Your Guide to Facilities Management Today

by | Jul 23, 2018

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What’s on this page?

  1. What is Facilities Maintenance?
  2. Soft and hard services
  3. Why is effective facilities management and maintenance vital to an organisation’s success?
  4. A brief history of facilities management
  5. The benefits of effective facilities management and maintenance
  6. What does the role of the Facilities Manager involve?
  7. Responsibilities of the Facilities Manager can include:
  8. Core traits and skills of a successful Facilities Manager:
  9. Why should you outsource facility maintenance?
  10. The benefits of outsourcing facilities maintenance
  11. Why is outsourcing facilities maintenance more effective?
  12. Which sectors are known to outsource FM?
  13. A bespoke approach to facilities maintenance
  14. Facilities Management and Maintenance from the Experts

In this fast-paced digital era, effective facilities management and maintenance are increasingly important. Organisations occupy increasingly complex buildings and use sophisticated technology for communications and control, which is why it’s vital to plan, maintain and manage these facilities effectively. As a critical business discipline, facilities management and maintenance (FM) should be an integral part of your strategic plan.

Facilities management and maintenance have come of age, and the FM sector is now large and complex, comprising a mix of specialist contractors, in-house departments and multi-service companies. Good facilities management can deliver greater adaptability, flexibility and sustainability for your organisation.

  • Market research suggests that the UK’s FM sector is worth between £40 billion and £111 billion.
  • Global FM estimates the worldwide market value to be $1.12 trillion.

What is Facilities Maintenance?

“An organisational function which integrates people, place and process within the built environment with the purpose of improving the quality of life of people and the productivity of the core business.” – The Professional Body for Facilities Management (BIFM).

Facilities maintenance can include ensuring that capital assets such as machinery, robotics, research equipment and medical devices are kept in good working order; that commercial appliances including boilers and HVAC units are regularly serviced and properly maintained; and that working areas in and around a premises are kept in good functional and aesthetic condition. 

Facilities managers must be conscious of the role that technology can play in improving efficiency, reducing cost, and providing a safe and comfortable working space for staff.  

FM is comprised of a number of different services and disciplines, but one thing that all have in common as that they are essential to ensuring efficient and smooth business operations, even though they may not be essential business functions. Simply put, FM is all about looking after your buildings and the people who inhabit them.

Soft and hard services

As a facilities manager, you will have to understand the difference between soft services and hard services: 

  • Soft Services – Involve the management of people to carry out services (such as cleaning, catering, ICT, accounting, HR, marketing, hospitality)
  • Hard Services – Physical items (such as planning, workplace, design, construction, lease, occupancy, maintenance and furniture)

There can be overlaps between these soft and hard services. An example is security services – the hard aspect involves the physical security infrastructure, and the soft aspect involves staff training and tasks.

Between delegating maintenance tasks, and facilitating training for your personnel, and actively ensuring that repairs and physical infrastructure upgrades take place – the job of a facilities manager includes both soft services and hard services.  

Did you know? Market research suggests that the UK’s FM sector is worth between £40 billion and £111 billion

You play an important role in the effective running of your organisation, and understanding the role of staff is vital for facilities managers. 

Why is effective facilities management and maintenance vital to an organisation’s success?

Effective facilities management and maintenance are essential to the performance of any business, no matter the size and scope.

  • Corporate level – Contributes to the delivery of operational and strategic objectives.
  • Day-to-day level – Provides a safe and efficient working environment.

The benefits of effective facilities management and maintenance

Good facilities management and maintenance results in the effective management of your assets. 

It includes being willing to try new working processes and style, incorporate a degree of flexibility that is vital in a technology-driven age, as well as helping to ensure business continuity and workforce protection. 

What does the role of the Facilities Manager involve?

Facilities managers (FMs) operate across the functions of the business functions, operating on both a strategic and operational level. In the fast-growing discipline of facilities management, professionals in this area are tasked with providing, maintaining and developing a number of different services such as:

  • Property strategy
  • Space management
  • Communications infrastructure
  • Building maintenance, testing and inspections
  • Building administration
  • Contract management
  • EHS: environment, health and safety
  • Security
  • Business continuity planning

Responsibilities of the Facilities Manager can include:

  • Oversee contracts and service providers for functions such as catering, cleaning, parking, security and technology.
  • Supervising teams of staff across different divisions.
  • Ensure that basic facilities are well-maintained.
  • Manage budgets.
  • Ensure cost-effectiveness.
  • Ensure that facilities meet compliance standards and government regulations.
  • Advise businesses on measures to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the facility.
  • Oversee any renovations, refurbishments and building projects.
  • Help with office relocations.
  • Draft maintenance reports.

Core traits and skills of a successful Facilities Manager:

Successful facilities managers are proactive thinkers with good communication skills. They are able to motivate a team, show leadership, and build trust.  

They possess the ability to multi-task and prioritise and have good time management skills, and are comfortable with the procurement process and negotiating. 

They are competent writers, with an ability to communicate technical information, and a solid understanding of soft and hard service delivery.  

ICT skills are becoming increasingly important for facilities managers, as technology has revolutionised many preventative maintenance tasks, and assist in auditing the condition of infrastructure.  

Most importantly, a facilities manager should be passionate about their job. 

Larger companies may have a dedicated internal facilities manager, but smaller businesses tend to rely on another member of staff (such as an office manager) who has other core responsibilities. In a world where the demand for total facilities management is growing, many companies are choosing to use a specialist outsourced provider to perform the FM role.

Why should you outsource facility maintenance?

The benefits of outsourcing facilities maintenance

Often the most effective and cost-efficient way to manage and maintain your facility is to use a third-party, outsourced company that specialises in these services.

Why is outsourcing facilities maintenance more effective?

Customers of an outsourced FM company benefit from:

  • Supplier expertise
  • Volume savings
  • Simplified management processes

Less time and money spent on maintaining your facility means more money and time to go towards your core revenue-generating tasks. Your staff and stakeholders can rest assured that industry experts are supported in the business through a solid infrastructure.

Here are some more in-depth benefits of outsourced facilities maintenance

  • Facility maintenance services are generally ‘non-core’ activities, so having an outsourced provider take care of these services leaves your staff to focus on revenue-generating activities.
  • Specialised facilities maintenance companies can manage both hard and soft FM services on your behalf.
  • By using one FM provider, you’re able to streamline all your infrastructure and support services by having one point of contact and invoicing.
  • The ability to scale FM services up and down when required.
  • Access to industry experts who can provide insights and recommendations.
  • Your company can benefit from the volumes of scale the facilities maintenance company has access to, including equipment and technology solutions that would often be too expensive for one company to adopt alone.
  • Access to 24/7 maintenance and support when things go wrong.
  • All service staff is employed by the outsourced FM company, which means fewer people on your payroll and lower costs as a result.
  • The outsourced provider will also invest in staff training and development, one less thing for your company to worry about.
  • Overall, embracing an outsourced facilities maintenance solution means that you receive better service and support with fewer headaches.

Which sectors are known to outsource FM?

  • The Public Sector
  • Logistics
  • Education
  • Professional Services
  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturing
  • Retail
  • Technology

A bespoke approach to facilities maintenance

FM services are applied differently depending on company sector, size and type. While some companies only need a single service delivered, others may need a total facilities management solution. For example, companies operating in more complex or riskier environments need to meet more compliance standards and require more specialist services.

Facilities Management and Maintenance from the Experts

Not all companies require a full-time facilities manager, and delegating the task to someone in your workforce can mean that tasks aren’t completed to the highest standard. Facilities management is a specialised role that may fall outside of the required skillset of your employees in their day-to-day role in the business.  

That’s where finding a trusted partner becomes important. At Smarter Business, we believe in helping your business save time and money.  

There are no additional fees for using our services. We just find the best service providers at the lowest rates, with a tailored service that understands your unique business needs.  

We know that your priority should be to create a profitable business, so we do the legwork and provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions.  

If you’re interested in finding out more about how Smarter Business can help with your facilities maintenance needs, get in touch with our team of experts today. 

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