Facilities Management: Poorly Understood But So Vital To Business Operations
The International Facility Management Association says that facility management is a career that involves several fields of knowledge and practices to promote functionality of facilities. Personnel, the facility itself, the processes in use, and the state of technology implemented are all under the sphere of influence of facility management. When wielded correctly, a facility operates at its peak efficiency, safety, and proficiency. Operating and managing the facility will cost anywhere between four and eight times the cost of the building itself over the lifetime of its use, second only to the employee payroll of that organization. Great facilities management keeps the management and operational costs low, resulting in the maximization of cost savings over the life of the facility. A good facilities manager is worth his or her weight in gold and then some.
There are many facets to managing a facility that are pretty universal, but every business has certain needs that must be a primary focus to the facility manager. The manager of a facility will have to institute a regimen and tracking program for the budgeting of capital, hoteling for offices, tracking assets, assessing the condition of the facility, lease management, preventative maintenance, use of space, and preparing for emergency situations.
All good facilities managers individualize their operations in a way that best meets their client’s organizational needs. Facility managers typically use management applications such as the integrated workplace management system (IWMS), Archibus, or computer aided facility management (CAFM). Building information management is an important part of managing the facility. As built documents are a vital source of building information, being the final documents produced right before building construction. New changes to that building for the sake of improving operations will need to be analyzed through their impact on the building by analyzing those as built documents and seeing where the facility’s capacity for change lies. This information can be transferred into the form of 3d models and other practical deliverables that will help all facility decision makers with their tasks.
Facility managers typically take on multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary degree courses in college. The sheer breadth of disciplines needed to manage a facility makes the degree program offerings differ quite a bit among the schools that offer them. Some degree programs may excel at teaching facilities management for particular kinds of facilities (offices, academic institutions, convention centers, sports arenas, shopping malls, hospitals, hotels, factories, etc.)
Today, though the field is not well understood by the general public, businesses and other organizations that need to make effective use of expensive facilities understand the value of a good facilities manager, so the field is more competitive than you would think given its relative level of awareness.Adding to the difficulty of being a facility manager, you have to make decisions that take into account both strategic and operational considerations. It is not enough to make a change because you need to improve efficiency for a particular operation, you have to always be cognizant of the impact that change will have on the bigger picture. Worker injury, fire safety, security, maintenance, cleaning, and efficiency are all strategic goals that must be reached by everything a good facility manager does.
If you are planning to get into this highly rewarding field, or already are in it and want some great reference materials to add to your knowledge base, I suggest you check out some facility management books like The Facility management Handbook by Cotts, Roper, and Payant. I have no business interest in promoting this book; I simply recommend it as the most useful reference in my own practice.
Helping others enter and succeed in the great field of facilities management is a high priority for Nygel. Our guest blogger wrote this post on behalf Coast 2 Coast Surveys; providers of facilities management and many other fine services.