Facility management is the coordination of everything keeping a business' physical buildings, systems, and assets running. Facility managers execute a long-term, strategic facility management plan as well as manage day-to-day operations. These daily tasks often include reactive maintenance jobs, such as painting, fixing broken equipment, or fastening loose bolts. They could also include predictive and preventive maintenance tasks, such as recurring work orders involving HVAC inspections or routine audits.
Good facility management allows all other employees to focus on the overall mission of the business or organization. According to the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), facility management is the profession that “encompasses multiple disciplines to ensure functionality of the built environment by integrating people, place, process, and technology.”
Facility Management vs. Facility Maintenance
The difference between facility management and facility maintenance is a matter of scope. Facility maintenance is the hands-on component of facility management. The former is more reactive in nature and deals with the day-to-day operations of a facility. The latter, however, is responsible for a long-term, strategic vision focused on predictive and preventive maintenance.
Functions of Facility Management
The functions of facility management involve taking a step back to look at the big picture. Strong facility managers will be able to focus on the long-term priorities. These managers will implement the technology, processes, and people that can help an organization move to a more proactive, predictive mindset. This will result in reduced costs, greater efficiency, improved productivity, and a safer work environment.
Why Is Facility Management Important?
Facility management is important because it's responsible for keeping the physical structure of a building and its assets running. When this is done well, the life cycle of assets, systems, and equipment is lengthened because they're well-maintained. This means a company pays less for emergency repairs or replacements for expensive assets, adding revenue to the bottom line.
Good facility management can shift resources from reactive maintenance tasks to preventive and predictive tasks. Emergency repairs are always more expensive. And often, technicians must be pulled from other jobs, parts require expedited shipping, and production may be stopped.
Many aspects of facility management focus on providing a safe work environment. For example, facility managers make sure smoke detectors and fire suppression equipment are working. They also maintain the HVAC systems responsible for providing clean air and a healthy indoor climate.
Improves Operational Efficiency
Just about every critical asset has a peak operating mode. Factors such as leaks, dirt and debris, and 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 facilities may need to adhere to local, industry, or federal compliance regulations. Good facility management includes complete maintenance and inspection records. These can often be used to illustrate compliance during audits or to fulfill regular reporting requirements.
Provides Engaging, Productive Environments
A staff forced to work with older, partially operating equipment can feel it's impossible to be productive. However, when employees work in a well-run environment, it can increase morale and create a positive and engaging workplace.
Extends Life Cycle of Assets
Many critical assets can be huge investments for businesses and organizations. A commercial HVAC system, for instance, is a necessary but large expense. Good facility management keeps all components running smoothly and efficiently. By putting less stress on the overall system, facility management helps the assets last longer.
Improves Customer Satisfaction
When the behind-the-scenes work of facility management is operating smoothly, the rest of the employees can focus on their core mission. This means 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 customer satisfaction.
The Role of Facility Managers
Facility managers are the point people who are responsible for the critical, yet often hidden, management of property and assets. They keep everything running within buildings including systems, assets, and equipment, so others can focus on the company mission.
Ten Essential Skills of a Successful Facility Manager
1. Project Management
Adept at wearing many different hats at the same time, good at multitasking and working with different team members effectively.
2. Leadership and Strategy
Decisive and visionary in daily work, focused on the long-term picture, fails to get bogged down with details.
3. Operations and Maintenance
Comprehensive understanding of processes and procedures, able to transfer this knowledge as needed to technicians.
4. Risk Management
Ability to balance costs of prevention with minimizing potential for errors and incidents.
Appreciation for the company’s impact on the environment and community and works to implement responsible solutions and processes when possible.
6. Facility Management
Overall understanding of building systems and critical assets that allows for effective and smart business decisions.
7. Technology Management
Capable of keeping up with latest developments and making good decisions on which technologies to implement.
Skilled at providing clear, concise directions and information to multiple levels of employees.
9. Quality Control
Understanding of facets contributing to durability and dependability of product or service, ability to implement quality processes and procedures as needed.
10. Customer Focus
Empathetic to issues and needs of client base, ability to build and maintain those relationships to encourage long-term loyalty.
Where Does a CMMS Fit In With Facility Management
A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) can serve as the backbone of a high-quality facility management program. A CMMS has the ability to store and manipulate key asset, maintenance, and work order data. As a result, the system can serve as an automated way to organize and manage a vast amount of information.
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