What is Facility Management?
Answered September 17 2019
Facility management is the big-picture coordination of everything that keeps a business’ physical buildings, systems, and assets running. Facility managers must manage both day-to-day operations as well as execute a long-term strategic facility management plan. Computerized systems such as a CMMS can keep details organized, tasks prioritized, and emergencies minimized.
What is Facility Management?
Facility management is the umbrella over any physical building, whether it be a manufacturing facility or an apartment complex. It includes the management of all tasks that are needed to keep the facility and its assets functioning well. 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 that is 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. They 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 is 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 are well maintained. This means a company pays less for emergency repairs or replacement of 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. 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 that is forced to work with older, partially operating equipment can feel it is 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 Lifecycle 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 their core mission. This means that 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 that 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 multi-tasking 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 on 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 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 that contribute 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.
How Facility Managers Use CMMS to Simplify Their Maintenance Programs
Let’s see how a CMMS can play a key role in facility management through real-life examples.
Case Study One: Northside Christian Church
The Northside Christian Church team, based in Indiana, struggled with reams of paper and disconnected voicemail and email communications. Managers and technicians found it difficult to maintain the multiple buildings of this mega-church efficiently. UpKeep offers a mobile app that can be easily accessed on a smart phone, providing easy access to all users. Using UpKeep resulted in more streamlined communication between team members and saved the church time and money.
Case Study Two: Jet
Jet management was trying to keep a large, complex facility organized and on task using weekly spreadsheets. The team selected UpKeep as a simple solution that would be easy to implement across a broad staff. As a result, transparency increased and team members could follow the details of a work order through its completion. Historic data also gave management the tools it needed to make long-term decisions to reduce cost and increase efficiency.
Case Study Three: LHA London
LHA London serves students and newcomers to London with affordable housing. The facility manager of LHA London needed a mobile solution to help care for the business’ 13 housing units. UpKeep helps the organization maintain an organized, user-friendly work space. This has resulted in reducing reactive maintenance in favor of less expensive, more effective preventive or predictive maintenance tasks.
- Facility management encompasses the tasks that an organization must complete to keep the physical buildings and assets running smoothly.
- Facility maintenance is one component of facility management, focusing on the day-to-day tasks that must be completed.
- Facility management is important because it reduces costs, improves productivity, increases safety, and extends the life of critical assets.
- Facility managers coordinate the people, processes, and tasks to ensure building systems and equipment are in good working order.
- Good facility managers must excel in project management, communication, operational excellence, risk management, and customer relations.
- Facility managers rely on CMMS to automate, organization and track critical facility information over time.
Facility Management FAQs
What are the benefits of facility management?
Facility management helps a company or organization keep its physical buildings and critical assets in good working order. Facility management accomplishes this by implementing proven processes, utilizing key technology, and automating work orders.
What is the role of facility management?
The role of facility management includes caring for the physical building and equipment in a responsible manner. This can include building systems such as HVAC, production equipment, or off-site service or monitoring stations. Gathering data, maintenance records, and condition reports play an important role in properly managing a facility.
What is the scope of facility management?
The scope of facility management is broad as it includes the physical buildings, assets, equipment and machinery in an organization. Each company must define the scope of its own facility management program and provide enough resources to manage these systems. Although facility management is often behind-the-scenes, it is critical to keeping an organization functioning and focused on its core mission.