Bill Conley 2017-11-20 21:37:46
It may be apocryphal, but there’s a story going around that describes the future facility department. In this narrative, the department will consist of an FM and a dog. The FM is there to feed the dog. The dog is there to make sure the FM doesn’t touch any of the equipment. Far-fetched? Perhaps, and there may be some verity to the idea, but the most important part of the message is that a facility manager is still part of the equation. The next generation of automation is here, and technology is evolving exponentially as new developments and trends appear, based on the success of current techniques. From assembly-line robotics to driverless cars, drone utilization and purported autonomous buildings, technology is transforming modern business. It’s also changing the lifestyle and culture of our society. In the facility management arena, this has led to the concept of smart infrastructure with connected buildings that leverage accumulated data for predictive capabilities and energy efficiency. Some technophiles say buildings will be able to run by themselves, without intervention by people. Facility managers would tend to disagree. The Internet of Things, or IoT, is making a big splash in the vast ocean that comprises facility management. Emulating the balance of nature in creating inter-relationships — from microbial-like sensors to the leviathan of the built environment — the IOT is one new development that is already altering the way FMs do business. The projected benefits of IoT include lower costs, easy deployment and maintenance-free technology that performs in an inter-related network. An IoT-based system should enable the monitoring of physical parameters, thereby transforming the built environment into smart buildings with environmental awareness. Integrated building management systems monitor and control lighting, heating, fire safety and security. Advanced analytics now monitor energy consumption, system performance and energy supply. There are smart buildings existing today that do just about anything except brush someone’s teeth. Doors open on their own; lights go on and off; temperatures are automatically adjusted to accommodate individual needs, toilets flush and faucets are touchless. CCTV cameras read license plates to allow access to parking areas; facial recognition monitors can track personnel throughout a facility … the list goes on. Not needing a person on-site is the main idea behind the ultimate technology trend objective: creating a truly autonomous building. Thinking that building managers have better things to do than manage buildings, the vision is to move them away from reactive and preventive behavior, as well as enabling their property to become more predictive and proactive. That is all well and good. However, if the plan is to create autonomous buildings that need no oversight — and eliminate the need for a facility manager — these visionaries are actually short-sighted. Building technologies have been part of facility operations for some time. In today’s world, technology supplies FMs with the ability to better predict maintenance requirements, but an FM professional is still needed to interpret and best utilize the data. CHANGE MANAGEMENT Changes in the technology landscape are nothing new to the FM. Facility management professionals are no longer surprised by anything — they have always embraced new realities. From changing light bulbs as a supply supervisor or office manager, to the creation of a facility management professional position to handle a whole building, the FM rules have evolved and roles have changed over time. The advent of the computer and subsequent programs like CMMS, CAFM, IWMS and BIM introduced technology to the FM profession and altered the mindset and performance within the FM arena. The rise and implementation of sustainability shifted priorities again, combining with the triumvirate of life cycle costing, life cycle analysis and life cycle assessment to help FMs re-evaluate their operations and long-term goals. In each instance, the profession has adapted and continued on, utilizing lessons-learned to improve efficiency. Without a doubt, FMs will take advantage of any tools available to them. Their relationship with technology will be a symbiotic one, creating interdependencies between their proficiencies as best complemented by technology. For instance, in today’s business environment, reducing energy consumption is essential. Buildings typically waste 30 percent of energy in supporting the built environment. This can be due to various factors, such as equipment running outside of schedules, excessive energy use caused by simultaneous heating and cooling and/or simple building drift. Facility managers will learn to rely on technology that not only determines where and how energy use can be reduced, but will automatically reduce the energy use. There are platforms available now that have the ability to identify wasted and excessive energy use. These programs will also permanently reduce energy use and costs and keep the building from drifting back to old energy use patterns, eliminating one major headache and allowing FMs to focus on more important issues. BEEN THERE…DONE THAT FMs provide valuable services that not only maintain occupant comfort, but also help continuously save money through operational efficiency and resource management. Energy efficiency is the easiest way to reduce energy costs, save money and contribute to the bottom line. So, technology that enables customers to reduce energy costs will be an integral enabler in the busy world of an FM. It will allow more time to handle responsibilities other than monitoring building management systems for current weather and/or occupancy conditions. Buildings were originally built as protection from the weather. Obviously, their use has changed over time, but that need has not gone away. If buildings are not going to disappear, neither will the need for competent professional facility managers. As an adjunct to that premise, humans are social beings and they perform better collectively. Anthropological research on how people work has shown physical proximity increases interactions. This highlights the importance of having workers together in a physical space. The office is an important factor in stressing the cues of leadership, as well as enabling collaboration and communication. Many businesses are arriving at the realization that dialogue and face-to-face meetings are much more effective than relying exclusively on technology for job tasking. What goes around comes around, it seems. As long as there are buildings — and people in them — there will be a need for FMs. However, it is a delicate balancing act. Rumors have been wafting through the clouds that the role of the facility manager will be diminished and ultimately disappear. It has been posited that anyone with computer skills and a keyboard can run a facility. Maybe this is plausible, but it is far from possible. The IoT may automate many systems, but this automation will only minimize the challenges an FM faces when dealing with energy efficiency and water conservation. New techniques and developments affecting the built environment necessitate ongoing adjustments to the job specifications of the facility manager. Changing light bulbs may be a thing of the past, but quality lighting will always be needed. Manual dampers may have given way to electronic ones — with sensors and actuators that are computer controlled — yet any damper can get stuck, stop working or just ignore signals from the “mother ship.” Someone needs to be there to keep things in order. FMs may be doing more watching and less doing, but analytics and measurement will still be taking up a couple of pockets in the tool belt. The key component in making this data valuable is planning how to best leverage it. The future of facility management will be a self-directed determination derived through an understanding of upcoming needs, the evaluation of possibilities for tomorrow and strategizing how to adapt to new developments. It will create better opportunities and possibilities for facility managers to oversee space allocations, project management, building strategic master plans and concentrating more on the management of facility management. The measure of success in this new era is based on having an FM available and knowledgeable enough to receive, digest and act on the information technology delivers. It is consciously creating a strategic plan based on foresight and legitimate assumptions on what FMs are tasked to do. FMs will still ensure the well-being of personnel, their facility and the environment while continuing to contribute to the bottom line. Digital success isn’t all about technology — strategy is the key driver in the digital arena. FMs have learned to be master strategists, moving away from the analog world has been as linear as 0 1, 0 1. CAREER DEVELOPMENT Knowing technology is here, and acknowledging the impact it will have, should serve as an incentive to plan future actions in which FMs can fulfill their responsibilities. Their role has always been service oriented, but the focus in this regard may need to be broadened. New ways of working in managing intelligent buildings need to be devised, and holding to the status quo is no longer relevant. Facility managers need to look at job titles and roles where their expertise can be expanded and best utilized: • Community outreach: FMs can reach outside their immediate building(s) and take a larger role in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) — not only reporting, but also helping to implement sustainable practices. • Student/teacher: It’s never too late to learn. Whether an FM is learning or explaining — or both — the benefits of education will never fade. If time is available, this may be one of the best ways to use it. • Risk managers: Recent events with hurricanes Harvey and Irma have once again reinforced the need for a disaster recovery/business resiliency plan that doesn’t just sit on the shelf but is a viable, tested, living document reflecting future considerations. • In-house consultants: FMs can become more of a product broker, devoting more time with the purchasing department in determining optimal vendors that serve sustainable purchasing. • Compliance manager: As laws and legislative mandates proliferate and become more proscriptive, being free to monitor and respond to issues in a timely manner could be invaluable. • Service manager: Facility management is service-centric. Continually improving and fine-tuning activities that take care of all stakeholders is critical for long-term success. • Marketing expert: Not only must an FM be an indispensable asset to the organization, they need to publicize that fact. Communication and regular updates of how the facility department has helped a company achieve its goals or save money goes a long way in establishing credibility. • Sustainability expert: Resource management, indoor environmental quality, processes and procedures that promote environmentally safe practices actually create long-term sustainable value for the organization. Some facility managers may do all, or most, of these activities already. But for those who don’t, it might be time to branch out and investigate how else to serve the company. Planning ahead for worse case scenarios is always a smart move. THE END? NOT QUITE! Intuition, experience, consideration and care are not built into computers. Even the sci-fi projections of artificial intelligence don’t account for the most important element of facility management — the human touch. The FM of the future may assume new roles, but evolution does not always lead to extinction. For as long as the profession has been in existence, facility managers have always been there to serve as leaders. The psychology of a good FM includes the traits of empathy, consideration and confidence. These attributes cannot be duplicated artificially or digitally. FMs have the knack of getting things done and a comprehensive ability to maintain a facility under any circumstances. And maybe now they should keep a few dog treats in their pocket, just in case. BILL CONLEY, CFM, SFP, FMP, LEED AP, IFMA Fellow, is facility manager at Yamaha Motor Corp. in Cypress, California, USA. Prior to that, he served as owner and chief sustainability officer of CFM2, a facility management and sustainability consulting company. Conley has more than 40 years of experience in the facility management profession and has been a proponent of sustainable operations for more than 20 years. Conley has served on the IFMA board of directors, is a recipient of IFMA’s distinguished member of the year award and has received the association’s distinguished author award three times. He has been a regular contributor to FMJ for more than 20 years and has authored more than 60 FMJ articles. BY PETER COSTANZO In recent years, facility management teams have found that building information modeling, or BIM, is a proven way to enhance facility management through access to better building data. Deriving the maximum benefits from BIM, however, requires forethought and planning. As noted in The Facility Management Handbook by Kathy O. Roper and David G. Cotts, by maximizing the use of BIM data in facility management and building maintenance, owners and developers can reduce operational costs which can be up to three times the design and construction cost of a building. One of the key ways to extend BIM to the facility maintenance and operation phase of the building lifecycle is developing a BIM Project Execution Plan. CLARIFYING ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES It’s important to recognize that BIM can be a cultural shift. For the process to be successful, all team members — both internal and external — must support information sharing and collaboration. Facility management stakeholders must be included at the very beginning to guarantee the necessary information is gathered early enough in the project to support maintenance and operations needs later in the building lifecycle. Developing a BIM Project Execution Plan helps facilitate organizational buy-in for BIM. A BIM Project Execution Plan, also known as a BIM PxP, supports an organization’s underlying mission and strategic goals for the project. This plan can be viewed as the contractual framework governing the BIM process. It includes the strategic goals, objectives and responsibilities of all project stakeholders. The plan is important because it frames communication and the transfer of data between design phases. It also clarifies specific deliverables that are expected by project completion, their format, level of development and final distribution. When specifying elements in a BIM PxP, it is important to remember that data flow goes both ways. Before implementing BIM, facility managers must share expectations and requirements for data collection as well as transition and handover. However, building the plan is not just about what the facility team needs to run the building once complete, it’s also about the data needed for visualizations for client walk-throughs, the ability to create costing and schedules, or even to make an air-flow model to ensure the project meets specific government regulations. The BIM data can change throughout the We in FM sort of have a code of secrecy working against us. It’s the same code that makes it so hard to explain to others outside the industry what we do all day. Even though, as Tony Keane has pointed out in the past, we’ve come a long way over the years, there’s still more work to do to convince universities to adopt qualified FM courses. FM is an exciting industry; it’s about the unsung heroes who work behind-the-scenes. In every pocket of the world, there’s a need for facility management. So, it’s down to those in the industry to get better at communicating that fact. We have started to explore exciting new frontiers of FM and it’s great that there is now a deeper appreciation of what our industry offers, however, we need to continue thinking about the ways and means we can lure and entice people into the profession. ENTICING THE NEXT GENERATION Every business is responsible for its people. This is especially true for those joining the FM industry or a specific organization for the first time, and even more so for those who are in the early stages of their careers. There are many documented ways to support early career development: apprenticeship, internship and learning and development programs are some of the most popular options for new employees. Organizations should be willing and excited about opening their doors to the next generation if they’re going to attract the best available talent. Businesses have a responsibility to offer young people and entry-level candidates a progression path — not only because doing so will help the overall employment landscape, but also because an influx of new people means an influx of new ideas. The name of the game is innovation, and it’s crucial to the continuing success of any organization. One way to do this is to start leadership programs within organizations. When designing a “Future Leaders” program, spend a lot of time reviewing the organization’s leadership gene pool in order to identify any gaps that can be filled by the next generation of managers. Traditionally, senior decision makers tend to specialize in a single area, so it’s beneficial to create a program that encourages future leaders to learn about and understand the opportunities and challenges of every area of the business As a case in point, in 2016, the U.K.’s Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) accredited the Servest Future Leader program. This means the individuals in the program begin their career in facility management while they study towards a bachelor’s degree-level qualification. Put simply, they get the best of both worlds — an academic and vocational training course that pays them a generous salary while they prepare for a career in FM. THE BUSINESS BENEFITS The future leaders of this industry never stop surprising the organizations they support. The Servest program, as a business, reaps numerous benefits, too. The program has been designed to open young professionals’ eyes to all areas of the company, and they become very well-rounded individuals. After just a few months of starting the program, these individuals contributed towards a significant return on investment. Between them, they run procurement and resource planning projects that actively save the business money. What’s more, the company’s well-being approach has been designed by these future leaders. In short, they’ve made a difference to the business and the company has seen a real return. This year, the company celebrated the graduation of the first cohort of Future Leaders. These individuals have spent the last two years preparing to take on a management role in the company. Having worked in various support functions, and having gained hands-on experience in every operational division, the next generation of leaders have acquired the skills necessary to excel in their chosen careers in the multifaceted realm of FM. Because the company invested in them, these young leaders are passionate about giving back. In many ways, the graduates of these future leader programs are a window into the rest of the business — they’re the shining stars of the organizations they join. Since Servest implemented Future Leaders, in addition to an array of other learning and development initiatives, the business has seen an increase in internal promotions and movement — up by 20 percent. This increase shows that nurturing internal talent can improve both turnover rates and business performance. Employees are more likely to be engaged if employers are invested in their development. This goes back to the basic principal of making sure people feel valued and that their ideas are listened to and taken seriously. Offering people an opportunity to carve out a career for themselves is the best way to inspire and motivate the lifeblood of a business. STAYING AHEAD OF THE GAME In the bid to attract and retain talent, focusing on internal learning and development is essential to help the business flourish. Such provisions also ensure that people have a proper sense of what it means to belong to a company. Business leaders and human resources professionals in FM who are keen to attract and nurture talent should not only offer a clear progression path and a variety of learning and development programs to support the early stages of career development, but they should also give choice to individuals about what, when and how they learn. Creating a learning culture driven by the individuals will turbocharge the business. In a world where young people are faced with many options and different paths, it is important to offer guidance and opportunity. Encouraging young people to try out different roles through leadership programs can help them define their strengths and interests and build passion in their career. At every level of an organization, people must be ready to step into other people’s shoes, otherwise business will come to a grinding halt during transitions. Succession planning is extremely important to prevent the inevitable void when a person leaves. Organizations spend a lot of time talking about talent management — debating how they can find, nurture and retain the individuals that will essentially better their business. For forward-thinking companies, it’s not about ticking boxes or “processes for processes sake.” It’s about identifying the people that will make a positive difference to the business — ultimately, it’s about “seeing” who’s out there and who’s already on board. Managerial success is often quantified by the quality ofå the people coming up from underneath the managers in question. Successful senior managers, and supervisors across various divisions and central functions, actively question how they can give their staff more access to development. In the U.K., Servest has grown from 2,000 to 23,000 employees in 7 years, and globally there are now 50,000 “Servestians” working towards a common goal. Many people at the top of the organization have grown up through the business — proof that nurturing internal FM talent can better a business. FM is all about people. If companies are to attract and retain talent, they need to give their employees something to get excited about — especially those who are hungry to develop their skills and excel in their career of choice. People need a proper sense of what it means to belong to a company if they’re to offer longevity. That can only be achieved if the company offers an attractive progression path. C-J GREEN originally joined Servest’s HR team in August 2009 and has been key in the HR strategy within the business, which has grown from 2,000 to 23,000 employees in the UK in 7 years, and 50,000 employees globally. C-J was promoted to the main board in May 2013 to lead the company’s HR function and ensure HR is both accessible and manageable for everyone. In October 2017 , she was promoted to CEO in recognition of her achievements to date and to support the FM company’s expansion into global markets.
Published by International Facility Management Association . View All Articles.