In spite of the fact that our Nation’s facilities receive little, if any, public funding, they remain among the most economically competitive sectors in the country. Many facilities continue to attract the attention of Fortune 500 companies. Unfortunately, nearly every crisis management industry in the industry is expecting that many of our Nation’s facilities will experience a facility management crisis in the next few years.
When we speak of a facility management crisis, it is necessary to keep the context of today’s reality into mind. What we must look at is a crisis as the disruption or non-performance of one aspect of a facility that impacts on its ability to provide quality services and products.
The complexity of today’s problems and situations makes the solution more complex and challenging. Over the last two decades the two leading industries that dominate in facility management are: general construction and luxury hotels. General construction comprises almost half of the industry; luxury hotels roughly half.
While facilities do need to manage building services, there are some critical components that fall under building services. These include equipment, facilities management, communication, energy services, and real estate. Although management is an integral aspect of the facility, there are many other areas that affect operations and facility performance.
A crisis may be associated with a variety of factors, including: the length of time between job orders, differentiating customer service, poor performance, and poor working conditions. In many cases, the key issue is not an issue with the facility manager, but is the lack of qualified staff or systems that were put in place to manage those issues.
If a facility has a crisis, it typically occurs when the general construction, construction management, or energy services are not up to standards. In some cases, the problem may be in the proper organization of the building services department, but often times, management is not properly trained or employed to administer services or control the issues.
Building services are essential to building operations. They not only provide the building with proper equipment, plumbing, sanitation, and heating and cooling needs, but they also serve as the conduit for communication between the building and its guests. It’s imperative that the staff is well-trained to communicate effectively with all levels of the facility.
Communication is a key component of the facility management culture. One way to keep staff motivated and aware of their responsibilities is through real-time reporting. Real-time reporting requires that the facility manager to use web based tools and new forms of communications like email and data capture to keep track of activities and issues throughout the day.
The key to crisis management is to identify what triggers the facility management crisis, and to eliminate those factors or events before the crisis occurs. When facility managers are not trained to respond quickly and appropriately to an emergency situation, they must be retrained and updated to avoid crises from occurring.
The building services and hospitality industries can benefit from requiring new staff members to complete a hands-on degree in Facility Management with FM. While the demand for personnel to deliver facilities services has grown dramatically, the supply has not. Part of the challenge to ensure the ongoing delivery of quality facility services has been the inability to recruit qualified personnel.
Through a mix of educational programs and experiential training, the need for FM personnel will not decrease as the years pass. The right training programs and comprehensive modules can train you to perform the duties that are critical to the overall operation of a facility.
Many of the issues that plague the facility management industry today have a direct correlation to the availability of qualified personnel. If management can prevent the crisis by implementing a structured and progressive program of training, it can significantly reduce the frequency and severity of the crisis that management often faces.