FM Trends to Watch for in 2018

January 14, 2018

2018. Are you going to lead your organisation to an outsourced future or or a future of strategic leadership?


In the second quarter of 2017, the Australian GDP grew 0.8 percent quarter on quarter, marking 104 consecutive periods without a recession, one of the longest streaks in the world. Yet, the economy is facing some headwinds as wage growth is stagnant, the housing market is slowing and subdued prices of iron ore, coal and oil and slower growth in China may lower exports revenues. The current Government economic policy is far from “strong and stable”; highly reactive as best. With that in mind and the impact that cyclic fiscal policy will likely have on the Corporate and Education sectors (read “unsustainable cuts”), what is going to impact the Facilities Management Leadership Team in 2018 (and beyond)?


Your job as an FM Leader is to anticipate your Corporate Leaderships needs before they become requests to cut costs (ie your department) and deliver strategies that will improve your company's bottom line performance.


Here are seven ideas we think will impact the sector this year.


Benchmarking FM Spend


The first step for many companies managing multiple facilities is simply getting a handle on spend.  Being able to capture and report on repair & maintenance (R&M) costs across locations, trades, regions, vendors and more can be an eye opening experience in itself. If you think you have a handle on spend now, just wait


However as more companies get a window into their spend, many are now interested in learning if this spend is ‘appropriate.’ What’s appropriate? For example, how does that spend compare against other similar companies or industry standards?  Analysing FM spend against appropriate benchmarks will further empower facilities managers to better control that spend and drive improved performance across their organisations.


Data-Driven Decision Making


More of our clients are progressing from only managing operational issues at a granular level, such as tracking day-to-day work orders, and toward using FM-specific analytics to make more broad-based adjustments.


Powerful analytics tools increasingly provide FMs (and importantly, other executives) with true, actionable insights that can really make deep impacts on costs.  The value derived from this type of business intelligence will be increasingly necessary to keep business viable in the future, especially those they depend on an portfolio asset base for delivery of their services.


Those that aren't using these tools are being left behind; making poor decisions or just not make decisions. As a result, these organisations are suspect to competitive forces and their facilities team ripe for outsourcing.


Facilities Data and Business Data


In addition to diving deeper into the data specific to facilities programs, there’ll be even more to learn by investigating the relationships between facilities data with other data that companies either capture now or are beginning to collect and analyse.


Many companies have a wealth of data being stored in disparate systems, from core financial to contracts to performance data to other operational data such as inventory levels, lease information, utility/waste/water management and equipment/asset aging.


By using advanced database and analytics techniques, companies will be able to see both facilities’ impact on the rest of their business, and just as importantly, how the rest of their business impacts their facilities.  This unification of data analysis will open the door to a wealth of new insights that will support improvements in both the revenue and cost side of any company’s income statement.


Internet of Things


Maintenance and service requests, work orders, emergency calls and any kind of work that needs to be done are people-generated for the most part.  Something breaks or stops working, someone notices the problem, reports it and it gets fixed (in most cases). But what happens until someone notices it?  Or if they don’t?  The problem can fester and have increasingly negative ramifications, from customer perceptions to costs.


But new technologies- the ‘Internet of Things’  (IoT) is driving changes to all aspects of our lives, including those in facilities management.  How?  As the IoT continues to catch on, equipment and assets will be able to self-monitor themselves and automatically know when they need service or maintenance.  


And as connected (to the internet) devices, equipment will be able, in a sense, to submit their own work requests and get serviced - before problems occur and negatively impact the all important customer experience.  Work orders will be submitted and addressed before companies even realise a repair is needed.


(note that no one company has the market cornered on IoT technologies; best to speak to an independent consultant who takes an agnostic view of the technologies and can walk you through the process).


More FMs Go Mobile


The view of the FM sitting at a desk, managing from afar is a distant memory for most.  FMs are no longer sitting behind their computer at their desk; they’re in the field working with on-location staff, getting a better perspective on the facilities for which they are responsible.  With a focus on maintaining brand compliance and brand uptime across a range of sites, the FM today is typically out of the office and on-the-go.


With more and more mobile capabilities in FM systems, the FM can do virtually everything that they needs to do, regardless of location.  From managing work orders (e.g., creating, editing, tracking work orders) to conducting site audits and safety reviews (e.g., comprehensive pass/fail, logging issues with photos) mobile phones and tablets are boosting efficiencies, ensuring completeness and reducing issues’ time-to-resolution, all while maintaining visibility across all aspects of a portfolio.


Payment Processing


Getting contractors paid quickly and cost-effectively can have an impact on the quality of service delivered. When your vendors are struggling to get invoices processed by your company in a timely fashion, they may end up being less responsive to your needs.


Payment technology advances are bringing benefits not only to consumers but to facilities management and related functions.  For example, as Point of Sale payments move from cash and card to phone (e.g., ApplePay, SamsungPay, ChasePay, etc.) facilities managers will similarly benefit by shifting payments from check to electronic payment for more streamlined and less costly payment processing.


Changing Face of FM


The average facilities manager in Australia is a male and in his mid to late 40s.  However, as this population ages, the industry itself will need to attract a younger and more diverse pool of candidates.


Technology vendors will be more important as this new demographic that’s grown up with technology will expect similar tools to support them in their career path.  And companies will integrate facilities management more into their core business operations as these ‘new’ FMs will look for a role that can engage with and impact all facets of their organisations.


As economic, environmental and technological conditions continue impacting the evolution of the FM sector, there’s one thing we know for sure.  The space will continue to be one buffeted by change.  And on our end, it’s one in which BeyondFM is excited to keep helping drive the industry forward by supporting all participants in the facilities management ecosystem.


Contact BeyondFM today to discuss your requirements

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