FM’s role in realising facility investments’ value
FM&O Advisors’ TROY GARDNER discusses the role of the facilities manager in delivering a facility’s value to its stakeholders.
The challenge for facilities managers is straightforward: deliver to our organisations the value locked up in the four walls of our facilities. To some that may seem to be aspirational, but, in my opinion, that is our raison d’être.
Simplistically, unlocking the value may be viewed as honing infrastructure and system operations, but I contend that it is much deeper. A facility that is honed to deliver value includes the softer items and helps people to be successful in their work and, in the end, contributes to the enterprise achieving its goals.
ENABLING GOALS TO BE ACHIEVED
Facilities are built for many reasons. Some are actually monuments to memorialise past greatness, while others may not be of bespoke construction and, for example, could be part of a multi-tenant estate for start-up companies.
No matter the facility’s purpose, our profession endeavours to deliver the facility’s value to its stakeholders. For me, one key is delivering what is needed for the users to achieve their goals. Some organisations may desire a high level of fit and finish – the term ‘gold plating’ comes to mind.
Having the resources to afford what is wanted above what is needed may allow users to feel good about their space and accoutrements, thus adding value for the organisation if, in turn, the users achieve the enterprise goals.
KNOWING WHAT IS NEEDED
On the other hand, depending on the enterprise and its position in the business life cycle (starting, growing, sustaining or waning), the enterprise may be at the point where it can only afford what is needed or the business may have the philosophy to run lean and prioritise resource expenditures pragmatically.
After all, as stewards of the enterprise’s funds, we know that facilities are one of the larger costs and that it is incumbent upon us to manage efficiently yet effectively. Another key is for the facilities manager to know what the enterprise’s leadership wants out of its facilities investment.
Some enterprise leaders place an importance on refined finishes and soft services and the success that they exude, while others are fine with less flash. This does not require the facilities manager to have a ‘seat at the table’, but it does require knowing customer and leadership expectations in addition to the enterprise goals.
UNLOCKING FACILITY VALUE
Striving to meet enterprise goals has us focused on operating the facilities plant and systems as efficiently as possible. We have the opportunity today to employ technology to help unlock facility value like never before.
Whether you are in a new construction situation or managing a 30-year-old facility, energy efficiency and sustainability are as important as ever in unlocking value. Variable frequency drives (VFDs) or ‘speed drives’ are now commonplace and their application in HVAC systems, for example, enables facilities managers to tightly manage and more efficiently operate their systems.
Sustainability programs are compelling us to be thoughtful of waste streams, and to analyse the opportunities for recycling and reusing assets where once they would have been discarded.
Additionally, most now have the one resource that has made the world much, much smaller – the Internet.
The amount of information available for facilities managers is vast. Ideas and suggestions to hone, optimise and unlock value in our facilities are widely available, and we are able to readily share across the continents. Examples of information resources include professional organisations, industry publications and online groups.
By applying technology, keeping a finger on the industry pulse, and knowing your customer and enterprise leadership’s expectations, you have the ability to realise the value in a facility investment.
Troy Gardner is the founder and president of FM&O Advisors. Gardner’s passion for facilities, plant and operations excellence was cultivated during his service in the US Navy. After completing his enlistment and earning bachelors and masters degrees, Gardner spent the better part of two decades developing his facilities and operations career within some of the leading firms in the life science industry before founding FM&O.
During his facilities and operations career, he has built new facilities, rehabilitated existing spaces, managed multi-facility sites, optimised their operations, and led a global facilities and real estate portfolio. He uses a unique blend of leadership, management and technical skills that enable the achievement of desired business outcomes.