By January 30, 2011 1 Comments Read More →

Are your Facilities Decisions Uninformed? It’s time for a Change

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No Information to make decisions with for Facility ManagementFor some reason. I’ve been seeing a lot of articles recently about using information for decision making. Some in our industry, but lots in other areas as well.

What this confirms to me is that the Facility Management industry is a business function in addition to a technical or tactical function. The methods, approaches, skills and knowledge used in other business functions also apply to Facility and Property Management.

It’s one of the reasons I suggest Facility Managers get training in other business related fields as well as read books in other business areas. These types of skills are also a key theme of my book “Managing Facilities & Real Estate”

Comparing Information leads to Change

The first article titled "Releasing stats cuts death in hospitals' in the Toronto Star  is about the death rates in hospitals  going down because the rates are published publicly. The article says that because hospitals are now compared with other hospitals, it prompts each hospitals to investigate why they are high and make changes that reduce the rates.

This is exactly what benchmarking does for you, but it also helps to have more internal information as well. If you have a portfolio, you can compare different areas or buildings. If you manage a Facilities team, how about the performance of each individual? When you see the results, you can find out who is excelling and identify what they are doing that your other Facility staff aren’t and ensure they adopt the practices. It isn't just about comparing so you can punish, it's to make improvements.

This kind of results, even if it’s from a non-facilities field, should convince you that you need more information to make changes and decision.

Change is needed - to make better Changes

The other article discusses the Auditor General’s report about the Ontario government, also from the Toronto Star. In the report, a lot of waste and inefficiency was found within the government. Are you surprised? The article outlined four key problems that were driving much of the waste and inefficiency, including information for decision making.

All of these also apply in one way or another to the Facility and Property Management industry, again reinforcing the idea that general business issues apply to Facilities and Facility Managers have to be as good with those skills and issues as they do the technical and tactical issues we face every day. Here are the four key problems they found:

  1. Challenges today are dramatically different from the past and will be increasingly complex in the future. – For the Facilities industry, the changes in how buildings are designed, built and managed has changed dramatically as well and continue to change. The modern Facility Manager has to keep on-top of a broader range of issues and technologies to do their job.
  2. The emphasis must change from new revenue sources to making the best uses of existing ones. - This translates to cost savings issues in Facilities but also in how our services and facilities impact our organization’s core business, service or revenue goals. While we chase the obvious (and sometimes easy) ways to cut costs, like putting pressure on suppliers, we sometimes miss areas where we can be more efficient and effective, including simply using less space.
  3. Things must change from perpetuating old services and programs to solving current problems – This is a problem in Facilities as well. More effort is needed to get ahead of issues instead of lagging issues, and we need to look at change, not just maintaining the status quo or “because that’s the way it’s always been done”
  4. Sound decision-making requires good information – This is actually one of the most important issues since many facility managers don’t have much information at their disposal to make good decisions with. More effort is required, along with good FM Systems, to get and use information. Of course you need to be vigilant that you don't simply track, collect and report so much data that you become swamped with numbers but don't really have information you can use.

The interesting thing is that the these four  issues is that these were the same four fundamental issues identified in a similar report issued 40 years ago.  Seems things haven’t really changed much in government. The problem is, they aren't changing fast enough in Facility and Property Management either.

Do your part to make sure things change in the Facilities Profession - learn more about the broader business skills and issues, become a leader, take time out of the daily service delivery to develop strategy, get better information for analysis and decision making and most importantly, don't just follow the status quo - make deliberate changes to improve results.

Managing Facilities & Real Estate Now Available!
“Managing Facilities & Real Estate : 50 Strategies, approaches and Leading Practices”
Over 500 pages. Available in Soft Cover or Hard Cover version.
Order your copy today from Amazon or direct from the Author (click the book image).

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