University breaks FMP certification records, builds an SFP fan base This past May, FM certification history was made for a second time at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The school became the first to surpass 150 successful recipients of IFMA’s Facility Management Professional (FMP.) credential program. Back in 2015, the WUSM department of facilities management set its first historic record in FM professional development. That year, shortly after it launched a strategic partnership with IFMA, it saw 79 WUSM staff members earn the FMP credential in less than three months. IN the March/April 2015 issue of FMJ magazine, Melissa Hopkins, the school’s assistant vice chancellor and assistant dean of facilities operations, discussed the success of the institution’s partnership with IFMA and their FM credentialing program. Now, Hopkins and Michelle Gubin, WUSM communications coordinator, FMD, are back to provide an update on the program’s continued success after three years. Hopkins and her team established the FMP training program to help WUSM overcome several challenges around using the knowledge, confidence and strategic insight — challenges that have been addressed as more staff members have earned the FMP designation. Since the program launched, the WUSM facilities management team experienced so much success with FMP training, as well as IFMA Sustainability Facility Professional™ (SFP.) training, that they said it warranted a second look at what they are achieving with credentials. Their goal became to break as many credentialing records as possible. Since the department’s increase in FMP credentials, they report WUSM facility managers have gained the skills and knowledge to break down silos among functional groups, get on track with common terminology, create positive outcomes with proven FM strategies and empower staff to take on leadership roles on project teams and committees. Since the program was implemented, they report cross-functional teams have become increasingly collaborative and knowledgeable about one another’s areas of responsibilities, making project times shorter with more effective outcomes. The positive changes in the department were soon reflected throughout the School of Medicine. Several months after the first wave of FM staff earned their FMPs in 2015, the WUSM facilities management department conducted a customer service survey to gauge effectiveness. The survey results reported that 26 types of work orders out of 35, including electrical services and emergency management tasks, rated better in 2015 than in the previous year. It added up to a perception of more than 74 percent improvement in customer service. Furthermore, a university survey of the WUSM leadership team on credential training yielded even more positive feedback. About 80 percent of those surveyed indicated that they felt very satisfied with department outcomes since FMP training. An additional August 2015 survey of WUSM FMPs, taken after the first group was trained, indicated that the students felt the training was very beneficial to them in their staff roles. In addition to the training timeframe being well received, students also indicated that they gained much more beneficial FM knowledge than they had anticipated. Some FMPs commented that the credential training exposed them to all areas of FM, helped them develop a common language among functional groups, and contributed to positive inter-departmental interaction. Gubin said university leadership, including the vice chancellor and dean of the school of medicine, have expressed support for WUSM’s FMP and SFP programs. The program has been commended as credential-holding FMs have had a positive impact on project outcomes, positive organizational changes, community well-being, departmental empowerment and the competitive edge that lends to the high profile of the university and the School of Medicine. The facility management team has become a highly-visible and respected department due to WUSM’s IFMA credential training program. Because of the program’s achievements, WUSM’s credential training program has grown to include trainees from fifteen partner organizations, including the Federal Reserve, Boeing and Pfizer. Recognizing the benefits to both the individual and the organization has allowed WUSM to attract trainees from both the public and private sectors. Additionally, WUSM FM training has recently grown to include IFMA’s Sustainability Facility Professional. (SFP.) credential program. Sustainability became a larger part of the university’s goals and initiatives with publication of the Washington University in St. Louis 2015-2020 Strategic Plan for Sustainable Operations. This strategic plan outlines the university’s goals for energy conservation, decreased emissions, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings, sustainable communities and more. Because SFP training covers many of the same topics, it was an ideal fit to propel the WUSM team of 44 SFP-credentialed FMs to meet sustainability challenges head on. “Now there are several SFP holders on the university’s sustainability committee, participating in important decision making for the campus in a high-visibility role. In particular, one SFP worked closely with energy engineers to focus sustainable efforts to align with strategies outlined in the Plan for Sustainable Operations,” Grubin says. She adds the FMPs and SFPs within the WUSM facility management department have become equipped to make important decisions efficiently and with an acute understanding of the future impacts of actions taken in the present. As credentialing has grown, the FM department’s continued success supports the program’s goals, as well as the professional development goals of each person on the team. Service efficiencies gained With increased training and cross-functional efficiencies, WUSM was able to combine three call centers into one. Survey results showed a 74 percent improvement in customer service. Facilities Integrated Services Center CUSTODIAL SERVICES FACILITIES ENGINEERING PARKING AND TRANSPORTATION WUSM FM credentials earned each year The FM professional development and certification program at WUSM has led to more than 150 staff members becoming certified. 38 FMPS 2017 95 FMPS 2015 16 FMPS / 44 SFPS 2016 In 2014, the department began an extensive reinvestment program, achieving significant operational efficiencies totaling US$4.8 million, with a five-year cumulative savings of US$18 million to the School of Medicine. Additional efficiencies of US$1.9 million achieved also allowed for the department to reinvest in improving campus technology, reinvest in employees through improved wages and annual training programs and enhance campus services levels in the areas of planning, custodial operations, campus safety and public realm.
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