Technology Must Support Increased Efficiency and Productivity
Coming out of the financial downturn companies will capitalize technologies that directly affect core FM concerns; improving space efficiency, reducing energy costs, reducing the cost and time to build, and increasing productivity.
Previous posts discussed the increasing frequency and importance of Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) in the capital projects arena. The efficiencies and gains derived from implementing BIM and IPD on new projects should not be under estimated. New projects, however, represent a very small fraction of the built environment. The existing built environment represents a much larger opportunity and risk.
For those not building new facilities the emphasis is clearly on increasing utilization and efficiency of existing assets. Many CEO’s are challenging unit heads and FM to increase headcount and revenue within the existing physical footprint and with limited re-capitalization. This is driving renewed emphasis on Alternative Workplace Strategies (AWS) while prioritizing the smart use of technologies that increase productivity and collaboration.
It is important that significant changes required by these initiatives be properly socialized within the organization to assure alignment with corporate goals and culture, and to speed acceptance. It is likely that policy changes will be required, that fact alone elevating the discussion. Recent conversations with peers across the profession make it clear that many are dealing with these issues. For example, underutilized office space represents an asset that can be redeployed to increase collaboration, but such changes cannot be made unilaterally. It is likely that space entitlement policies and even key personalities are involved and must be accommodated or changed through a studied process that discovers, informs and advises decision makers. Only then can the right policies, projects and protocols be put in place.
Executing the project successfully, however, is just the beginning. Technology systems will be expected to collect and dashboard data, making understanding of collaboration and productivity metrics readily available.
This last is a key change for most FM’s. We are used to and comfortable with measuring space and reporting its efficiency and utilization in terms of area, headcount, units produced and revenue. Some of us even measure collaboration and the tools for both empowering it and measuring it are now beyond the infancy stage. Most FM’s, however, will simply stare at you when you ask them how their FM metrics measure productivity across the entire organization. For many of us that will be the next frontier. We are, after all, in the business of supporting business. Everything we do is pointed toward helping our organizations be more efficient and productive but most of us have been measuring only one of those domains.
Productivity SLA’s and metrics are the other half and they are waiting for your attention.