Caledon Capital Management

The rise of integrated facility management

An expert explains the benefits behind the trend toward single-contract FM outsourcing
Friday, November 20, 2015
By Melinda Gorgenyi

Today’s consumers want simplicity. They want things immediately and, where possible, in one place. This on-demand, one-stop-shop mentality can also explain the projected growth for integrated facility management (IFM) services.

An increasing number of facility managers are looking to integrated services in their quest to improve quality of life in the workplace. This has been borne out by a recent survey of international facility management (FM) professionals conducted with Sodexo and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors contacts. The study revealed that IFM is becoming a strategic management discipline that is crucial in improving an organization’s productivity and ensuring the well-being of its people. In addition, nearly one-third of FM professionals surveyed said they are planning to integrate their services.

This finding aligns with Frost & Sullivan’s 2015 Global IFM Report, which indicated that the IFM market is projected to grow at a compound annual rate of 6.4 per cent between 2013 and 2019.

Clearly there is a strong demand for single-contract solutions, continued price reductions, improved energy management and intelligent buildings. To meet those multiple demands, FM managers are seeking to achieve more with less through a streamlined approach. In other words, they want to leverage the power of one — i.e. one provider for multiple services.

Outsourcing IFM to a single-source provider has four core benefits. It enables organizations to: lower operating costs, facilitate change management, acquire best practices and enhance total cost of ownership.

1. Lower operating costs

Using a single IFM provider allows organizations to reduce the additional costs associated with multiple service providers and reduce the number of contracts they oversee, thereby simplifying overall management. With single-contract outsourcing, managers can avoid the direct and indirect costs of performing services in-house, reducing the costs associated with staffing, materials and quality control. Those cost savings can be redirected into funding other core-value projects.

2. Facilitate change management

There are always newer, more advanced systems to implement, which is a key reason why most in-house organizations struggle with change management in the built environment. Outsourcing allows organizations to enjoy the benefits of those advancements immediately in order to drive long-term business value, without the need for costly capital outlays. By lending its resources and expertise to an organization, an outsourced IFM provides access to the latest technology, technical specialists and research that can keep facilities on the cutting edge and improve overall management functions.

3. Acquire best practices

In-house facility managers are stewards of the built environment. As such, they must oversee all systems and practices to keep facilities running. Combining an in-house generalist position with external technical specialists gives an organization access to a broader base of knowledge and expertise. Outsourcing providers have developed best practices that have been used on local, regional and global scales. These proven efficiencies can elevate a facility’s performance in areas such as energy management, intelligent buildings and sustainability.

Because an IFM provider’s sole focus is on goals and projects, they can implement best practices faster and suggest new ways to augment business performance while helping managers keep pace with leading advancements. For example, a comprehensive IFM provider can swiftly upgrade systems to save money and reach organizational goals.

4. Improve total cost of ownership

Understanding the value of assets and creating a strategy to maintain them is a key function of an IFM professional today. The role has evolved from one of simple maintenance manager to one of strategic advisor with a strong grasp of key concepts such as total cost of ownership and the underlying value of predictive maintenance.

With proactive and predictive maintenance systems in place, organizations can better understand the costs of upkeep and extend the life of their systems. Overall, a well-developed asset management program can lower facility costs over the long-term by avoiding unexpected expenses and generating greater returns on investments. For example, the lifespan of a roof with a preventative maintenance plan is 30 years — nearly double the 16-year life of a roof with only a corrective maintenance plan.

FM professionals can tap into the aforementioned benefits by developing a holistic strategy and operating model to support client operations through a single-source provider. When selecting an outsourcing partner, however, it’s important to look to providers that have a proven track record in IFM solution delivery and, where applicable, experience in the organization’s industry.

Research has shown that IFM outsourcing on a local, regional and/or global level can deliver a number of benefits, including carrying out best practices, improving financial control and reducing overhead costs. The key lies in finding the right partner that can take facilities to the next level, so managers can focus on their core business.

 Melinda Gorgenyi is vice president of integrated facility management at Sodexo Canada.

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