Workplace Technology Assessment
Is your workplace technology holding you back? Take our 5 minute assessment for your free customized report.Take Quiz
By Jeff Revoy
Chief Operations Officer
No one likes having 10 different systems for a single task. Why should facilities management be any different? That’s the idea behind integrated facility management. But what is integrated facilities management and how can it help your business consolidate its FM efforts?
What is IFM?
Integrated facility management (IFM) is the consolidation of facility management efforts under a single, unified team. This includes contracts, vendor partnerships, space management, and real estate planning.
IFM isn’t a radical idea, although it may feel like one. Think about the transition to today’s facility management mindset. Data isn’t siloed anymore—it’s organized and aggregated across the spectrum. The same goes for managing facilities. Separating management tasks, duties, and resources isn’t the answer. IFM brings them together.
Taking the IFM approach
If IFM’s meaning has roots in cohesion, it also has rippling effects of the same caliber. Depending on your current facilities management strategy, making the move to an IFM approach means closing process gaps and controlling costs. Here are a few IFM transition examples:
- Terminate small-vendor contracts in favor of consolidated services with a larger vendor
- Consolidate facilities management duties by delegating oversight to key team members
- Upgrade technologies to reduce manual tasks
- Outsource facilities management operations to a single company or in-house team of qualified experts
The level of IFM varies in scope, but the concept remains the same. The goal is to reduce and eliminate costs, barriers, mistakes, and redundancies.
Focus on what matters most
Higher-level goals govern everyday facility operations. Facilities managers should focus first on big-picture goals, then efficiently manage day-to-day tasks.
Don’t renegotiate contracts across multiple vendors and coordinate their varied services. Instead, rely on one company with one contract. Then, use saved energy and time to focus on improving facilities. Instead of working from the bottom up, good managers work from the top down. Less involvement is a good thing. It means things run properly without direct oversight.
IFM controls costs
Cost is one of the biggest drivers behind an IFM transition. IFM is a great example of economies of scale. In the same way you shop at a bulk retailer for a lower cost per unit price, IFM ensures lower operating costs through consolidation.
IFM also highlights operational cost-saving opportunities. It’s easy to pinpoint where you’re spending too much, being wasteful or inefficient, or not properly budgeting.
Making the move to IFM
Shifting to an IFM approach can seem drastic. Consolidate and streamline FM functions to build confidence. Here are four actionable, practical steps:
- Research current processes—Who’s responsible for the broader facilities management tasks? What vendors are you working with? What are your costs? Outline the current state of facilities management to gauge an IFM starting point .
- Communicate with stakeholders—Why are you making the move to IFM? Identify and explain the return on investment and how it justifies changes in processes and responsibilities. Without good communication, stakeholders may not support change.
- Benchmark goals—Use initial research data to determine how IFM processes compare with legacy practices. Is ROI what you expected? Are you reducing costs and eliminating waste?
- Integrate technology—Make IFM the platform for expanding your office Internet of Things (IoT) and software capabilities (read more on IoT for Facility Management).
Like all things transformative, the move to IFM takes time—and the patience to make it incrementally. Avoid chaos and disruptions by making gradual changes. Identify facility management pain points first, then jettison lackluster vendors, scale back on redundant tasks, and use integrated data to continue tightening processes.
Most importantly, believe in the proven power of IFM. Consolidate the major moving parts of facilities management and watch as crucial tasks and processes streamline themselves. The benefits of an IFM approach will quickly and continually make themselves apparent.
Keep reading: how to select the best facility management software for your organization.