This article is mainly to look at some of the attributes of level 5 facilities management performance and not performance management. It also offers insight into the required abilities and skills for a Facilities Management firm to deliver world class FM services and view other competitors at their summit to see how they struggle at the parity level. Also, quick steps to what a Facility Manager to become seasoned can do will be highlighted, for them to build a personal reputation while meeting customers’ ever changing needs.
Here, a level 5 facilities management performance is described as relevant inputs from organisations with appropriate processes that results into outputs that meets and exceeds the consumers or end user’s expectations. It is about adding value and raising the bar in the workplace and moving above the parity space in the support of the core business activities of an organisation. This performance describes the provision of high performance with focus on the built environment with low cost and increased value within the value chain of an organisation.
In order to attain this kind of performance from an organizational perspective, it requires that facilities service providers excel through the appropriation of certain skills and strategies to overcome the external forces to the built environment. These forces range from poor infrastructures such as unavailable power supply, poor road networks, inadequate communication system, collapsed supply chain management, unsustainable supply relationship management and Generation Y attributes. Others are failed government policies and poor judiciary system. For there to be a clear understanding of what a level 5 performance connotes, it is important to note that there are basic strategies a firm must imbibe and execute.
Based on this premise, I quite agree with Whittaker and Shouse (2013: 9) that “high performance organizations are those that are skilled at developing a strategy, implementing a plan to follow that strategy, operating with an effective performance management system, and constantly reassessing and adjusting their plan to meet an operating and regulatory changing environment’’. This reminded me of a discussion I had with a colleague during a recent professional engagement in Accra where I inquired about what strategic inputs they plan to offer in the coming year. To my surprise, he said they only have operating procedures and they do not do strategies. It became obvious that the firm was only focused on reactive system of operations and obviously will not be adding value and attracting high net worth customers.
In order to address the aforementioned scenario, and some other relative concerns to FM’s, I will be discussing a model that can be used to evaluate and develop a simple but effective high performance facilities and in turn achieve a level 5 facilities performance. Before this is explained I think it is instructive to identify the key attributes of a high performance organisation. Although Whittaker and Shouse (2013) identified six (6) important characteristics of a performing organisation, I will like to include the use of technology to add value through sustainable means. Please see the list below inclusive of my suggestion which makes it the seventh attribute for clarity. These are;
- Strategic approach to the future of the organisation.
- High level strategy and planning skills.
- An in-depth knowledge of their stakeholders/customers.
- Sound process for accomplishing work.
- Process for continual improvement.
- Commitment to the development of the workforce
- Use of appropriate Technology (CMMS, IWMS, CAFM, BIM)
Still in line with the use of technology, I agree with Teicholz (2013) that appropriate technology use empowers problem solving and enables new opportunities and approaches that expand the role and capabilities of facilities management. Hence, it will make a lot sense to use the above attributes to scan a facilities management firm and address all concerns. He further explained that an organisation can meet its market leadership quest and differentiation goals through proper selection and implementation to achieve future values. I have had the opportunity to use three (3) different softwares for process integration and I really find one of it which is Sysdesk (http://www.sysservesolutions.com
) to be a simple, cost effective and a veritable tool for Facilities Management Organisations. There are hundreds of such, but care should be taken to select an appropriate one for specific purposes. Engaging a consultant in this instance will really go a long way to meet the organisations needs.
Now, let us look closely at the role of an FM will have to play in order to achieve good organisational effectiveness. To achieve a level 5 performance in the built environment, knowledge is required as well as unique abilities, an optimum level and a well maintained physical infrastructure to deliver top notch services in a sustainable manner. In congruent to this, Whittaker and Shouse (2013:11) added that “the Facility Manager must carefully balance inputs such as energy, labour, materials and capital (both political and financial), to deliver quality services to the organisation. They further argued that this is achieved by the Facility Manager through the development and implementation of processes such as real estate portfolio planning, work management, space management, continually monitoring customer feedback, and managing operating and capital budgets.
As identified earlier, one of the proposed models is the high performance facilities model which is a three-fold stance; organisational effectiveness, facility life-cycle performance and business practices. Pedraza (2014), an independent Consultant explained organizational effectiveness as “the efficiency with which an association is able to meet its objectives”. He explained further that “an organization that produces a desired effect or an organization that is productive without waste”. Hence, looking closely at his definition of an effective organisation runs itself without waste, we can argue that such firms has the in-built capacity and effective processes to deliver high level result with minimum energy, time, materials and money while still meeting their bottom-lines which is to make profit. Consequently, the main measure of organizational effectiveness for a business will generally be expressed in terms of how well its net profitability compares with its target profitability.
The figure below shows the three basic areas that determines the achievement of a high performance FM services.
Still in line with these thoughts, Dattagupta (2014) added that additional measures might include growth data and the results of customer satisfaction surveys. In addition to this, he explained that highly effective organizations exhibit strengths across five areas: leadership, decision making and structure, people, work processes and systems, and culture. For an organization to achieve and sustain success, it needs to adapt to its dynamic environment. organisation to be an icon of model in the built environment.
The second stance of the high performance facilities model is ability to measure facility life-cycle performance. Hodges & Sekula (2013:275) explained that “one of the facility manager’s greatest contributions to their organisation is the ability to look at the entire life-cycle of its physical assets and make capital purchasing decisions that provide the greatest economic benefits”. I agree with their suggestion that having a full grasp of the total cost of ownership (TCO) of purchases made will help achieve a high facility performance. The TCO hinges on the cradle to grave of a facility in terms of all-in-all cost, which is also defined as the total expenditures an owner will make over the course of the service life of the building or system under construction.
Hodges & Sekula (2013) provided strategies on managing building life-cycle and in turns promotes the facility performance. This involves the following;
- Strategy: Extension of service life, gain in efficiency, reduction in space demand.
- Tactics: Proper O&M and timing of capital repairs, equipment replacement, consolidation and space management.
- Results: Longer service life, lower life cycle cost, lower occupancy cost.
The third stance is the business practices, and is defined as the method, procedure, process, or rule employed or followed by a company in the pursuit of its objectives, (www.businessdictionary.com
, 2015). Owing by this simple definition, it involves the organisations corporate governance, culture and values geared up to meet their relative vision via strategies for growth and profitability. It also involves employees capability build-up to meet customers’ needs and for necessary market differentiation. Although there are concerns that some employers do not really invest in their team because they fear they will leave soon. The level of risk the employer is working to avoid cannot be compared to the liabilities accepted by not providing adequate and strategic training for their team.
According to the business confidence (2015) report by BIFM for UK & the UAE, I discovered that a lot of Facilities Management firms may go bankrupt because of no specialized skills and thus new entrant firms come to squeeze their margin because of no barrier to entry. Therefore, I agree with the common saying that a trained staff is an asset and an untrained staff is a liability to his employers. Therefore, it is expedient to develop rare skills in the eleven competencies identified by IFMA bothering on the current Facilities management needs. This can be achieved via continuous professional development training and deliberate association with first class professional FM professionals globally.
Chris Hodges & Mark Sekula (2013),’Sustainable Facility Management-The Facilities Management Guide to Optimizing Building Performance’, US
Eric Teicholz (2013),’Technology for Facility Managers-The Impact of Cutting-Edge Technology on Facility Management’, John Wiley & Sons, Inc
Jim Whittaker & Teena Shouse, (2013),’High Performance As a Goal-Achieving Excellence in Facilities Management’, Vision spot publishing, USA.