Like Facility Management (FM), Integrated Facility Management (IFM) refers to the tools and services that support the functionality, safety, and sustainability of buildings, grounds, infrastructure, and real estate. IFM encourages a shift from the inputs specified in a client contract to focusing on the outcomes that meet or exceed requirements, leveraging expertise and economies of scale to streamline service delivery.
Whether you’re a new facility manager or an experienced professional, IFM is a field that requires continuous education. Just like facilities continue to evolve, the facility management solutions that support them need to adapt – the field is shifting from being primarily manual to becoming more digitized with analytics and data in the driver seat. In order to stay competitive and reap the most benefits from this approach, you need to be on top of the latest best practices and technology. Below are some of our tips to ensure you’re implementing best practices in IFM.
Adopt Predictive Analytics and Internet of Things
As a facility manager, you can’t just be reactive. That means anticipating maintenance before a repair is required. By leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT), making these predictions may not even require human interaction. The point is to be on top of a problem before the problem exists. Predictive analytics can mean significant savings in both time and money that would otherwise be spent when an unexpected repair is required. The right application of IoT can be a transformative driver in facility management.
Manage Your Team Structure
Communication is key. Without effective collaboration and communication, no team can truly excel. Facility managers should set expectations with their teams so that they align with their organizational goals. Only through strong communication can you create a strong relationship with your facilities team.
Make Decisions Using Real-Time Data
Using real-time data to make important facility decisions has been proven advantageous for many reasons. Data can be used for all sorts of purposes, such as preventing breakdowns using asset data, or proper budgeting using financial data. Making sweeping generalizations can no longer be excused in a data-driven world.
Ensure Analytics are C-Suite Focused
The ability to gather data is one thing, but to analyze them in the appropriate manner is another. Proper use of analytics and insights can help validate the performance of the FM team to the C-suite, boosting confidence in the team’s ability and value. Analytics can be collected and presented in a meaningful way to help inform business strategy at a high level.
Emphasize Technological Investments
As the facilities industry gets smarter and new technology is released, it is becoming increasingly important to invest in technology as it makes things easier, more intelligent, more automated, and more transparent. Facility managers ought to stay educated on current technological advances and trends and use it to their advantage.
Use the Power of Analytics
Although many are familiar with concept of data analytics, only a handful know how to leverage its true potential. Through descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive analytics, facility managers can identify areas where they can save money in their operations and lower the total cost of ownership for their clients.
Make Mobile Accessible
Most people own some sort of smartphone, allowing them to stay connected to their work on a mobile device. Mobile access increases our efficiency and improves our ability to multitask and communicate. In the facilities industry, mobile access plays an important role as team members are usually on the front line and often placed in different physical locations to do their work. This can streamline management and boost team efficiency.
Negotiate Your Service Provider’s Rates
With the high presence of competition in the market, facility managers should not settle for a vendor that overcharges yet underperforms. Further, facility managers should update their requests for proposal (RFP) processes and negotiate all rates to find the most suitable contractors. Your service provider should be a partner that brings value.
Create an Inventory of Assets
When it comes to FM, visibility is important. Knowing which assets are in use at each location enables facility managers to make informed decisions. Facility managers must ensure they track associated asset costs as well as perform asset maintenance or repairs.
Impose Vendor Check-In/Out
To speed up the invoice approval and payment process, facility mangers can track the times contractors arrive and leave a specific site. Doing this improves the accuracy of labour invoicing. This process can be performed manually or using digital procedures.
In short, facility managers of all backgrounds should do their best to implement these best practices. Doing so will not only improve their understanding of IFM, but also enhance their organization’s competitive advantage. With an ever-evolving society and the digitization of many processes in the field of business, facility managers will find that the incorporation of new technologies, as well as the utilization of data, will serve them well in the long-run. Furthermore, instilling minor changes such as creating an asset inventory, enforcing a vendor check-in/out, and making mobile accessible, can make workflows more efficient and accurate for all employees.