June 12, 2016

Facility management… machine or people?

For a business to operate successfully, there must be multiple processes in place that support the core business of an operation-and that's where facility management comes in.

In Facility management, we are often educated to think in linear terms – input vs. output – continuously optimising the production system and the resources allocated, sometimes even referring to staff as if they were commodities. However, employees are not commodities, they are not just resources …they are people. When I look at the FM industry today, I believe that we have become too “numbers driven”. Not least after the financial crises, far too many discussions take place around numbers and about tweaking the last few percentages of efficiency out of a contract to justifying a decrease in operating expenditures. Somuch so, that we sometime forget what Facility management is all about: Helping the organisation we serve to stay competitive and focused. No matter how technical we have made the Facility Management profession, it is still predominantly a people business– carried out by people for people occupying/working in the facilities we so diligently maintain and serve.

Generally speaking, I believe the Facility Management industry needs to further mature its leadership skills and fully understand the psychology behind workforce management. I really like the famous Ritz-Carlton slogan; “We are ladies and gentlemen – serving ladies and gentlemen”.I am sure everybody can see and feel the real message: Ritz Carlton employees are the opposite of commodity service staff and their staff are empowered to act on any given situation they encounter in the interface with a guest and use their own common sense to relieve a situation.

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