FM Management

Is Facilities Management Strategic?

by jimware on September 21, 2016

office-buildingIs Facilities Management Strategic? What does it mean to be a strategic business resource?

Those questions are crucial to the future of the Facilities Management (FM) profession.

Please contribute to an important conversation and research project addressing the current state of the FM profession by helping to answer those questions. If you are an FM professional I invite you to participate in a brief global online survey about your FM organization and its current role and relationships, as well as your views about current challenges and opportunities for FM leaders.

The survey includes just 15 questions and will take less than 15 minutes of your time. Click here to complete the survey:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RaisingtheBar-2016

This survey represents an important opportunity for you to contribute to a global conversation about the emerging strategic impact of facilities management. If you complete the survey, we will be happy to send you a summary of our findings once the study is completed.

The survey is part of a study sponsored by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). RICS has commissioned Occupiers Journal to update our 2012 report, “Raising the Bar: Enhancing the Strategic Role of FM,” to provide a 2016 view of the state of FM, and analyze trends and developments over the past four years.

The 2012 report can be downloaded for free at this link.

We are also interviewing selected senior FM executives and professionals as part of this project. If you are an FM practitioner who has tackled a strategic project for your organization, we would like to interview you; please contact me directly at my Occupiers Journal email address:  jim.ware@occupiersjournal.com, to volunteer your story.

One more thing: fellow Occupiers Journal director Paul Carder and I will discuss the project and offer preliminary findings at education session 7.03 at World Workplace in San Diego, California, on Friday morning, 7 October. Hope to see you there!

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(by @paulcarder co-founder @occupiers)

London’s Financial Times reported this morning, “The worst London Underground strike in more than a decade saw millions of Londoners struggle to get to work”. It is chaos, here in the UK capital – the top global city in PwC’s Cities of Opportunity ranking. It is a sorry state of affairs, as in a scene reminiscent of 1970s union-crippled Britain, the “workers” representatives couldn’t agree with “the management”.

“Workers” and “management”…we thought we had overcome that particular divide in business and society, didn’t we? But, some people have a vested interest in keeping it very much alive. In the large, industrialized, unionized industries such as transport, it lives on.

Only last year, UNITE union leader Len McCluskey addressed his supporters in Liverpool as “sisters and brothers” like some mid-20th century socialist (which, of course, he is). This, despite UNITE’s website claiming “Unite is the union for the 21st century meeting the great challenges facing working people in the 21st century”. Oh, we laughed…or would, if it was at all funny. Which, if you were in the queues forming as early as 06.30 this morning, would be far from humorous.

Of course, as we all know, one of the “great challenges facing working people in the 21st century” is their journey to and from “work” – their commute. Unless they happen to be working for an organization which has embraced agile working. Those employees, freelancers, consultants and service providers, are smiling ever-so-slightly smugly today in and around London.

I was only explaining to my eldest daughter, 16, at the weekend, how very many ways we have to communicate (and even meet ‘virtually’) today. Many at no cost, or very little cost – certainly in comparison to the rising cost (and pollution) of travel. When I was her age, we had to either travel to meet, or use the telephone. Even mobile phones were large, heavy and very expensive. Only 1980’s “yuppies” had “mobile” phones – remember these 8 technologies in the 80s 🙂

I don’t know what you use, but I have a smartphone, email, LinkedIn messaging, Twitter DM, skype (for video calls), BlueJeans and GoToMeeting for sharing presentation slides and other materials. I don’t really need to go anywhere. I do, because I like meeting people…but mostly, I don’t have to do that.

So, “sisters and brothers” (whether “worker” or “management” – all together now), lets all spread the word that agile working is the answer to this daily commuting hell. And it is sensible corporate mitigation of the risk of various (and regular) disruptions, whether transport-related, security threats, inclement weather, or whatever.

Every “worker” should, if their job allows, have the opportunity to ‘go agile’ as and when their normal daily routine is disrupted. But, organizations need to plan for this, and give their people the tools to ‘go agile’.

You can’t suddenly ‘go agile’ at 06.30 whilst standing in the queue for the Underground….

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One month ago I published this blog post: http://occupiersjournal.com/project-socs-service-operations-case-studies-collaborative-research/

I was super-enthusiastic! A good evening debate at the RICS, where education and development of Facilities Management (FM) was the focus, and had triggered a sudden rush of activity. The blog describes how it all started, and who was involved.

I am still enthusiastic about the concept of developing Harvard-style case studies for our industry – we have to be! The industry needs case studies, desperately….we have very little substantive material to demonstrate how FM contributes to business performance. You can read about the progress of Project SOCS (Service Operations: Case Studies) here: http://lnkd.in/F2HBcy

However, the project is starting to get into the usual ‘inertia treacle’ between the parties in an industry that sadly seems to know the cost of everything, and the value of nothing (a point made in our Raising The Bar report for RICS in November 2012). For so long now, FM companies have grown by going to customers with a “we can save you 10%” proposition….but 15 years ago, that worked. Now, customers have got used to asking FM to cut costs – they expect it.

Go on, just one more cut…it won’t kill the industry (will it?)

Yes, it will. Eventually. You cannot build a market sector that has no marketing other than cost-savings.

What is the FM industry? Perhaps it is currently a Project, not an industry sector. Perhaps it has been a 25-30 year project to rationalize property-related service provision in organisations, and make them lean and efficient. OK, it may have achieved that. So what next?

Does the industry want to sell value-based services to customers at a price that allows them to invest in good people, and grow profitability? It seems not. Or, in fact, it seems the industry just does not know how to do that.

Cinderella had better PR than Facilities Management does!

She must have done. Someone told the ‘customer’ what size her feet were….the rest is history (OK, myth). If that was Facilities Management, the customer would have been told, “Why not forget the glass slipper…we can supply you with these boots, at lower cost”. Not the point.

FM needs to start building a rich picture of all the many ways that FM contributes to business performance. It needs to build these ‘stories’ into solid case studies, that can be used by Business Schools to teach future executives about the business value of FM.

We are ready to source and write 20 case studies, into a 100 page book, by year end….help us to do that?

Someone always needs to stick their head above the parapet, and allow people to take ‘pot shots’. I have; and they will. But, we have a very strong team now confirmed:

Project Management: me + David Emanuel (MD, i-FM.net), Dr. Rob Harris (Ramidus Consulting) and my business partner, Dr Jim Ware (a former Harvard Business School professor and case study expert). More at this link: http://lnkd.in/sDyY-F

UK Steering Group (formally confirmed so far):

  • Kath Fontana             Managing Director, BAM FM
  • Liz Kentish                  BIFM, Deputy Chair
  • Peter McLennan       Course Director, MSc FEM, University College London (UCL)
  • Deborah Rowland    Head of FM Policy & Strategy, Government Property Unit (Cabinet Office)
  • Stephen Shallcroft   Director, Corporate Real Estate, ARCADIS NV (inc. EC Harris LLP)
  • Gareth Tancred         BIFM, Chief Executive

And a clear target ‘check list’ for case studies: http://lnkd.in/9KJx9p

What do we need from you? as soon as possible…..

What we really need now is funding. We can really help to change the FM industry, and start to move towards value-based business services, and away from simple cost-savings.

Service providers need to invest in this project, in our opinion. When we are successful in shifting the focus towards value, not cost-savings, then service providers will become more profitable. We all need the many service providers in our industry to be profitable, over the long-term, to make it possible to invest in people and performance.

Please invest today, and have your brand associated with this leading project; please contact David Emanuel: david@i-fm.net

And please join, and follow the progress of the SOCS project, on our LinkedIn Group: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Project-SOCS-Service-Operations-CASE-5093552/about

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Paul Carder writes:

Sometimes I hear a conversation, or read a tweet, and have to ‘fire some pixels’ at my screen! Maybe someone will read them out there in cyberspace….in (cyber)space nobody hears you scream…!!

Facilities Management is…  Quick answer: can sometimes be (a), should be (b)…and if you are at (c) it is probably due to the organisation and not its FM prowess. Why?

(a) Boring

Before I get a verbal beating from all my Facilities Management (FM) colleagues and friends, I’m not saying FM is “boring”….I am ‘in’ FM, so why would I say that? Boring can simply mean, you don’t want to hear about it; you ‘switch channels’.

So, with that clarification out the way….do you try to talk about FM with business leaders/managers? If you do, unless you are particularly attractive for some other reason (which, of course, some of you are), you’ll see that far-away gaze. Just think about the words leaving your mouth and entering the other party’s ear canal….facilities (last heard at reception: “sir, would you like to use the facilities? – they are just down the corridor, turn left…”). Or “cleaning” perhaps? Or “maintenance”…(starts thinking, I really need to get my boat out of the water and check the hull….eyes glaze….off into another world….”err, sorry…I was just daydreaming then…erm, could you say that again?” Lost….boring!

It’s not you, it’s me…. Not everyone is interested in the same things!

(b) Boarding

If your subject is not on the “Board” agenda (that’s the C-Suite my American friends)…you are just getting ‘on board’ with the Board. Or perhaps “boarding” that vessel that will take you there…to the place where you can talk to business leaders/managers without them drifting off.

If you are “boarding” then you have an invitation (or a ‘ticket to ride’ perhaps). You have said something to someone that has really made them think, and consider how what you said affects their business unit or responsibility.

You may have just started speaking a new language, wittingly or unwittingly – business language.

You may have hit a ‘hot button’ – it may be staff satisfaction, or difficulty with graduate recruitment, or achieving cross-functional collaboration, etc. It’s less likely to be cleaning, or maintenance, or even space planning. But all those things can be in the subconscious mind when considering ways to improve staff satisfaction, or making the workplace more attractive to potential employees.

(c) On [the] Board (or C-Suite)

Most FM leaders are ‘Boarding’ – on and off, as they momentarily attract the attention of senior business leaders, then get forgotten about!

If you are ‘on Board’ (or on ‘the’ Board/ C-Suite) you are in a small minority. If you made it there through FM, that minority is very small indeed. Most FM leaders in large corporate and government organisations are fortunate to get occasionally engaged with the Leadership Team, but do not expect to be ‘called up’ to join the Board.

We are very interested in what gets FM leaders to this level, and we investigated ‘what it means to be strategic’ at some length in our report for the RICS last year, Raising The Bar – enhancing the strategic role of Facilities Management.

My own view is that FM is part of a wider “Service Operations” requirement in most large organisations. You can read more about this, and our #SOCS “Service Operations Case Studies” project on it’s dedicated LinkedIn Group: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Project-SOCS-Service-Operations-CASE-5093552/about

If you are ‘on Board’ it is likely that your ‘core business’ organisation has already recognised that FM has a strategic role – i.e., it makes a difference to the direction of the organisation. That may be due to its customer-facing role (e.g., in retail). Or, it may be due to an understanding that staff satisfaction is a key part of the value-chain to achieve higher business performance. If that is the case, we would especially like to hear from you – you probably have a leading case study for the #SOCS project. Is that you? if so please email: paul.carder@occupiersjournal.com

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Former British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, is widely reported to have said “a week is a long time in politics”. A minute must have seemed a long time for Sabine Lisicki yesterday afternoon in the ladies tennis final at Wimbledon – we felt her pain! For Occupiers Journal, so much has happened in 5 days! It has been a good week for collaboration…

CASE STUDIES – collaboration

Dr. Frank Duffy raised a point at an evening event (more below); we need Harvard-style case studies in our industry. I have heard Frank say this before, and I knew where he was coming from – the Harvard Business Review (HBR) publishes 4-page summaries. These are multi-disciplinary, but written from the viewpoint of one discipline, such as Operations Management or Service Management. The Harvard case-teaching method is more detailed, and used as the basis of business school teaching worldwide. It is a proven method of teaching managers.

Frankly (no pun intended), I just thought the time for talk is over – we must act now. The corporate real estate (property), workplace and facilities management (FM) discipline needs this multi-disciplinary case study approach. And my business partner, Dr. Jim Ware, is an experienced ex-Harvard professor! So, there has never been a better time to push this forward.

SERVICE OPERATIONS: deliberately crossing Operations with Service Management

There is a recognized opportunity for Operations Management to engage in the SERVICE arena and apply this long-established body of knowledge and skills to answer fundamental questions in the areas of service quality, productivity and efficiency, and to apply their expertise in business services and the not-for-profit and voluntary sectors.

Service Operations is a deliberate mash-up! It crosses over between the established fields of Operations Management (generally applied to production efficiency – but equally applicable perhaps to the operating of buildings and engineering systems) and the newer field of Service Management, where perhaps much of facilities management resides.

Project: SOCS (Service Operations CASE STUDIES) is launched!

It is official – it has a LinkedIn Group: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Project-SOCS-Service-Operations-CASE-5093552/about

SOCS (Service Operations CASE STUDIES) is specifically focused on a vital part of Service Operations in any organisation – the buildings (real estate), workplace provision, and facilities management (FM) services. Our aim: to deliver case studies to demonstrate contribution to organisational performance.

When, where and how did this start?

On Monday evening, 1st July 2013, at the RICS in London, the third Facilities Management (FM) evening event was held, organised by John Anderson. I was on the panel discussion, which was expertly chaired by Christopher Hedley, and with the following great people (in no particular order): Liz Kentish (Deputy Chair of BIFM), Kath Fontana, Managing Director of BAM FM (and representing the RICS FM Professional Group), Dr. John Hinks (Global Head of Innovation, CRE&FM, Group Operations at Zurich), and Peter McLennan (Course Director, MSc in F&EM at UCL).

In the audience were many other representatives of FM industry bodies and leading commentators: Johnny Dunford (Global Commercial Director, RICS), Chris Hoar (Chief Executive, FM Association), Dave Wilson, the UK representative for IFMA Foundation, Geoff Prudence (Chair, CIBSE FM Group), Richard Byatt (Communications, Magenta; former Corporate & Public Affairs Director at BIFM), David Emanuel (Managing Director, i-FM.net), and Martin Read (Managing Editor, FM World).

The invited guests covered many of the leading FM clients (occupiers) and service providers from the UK and international market, and many leading consultants, from sole principle to global firms. It is fair to say that the gathering of 80 or so people was a representative cross-section of the UK FM industry.

SOCS: Terms of Reference

The next stage is to bring this project together. We have made a start, and many of the people listed above have already agreed to play a role in this project. In particular, RICS, BIFM and the FM Association are all ‘agreed in principle’. And all the panel (above) have also agreed to represent these bodies, and others, on a Steering Group, chaired by Dr. John Hinks as an independent client (end user).

The majority of our Regional Partners have also responded already, to say that they are very much behind SOCS and will communicate it within their global regions. This will connect us with ABRAFAC, SAFMA, MEFMA, FMA Australia and many others over time!

Further details

contact: Project Co-Director: Paul Carder: paul.carder@occupiersjournal.com or +44(0)7970 406477

or Project Co-Director: Dr Rob Harris, Ramidus Consulting (Occupiers Journal – Regional Partner, UK & Ireland)

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Last week I had the pleasure of speaking to a large group of facilities professionals at the June luncheon meeting of the Houston Chapter of IFMA (International Facilities Management Association).

My topic was “Raising the Bar: Enhancing the Strategic Role of Facilities Management.” That’s the title of a research project that Paul Carder and I led in 2o12 for RICS (The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors). We did the research in our respective roles at Occupiers Journal as Managing Director (Paul) and Global Research Director (me).

The presentation was well-received; it addressed four broad questions:

  1. Why isn’t FM a more strategic resource?
  2. What does it mean to be “strategic”?
  3. How are FM groups organized and managed today?
  4. What do FM leaders need to do to become a more valued resource?

And here is the presentation, just posted on Slideshare and downloadable at this link:

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What is really going on at Yahoo?

by jimware on March 1, 2013

There’s been quite a buzz building around Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer’s recent proclamation that all employees are now expected to be in their assigned corporate office every day. No more “telecommuting” or working from home.

There is no way I can summarize all the insightful commentary about Ms. Meyer’s edict that is all over the Internets and the mainstream media this week. However, I can point you to several really good starting points for understanding what all the buzz is about.

And I’ll humbly start with my own interview with talk show hostess Turi Ryder on WGN 720 radio (Chicago) on Wednesday evening: “The Perks and Catches of Working Remotely.” It was a fun and provocative conversation.

Here’s a one-paragraph summary of that 20-minute conversation, brilliantly written by my good friend, colleague, and “pioneer” in the the field of remote work, Jessica Lipnack. Her post is titled “Jim Ware to Yahoo: ‘You have a management systems problem.'”

But for a really thoughtful and passionate statement on the issue, you’ve got to read Jessica’s lengthier and far more important note, “Marissa, we need to talk. This genie is way out of the bottle.”

That is the most articulate statement about remote work and its benefits that I’ve ever seen. Read it and bookmark it. I guarantee you will want to come back to it whenever your company starts wavering or waffling about the pros and cons of flexible work.

It’s not a simple or straightforward issue. If you have the time, read through the many Comments (both supportive and dismissive of Marissa Mayer) from readers that accompany Jessica’s posts, and this one additional article on Kara Swisher’s AllThingsD blog, which is where I believe it all started:

Yahoo CEO Mayer Now Requiring Remote Employees to Not Be (Remote)

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A Report from the Lisbon Workplace Conference

by jimware on February 21, 2013

The Lisbon Workplace Conference 2013 took place on February 19th in the new Headquarters of Microsoft in Lisbon, which was designed by 3G-Office (President of 3GOffice, which explain the context of the Conference and introduce the New Ways of Working Concepts according to the new economy “We must do something with the Corporate Spaces, they are not aligned with the mobility, work-life balance and collaboration at work” ” Companies are spending huge amount of money in RE&FM and the real occupancy is less than 70%” said Francisco Vazquez. Then Marie Puybaraud, research from JCI, look to the New WorkplaceTrends up 2040 in what she has been working for the last ten years “Rethinking the world of work: nomadic, digital,engaged, focus on experience, green,..” Marie said. Fernando Carneros,Iberian Head of RE&FM of Microsoft, explained the project of the New HQ of Microsoft in Lisbon together with Maria Rosa Abeijon, General Manager of 3Goffice in Portugal “Attention to human factors is part of the workplace focus” said Fernando. Catherine Gall, Research Director of Steelcase, “dealing with local & global tensions in workplace: getting the right mixed in the hotel of globalisation””east and west divided cultures at work”. Finally Marie introduced to the more than 100 delegates into the Digital Natives needs and ways of working. After the Conference there was a tour visiting the New Microsoft Head Quarters.”>www.3g-office.com).

The Conference began with Francisco Vazquez, President of 3GOffice, who explained the context of the Conference and introduced the New Ways of Working Concepts according to the new economy:

We must do something with the Corporate Spaces, they are not aligned with mobility, work-life balance and collaboration at work. Companies are spending huge amounts of money in RE&FM and the real occupancy is less than 70%.

Then Marie Puybaraud, a senior researcher from Johnson Controls, discussed  the New Workplace Trends up 2040, which is what she has been working on for the last ten years:

Rethinking the world of work: nomadic, digital,engaged, focused on experience, green…

Next Fernando Carneros, Iberian Head of RE&FM at Microsoft, together with Maria Rosa Abeijon, General Manager of 3Goffice in Portugal, explained the recent project of the New HQ of Microsoft in Lisbon:

Attention to human factors is part of the workplace focus.

Catherine Gall, Research Director at Steelcase, spoke about “dealing with local and global tensions in the workplace:  getting the right mix in the hotel of globalisation, east and west – divided cultures at work.”

Finally Marie Puybaraud introduced  the more than 100 delegates at the conference to her research on the Digital Natives’ needs and ways of working.

Following the Conference the delegates were able to tour the New Microsoft headquarters in Lisbon.

– Reported by Francisco Vazquez, President of 3G-Office and OJL Regional Partner

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Be on the lookout for Sodexo’s annual report on workplace trends; it’s due out this Thursday, 24 January.

An online summary of the report identifying its 12 key trends for 2013 is already available online at this link:

http://www.sodexousa.com/usen/roles/facilmgmt/workplace_trends_report.asp

And from there you will be able to access the full report once it’s published.

We are pleased to report that Sodexo’s Trend 8 was prepared by James Ware, PhD, and Paul Carder, directors and co-founders of Occupiers Journal Limited.

“Our” trend is based on the comprehensive global research project we completed last year for RICS: “Raising the Bar:  Enhancing the Strategic Role of Facilities Management.”

Here’s the text of the Sodexo summary of the trend we contributed:

There have been many assertions, over many years, that facilities management (FM) should be more strategic. Recent research provides evidence that FM can have a strategic impact, and should play a strategic role in the enterprise, but whether it will achieve that level of influence in any particular organization depends entirely on the actions taken by senior FM executives.

A survey of almost 400 professionals across six continents was conducted in order to review the current “state of the practice” of FM. The research focused specifically on how FM is currently organized, governed, and measured, as well as on how FM professionals interact with their peers in other infrastructure disciplines. Our insights were enriched by direct conversations with a selection of senior FM and corporate real estate (CRE) executives, as well as with thought leaders from academia and international professional associations.

To be effective, FM leaders must change their behaviors, and indeed their very identity. FM is not about managing facilities per se; rather, it is about enabling the workforce to be productive and engaged, and to produce value for the organization. In our view, and in the view of leading FM executives, the workplace is nothing more (or less) than a tool for supporting work, for shaping the experiences of the workforce, and for producing competitive advantage.

We are convinced that the evolution of FM into a much more strategic resource is not only inevitable but already well underway.

What do you think? Is FM truly strategic today? If not, why not? What has to change for FM to become more widely recognized as a strategic resource, and include in corporate strategy conversations?

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Corenet Summit: Off and Running

by jimware on October 8, 2012

Theme this year is “Reimagination: RE-orient, RE-ignite, RE-invent – all about the importance of innovation and creativity.

First order of business: presenting the Global Innovator’s Award – goes to Space Florida – the Boeing Commercial Crew program.

The keynoter this morning is Bill Benjamin, on “Leadership 2.0” – stressing the importance of understanding emotional intelligence. Shifting towards human-centered workplace management that produces employee engagement. Focusing the workplace on well-being.

Stay tuned for real-time reports as the speech unfolds.

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