At a time when clients are continually challenging the value of facilities management, an expert in the field outlines key trends that should help facilities management companies and their clients see eye-to-eye.
Ali Al Suwaidi, a facilities management expert and board member of the nonprofit Middle East Facility Management Association recently talked to writer and consultant Neha Kaul for Forbes Middle East. He identified these three top trends:
- Performance evaluation and benchmarking
- Integrated facilities management
- Increased awareness
Ali called performance evaluation a critical tool for identifying exactly where and how resources like energy and water are being consumed. “You have to have a predictive type of analysis for your operation, like running a X-ray on cost and efficiency,” he says. For example, this type of evaluation could show whether a member of the janitorial staff is letting vacuums idle or using excess water to clean.
Integrated facilities management (IFM), which goes beyond simply executing facilities management duties, is another trend Ali highlights in Forbes. He’s noticing a transition from total facilities management to integrated facilities management. “The objective is integration with the client’s business and providing intelligence,” he tells Kaul. Rather than just offering a whole service spectrum, IFM embeds the facilities management provider into the business to determine smarter and more cost-effective approaches, he explains.
The third trend is an increased awareness of facilities management. Several years ago, Ali told Construction Week Online that low awareness was the biggest challenge facing facilities management companies. “International firms who operate out of Qatar, for example, provide a strong customer base, but many end-user sectors have still not opened up to the concept of outsourcing facilities management services,” he told the publication at the time.
Now, however, Ali is seeing a better understanding beyond just maintenance. He calls out what he considers to be the three important levels to facilities management: operational, which is day-to-day service; tactical, which helps enhance a facility’s operation; and strategic, which links facilities management strategy to organizational strategy.
“Facility managers that prioritize energy and water efficiency and monitor building performance using the benchmarking process can most definitely see significant results,” Kaul writes. “On the end-user side, these trends will eventually help FM companies effectively identify areas of wastage against industry-set benchmarks, and help eliminate or reduce those inefficiencies.”