Sunday, May 9, 2010

Where Is FM Headed?

Every once in a while it is fun to gaze into the crystal ball, not only for the amusement factor but also because it is a strategic activity.  Strategic in the sense that you look outside your current circumstances and try to discern likely futures, and doing that can in turn shape the shifts you make in anticipation.  

So let’s do a bit of strategic gazing.  As we look at the future of Facility Management what do we imagine might be different in the coming years?  Here are a few suggestions.

Budgets will be determined at the strategic level and given to FM to prioritize and manage.  This shift will be driven by the need for agility in executing corporate priorities and the importance of aligning capital spend and operations in an increasingly complex and integrated technology environment.  It recognizes that executive leadership is best positioned to prioritize strategy while business unit leadership is best positioned to prioritize investments within a strategy.

FM will be elevated to the C-Suite.  There will be a second “CFO” in the suite, the Chief Facilities Officer (alternatively, the Chief Asset Officer).  The sheer value of FM is rising to the level that it demands front office executive attention.  As a result, business acumen will become the number one FM executive skill and many FM units will be headed by leaders who do not have a technical background.  MBA’s will lead FM, PE’s and professionals will remain in their traditional roles.

Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) will be prioritized to extend asset life cycles.  Financial investment in capital assets will be recognized as a significant lever on the overall health of an organization.  With this the primary emphasis of SLA’s will be shifted to maximizing the life of assets and contributing to productivity. 

Global recession fallout will be with us for the foreseeable future.  The forms this takes will be many.  Reduced capital availability and higher cost will limit options, placing an emphasis on space efficiency.  Coupled with a younger workforce and their work lifestyle expectations the trend towards increased use of alternative office strategies will continue.

The line between FM and IT will continue to blur.  Said another way, FM will become more and more dependent upon IT.  The mantra will continue to be streamlined processes that operate intuitively and require less and less intervention.  By definition that means a more complicated data sharing and dependency environment. 

Worker productivity will be the measure for everything.  FM value will be stated in productivity terms, including how the workspace is organized and maintained.  Service initiatives will support increased productivity and outcomes for most projects and initiatives will be measured and reported.  Why?  Because productivity is a root issue.  It leads directly to revenue, space, cost of services and everything else that affects the bottom line.

Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) will be the development vehicle of choice.  BIM and IPD are here to stay, and that’s a good thing.  BIM contributes to both the development goals of a project and its life long efficiency and sustainability.  IPD is simply what it says, a fully integrated approach to delivering projects.  It means partnering and working in truly integrated fashion, including sharing risk and rewards.  The payoffs are faster delivery, lower first and life cycle costs, higher satisfaction and more opportunity.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

IPD, BIM, FM, Lean … All in One Place

Recently I have been working on a personal research project, looking to gather some of the more informative and interesting sources into one bundle.  You may be aware of most of these, but my contribution to the greater good this week is to put them all in one place, and maybe introduce you to one or two you were not aware of.  For those of us who work in the real estate, capital projects and operations side of facilities, these are good sources to have at hand.  Naturally, given where the profession is these days, lean, IPD and BIM are prominent.

The National Institute of Building Sciences’ Whole Building Design Guide offers a wealth of information on built environment standards and best practices.

The mission of the Open Standards Consortium for Real Estate (OSCRE) is to deliver global electronic real estate standards.  Members often compete in the business arena but collaborate within the OSCRE framework to further the development of standard real estate measurements and tools.  

The Building Smart Alliance focuses on building system interoperability and full lifecycle implementation to attain lowest overall operating cost, optimum sustainability, energy conservation and environmental stewardship.

The Journal of Building Information Modeling (JBIM) is a publication of the National Institute of Building Sciences which focuses on Building Information Modeling’s (BIM) application to the lifecycle management of the built environment.

Tradeline, Inc. produces excellent conferences primarily geared towards the academic environment.  Register on their site and you have access to a wide array of research reports which will be beneficial regardless of which sector you operate in.

The Construction Users Roundtable is an offshoot of the Business Roundtable.  Founded in 2000 its mission is to create a competitive advantage for construction users by focusing on cost effectiveness, improving construction planning and what Owners allow, require, and accept responsibility for on their global construction projects.

The Lean Construction Institute conducts research on project based production management for capital facilities.

The American Society of Quality’s Design and Construction Division works to advance quality and improvement within the industries that provide services to the built environment.

Stanford University’s Center for Integrated Facility Engineering, strives to be the world’s premier academic research center for virtual design and construction.  Its focus is research and education, with main objectives to improve schedule performance, cost conformance, sustainability and globalization.

Projects@Work is a good source for project management information and development.  Here you will find PM case studies, PM leadership tips, and general information of the profession.

For those interested in learning the basics of Integrated Project Delivery (IPD), you can check out this article at McGraw Hill’s Continuing Education Center.

IPD FAQ’s by the California Council of AIA.

CMAA’s College of Fellows paper entitled Managing Integrated Project Delivery provides insight and understanding that practitioners can build upon.  Its ideas are thoughtful and sometimes contradictory, as they should be in an intellectual interchange.

The Building Information Management blog reports on a national IPD study conducted by AIA, pointing to demonstrated efficiencies and cost effectiveness.