Facility management is hard to define because of its broad scope. It involves the coordination of everything that keeps a company’s buildings, assets, and systems running. On top of managing day-to-day operations, facility managers must also execute the long-term strategic facility management plan of their company.
So, the role of a facility manager goes far beyond “managing facilities.” Because of this, many businesses have a hard time maximizing the advantages of their facility managers.
So that you can better understand what a facility manager does exactly and what effect can they have on your business, let’s break down the main pillars of facility management.
Facility Management vs. Facility Maintenance
Facility management overlaps with facility maintenance, but it’s not the same thing. The difference between the two is comparable to the difference between a computer programmer and a project manager.
The project manager is the one who defines the scope of the whole project and takes responsibility for it, while the programmer is the one who writes code and creates the product.
Similarly, facility management encompasses facility maintenance. Facility management is responsible for creating a strategic vision that focuses on preventative and predictive maintenance.
Facility maintenance deals with day-to-day operations of a building. It is more reactive in nature. While facility managers are not directly responsible for carrying out maintenance work, they need to oversee grounds maintenance, asset maintenance and repair, management of fleet vehicles, and custodial and housekeeping services.
The Importance of Facility Management
By improving productivity and reducing building costs, the facility manager contributes to the bottom line of their company. They ensure every employee can perform their job as efficiently as possible. Every good facility manager possesses a set of leadership skills, and those skills can contribute to the profitability of their business.
Creating an accommodating work environment for all employees in the building is the foremost objective of every facility manager. This can serve many broader goals, including creating a positive workplace culture, improving efficiency and productivity, and attracting and training top talent. The following are just some ways a facility manager can provide employee support:
- Handling emergency planning
- Space utilization and facilitating moves
- Managing employee directories
- Coordinating desking arrangements
The facility manager of a company serves as a bridge between the workplace and everyone working within it. It’s up to the facility manager to deal with issues of comfort, safety, accommodation, etc.
This applies upward, as well. The facility manager also needs to determine the long-term approach to workplace optimization and provide vital planning data to the C-suite. Facility managers can shed light on competitive advantages at the employee level through their everyday interaction with the workplace.
Facilities Upkeep and Improvement
Naturally, facility management mostly has to do with the improvement of the physical building and facilities upkeep. The facility manager needs to manage assets, plan for the future, and cultivate partnerships. A wide variety of responsibilities falls under this scope of expectations, including:
- Agreeing and overseeing contracts for services including, parking, cleaning, data centre safety, catering, HVAC maintenance, painting, etc.
- Inspecting the structure of buildings to determine the need for renovations and repairs.
- On and off-site property management
- Workplace decor
- Ensuring the facilities meet environmental and health standards, as well as government regulations
- Managing budgets
- Gathering condition reports and maintenance records
If something has to do with the physical building, it falls under the realm of facility management.
There has to be a process that governs the functions of facility management. It’s the job of the facility manager to establish these processes. These processes bring order to the workplace. They can include:
- Emergency action planning
- Checking in guests and visitors
- Reservicing space within the facility
- Submitting work order requests
Ultimately, such processes should have a positive impact on the way employees utilise the workplace. The facility manager serves a dual role here—their task is to identify governance areas and adapt processes that cover them.
Every workplace runs on a multitude of processes, and the new processes the facility manager needs to establish may involve different spaces, fixtures, assets, employees, and departments.
Facility managers of today heavily rely on technology. One of the chief responsibilities of facility managers is identifying and implementing the right technologies.
The IT department is typically responsible for integrating physical technology. However, the facility manager has the first and last word on how the company should select, use, and leverage those technologies. In a modern setting, facility managers may need to:
- Use aggregated data to better understand the workplace
- Determine the advantage, cost, and ROI of smart technologies
- Research IoT devices
- Integrate IoT devices into everyday facility processes
To get insights about the workplace, facility managers can use networked technologies. By analyzing the collected data, they can learn how to improve the work environment.
However, not every networked device relies on data collection. Still, every piece of networking tech has its function, and it’s the job of the facility manager to understand and leverage this function.
If a business wants to make sure that every system within the built environment works harmoniously, they need a facility manager. By establishing processes for order and organization, your facility manager will support your employees and your business—both directly and indirectly.