By Dave Clifton
Content Strategy Specialist
It’s the ongoing mission of every business to add value to its operations. Whether it’s bottom-line savings or the opportunity to enrich company culture, successful businesses capitalize where they can. That includes leveraging facilities to their benefit whenever possible. How can facilities management add value? In more ways than you think.
To understand the value of good facilities management, it’s vital to look at its core functions. Where and how do facilities touch business operations? Identifying the links between facilities and operations allows managers to develop strategies for creating and maximizing value at every level.
Spotlight on the functions of facilities management
What are the functions of facility management? They are many and diverse, but each is an important cog in the greater role of keeping business operations running smooth. Here are the core tenants of facilities management, as defined by the International Facility Management Association (IFMA):
- Building operations
- Employee safety and security
- Environmental and sustainability
- Grounds management
- Project management
- Real estate management
- Space planning
- Workplace strategy
Facilities touch every part of the business. In focusing on these vital aspects of facilities, businesses gain powerful benefits that translate into value-adds at every level of operation. Here’s a look at some of the most important.
Reduced costs attributed to real estate
Ask yourself, what is the importance of facility management? Above all else, why should a company care about upkeep, maintenance, and oversight of facilities? Here’s a hint: the answer involves dollar signs.
Aside from salaries, facilities are the largest expense on a company’s balance sheet. Much of this total cost breaks down into upkeep and maintenance—which, at some level, are variable costs. Where the lease is a fixed cost, different levels of maintenance and management come with different costs. Many times, the difference between preventive, routine maintenance and reactive repairs is tens of thousands of dollars! Effective oversight of facilities equates to bottom-line savings.
Improved culture and employee satisfaction
The purpose of facilities is to serve the operational needs of the business. Above all, facilities need to provide a productive environment for employees. When you give employees a place to work that makes them feel welcome, accommodated, comfortable, and valued, it translates into better productivity and top-line growth. It’s no secret that happier employees do better work.
The link between facilities management and culture goes far beyond better productivity. It also extends to valuable aspects of company growth, such as talent acquisition and retention, improved company reputation, and even industry reputation. If facilities are a reflection of your company’s values and priorities, good facility management is a strong indicator of excellence and a positive reflection on the company. Few things are so valuable as a strong reputation.
Proactive safety and preparedness
There is no substitute for safety and preparedness. To ensure these things takes emphasis on facilities management. The value that comes from emergency action plans, systems upkeep, and infrastructure evaluation is unparalleled in times of crisis. Good facilities management can literally save lives.
Employee safety and security, alongside environmental and sustainability planning, make up an essential area of value for companies to capitalize on. Not only is there value in potential life-saving planning, there’s tremendous value associated in the preparedness of facilities. For example, investment in digital facilities management leads to agility after workplace disruptions—the ability for employees to work remote or to adapt available workspaces around new parameters. Few events exemplify this like our current pandemic state in 2020.
Create a robust facilities management strategy
What is a facilities management strategy? It’s a comprehensive look at the many facets of facilities management and how they affect the success of your company. In other words, what can you do that’s facilities-focused, that contributes to the broader mission and objectives of the business?
Break this down into granular focuses. For example, what are you doing within your facilities to promote employee safety and security, and what effect does this have on company culture? Or, how has your space planning affected overhead costs and does the current strategy meet employee demands?
You’ll find that asking questions like these quickly weaves a complex web with facilities at the center of it all. Take the time to examine each strand in the web and ask yourself, are we doing everything we can to manage this aspect of facilities appropriately? If there’s value derived from your approach, it’s a good sign you’re approaching management correctly. If you follow the thread and can’t find a benefit, it’s time to reassess your approach to facilities management.
Keep reading: How do I select the right facility management software?