems are imperative to ensure they operate at peak efficiency. Smart thermostats and zoning systems can regulate temperature well. They also adjust energy use based on occupancy and usage patterns.

Facilities Managers might consider implementing energy monitoring systems to track and analyse energy usage. This helps to pinpoint areas where energy consumption is high. This data helps to identify energy-intensive processes or equipment. Enabling businesses to make informed decisions about where to focus their energy-saving efforts.

By prioritising all these aspects, businesses can create an effective facilities management strategy. Streamlining operations and enhancing efficiency. Next, we will dive into the common challenges faced in FM and offer practical tips for overcoming these obstacles.

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Common Challenges in Facilities Management and How to Overcome Them

FM is critical for optimising business operations, but it comes with its set of challenges.

Being aware of these challenges and adopting appropriate strategies can help businesses navigate them more effectively. Here are some common challenges in facilities management and ways to overcome them:

1. Limited Resources and Budget Constraints

One of the most common challenges in FM is managing limited resources and budget constraints. Businesses often have to prioritise resource allocation across all operational needs. Also, facilities management might not get the attention it requires. But, ignoring facilities management can lead to costly repairs, safety issues and inefficiencies.

To address this challenge, businesses need to understand how FM is an integral part of their operations. This includes allocating a dedicated budget that is enough to cover routine maintenance, necessary repairs, and critical upgrades. Investing in facilities management can prevent costly breakdowns and extend the lifespan of physical assets.

Additionally, exploring cost-saving measures and alternative funding opportunities can be beneficial. Energy-efficient upgrades can reduce long-term operational costs and help to qualify for government incentives or financing options. By adopting a proactive approach and exploring innovative solutions, businesses can overcome limitations imposed by restricted budgets.

According to the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), typical budget allocations for office operations might look something like this:

This structure helps ensure that all necessary aspects of facilities management are covered. But, you must adapt these percentages based on specific organisational needs.

2. Communication and Coordination

Effective communication and coordination are essential to successful facilities management. Lapses in communication and coordination can disrupt FM processes.

To mitigate these issues, businesses must establish a clear communication protocol. Regular interaction schedules among FM teams and other departments are most common. This helps identify and address operational concerns. Employing centralised systems for tracking facilities-related tasks can also help prevent oversights.

Using tech, like a computerised maintenance management system (CMMS), can also improve communication. This can help by automating workflows, tracking work orders, and improving interactions between FM teams and service providers.

Two professionals engaged in conversation on plush chairs in a vibrant co-working space, exemplifying the human aspect of effective FM.

3. Compliance and Regulatory Requirements

Maintaining compliance with health, safety, and environmental regulations is critical. Keeping up with changing rules can be challenging when operating across many locations or industries.

To navigate this challenge, you can integrate a compliance framework into your strategy. This involves staying informed about key regulations, conducting regular compliance audits, and ensuring that FM teams are well-trained in compliance. Employing external experts can be a valuable help in developing compliance strategies.

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4. Technology Integration

Incorporating technology into facilities management processes can enhance efficiency. However, challenges range from resistance to change to a lack of technical expertise or inadequate resources.

To overcome this challenge, businesses can invest in training and development to equip FM teams with technical skills. This includes providing training on using computerised maintenance management systems (CMMS), energy monitoring tools, and other relevant software. By giving FM teams the right skills and knowledge, businesses can help them integrate and adopt technology.

Businesses could take a phased approach to technology integrations. Instead of implementing all technology solutions at once, they can start with a pilot project or focus on areas that can deliver quicker wins. This allows for a smoother transition and reduces the risk of overwhelming teams with too many changes.

By addressing these common FM challenges and implementing the appropriate strategies, businesses can optimise their operations and streamline their overall efficiency!

Explore our Case Studies: Full of Successful Successful FM Strategies

To show the real-life benefits of effective facilities management, let’s take a look our case studies!

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