The rapid growth of facility management has spawned a debate about what facility management is and how it differs from property management. Whether you consider a facility manager as a caretaker, a manager, or a financial strategist, facility management has assumed an important role in corporate management for companies large and small. The built environment has become too valuable and complex an asset to ignore or neglect, and its management involves both great potential benefits and risks.
The term "facility" is used to refer to a broad spectrum of buildings, complexes, and other physical entities. The only commonality among these structures is they are all places that serve a purpose. A “facility” may be used to describe a space, building, complex, or even campus. The key is to define the facility as a physical place where business activities are done and to make facility management plans in accordance with the needs and demands of those activities.
After all, the facility requirements of a retail center are far different from those of an office building or manufacturing plant. Good facility management is concerned with addressing those needs in the best and most cost-effective ways possible.
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What is Facility Management?
Facility Management or FM is the process of coordinating the physical workplace with the people and work of an organization. The primary function of facility management is to plan, establish, and maintain a work environment that effectively supports that organization’s goals and objectives.
The term facility management has been around for a long time, but its meaning has changed dramatically over the years. Facility management once only related to the physical maintenance and operation of buildings. As these activities became more complex, facility management incorporated skills from several fields, such as architecture, engineering, and construction. Ultimately, a facility manager’s goal should be to increase an organization’s efficiency and support its vital activities.
Why is Facility Management Important?
Facility management is essential to the ongoing operations and longevity of a building. When a facility management plan is executed well, the life cycle of systems and equipment is extended. This leads to lower operational costs, fewer capital expenditures, and improved returns.
Good facility management can shift resources from corrective maintenance to preventive maintenance. Emergency repairs are more expensive, and technicians often must be pulled from other jobs.
Many aspects of facility management focus on providing a safe work environment. For example, facility managers ensure fire suppression equipment is working properly. They also maintain the HVAC systems and are responsible for providing clean air and a healthy indoor climate.
Improves Operational Efficiency
Just about every asset has a peak operating mode. Factors such as worn components can decrease equipment efficiency. Facility management helps a company stay on top of those maintenance issues that can improve asset efficiency across the board.
Adheres to Compliance
Many facility may need to adhere to local, industry, or federal compliance regulations. A good facility management plan includes complete maintenance and inspection records. These can often be used to illustrate compliance during audits or to fulfill regular reporting requirements.
Provides Productive Environments
A staff that is forced to work with older or partially operating equipment can feel it is impossible to be productive. However, when employees work in a well-run environment, it increases morale and creates a positive and engaging workplace.
Extends Lifecycle of Assets
Many assets can be significant investments for businesses and organizations. A commercial HVAC system, for instance, is a necessary but large expense. A good facility management plan keeps all components running smoothly and efficiently. By putting less stress on the overall system, facility management helps the assets last longer.
Improves Tenant Satisfaction
When the behind-the-scenes work of facility management is operating smoothly, the rest of the employees can focus their core mission. This means that quality products and services are created and delivered on time. It also allows transparency into the system, which can facilitate faster problem resolution. Both of these factors help increase tenant satisfaction.
How to Develop a Facility Management Strategy
The key to developing an effective facility management strategy begins with identifying the unique needs of your organization and building a plan to meet them. For most property managers and landlords, these needs fall into one of two categories: Hard FM and Soft FM.
Hard FM refers to services that relate to the structure of the building and the systems that allow it function normally. These include systems such as fire safety, plumbing, structural, and elevator maintenance. Soft FM, on the other hand, refer to maintenance related services such as pest control, cleaning, landscaping, and security.
For most property managers and landlords that do not have a full time facility manager, managing these tasks is your responsibility and requires the diligent coordination of third party vendors.
Thankfully, Hive helps you to manage all facility management work across your entire portfolio from a single web based application. Through Hive, you can manage work orders from tenants and centralize all your vendor information. To learn more, check out The Ultimate Guide to Property Management, or schedule a demo!