Within the next couple of years, even as soon as 2020, there will be real opportunities to ‘get a seat at the table’ and demonstrate how the FM function can deliver shareholder value.
However, to do this will require a more forward thinking approach, collaboration with both internal peers and external partners, and most importantly, creative and unique ideas on how to tie repair and maintenance (R&M) operations into a buildings’s broader based strategy.
So, what is the FM of the future planning for and learning about today to position their company for the highest likelihood of success?
What follows in this 7 part series are a number of specific ways that FMs can start thinking about business now to get ahead of the curve because the future’s coming up fast – and it’s not waiting for anyone. The first in the series is LoT vs IoT.
A big part of many facilities management groups’ responsibilities is ensuring the maintenance and upkeep of all types of assets and equipment.
Those operating stores, restaurants, buildings and other facilities rely on these ‘lots of things’ (LoT) to work properly to support their businesses.
But what happens when there’s a problem, when a piece of equipment breaks?
Well, often no one immediately knows, until the problem appears or damage occurs or worse, when a customer reports it. Then someone investigates and reports it, typically by submitting a work order (maybe immediately via a mobile device or later when back in an office).
Eventually a contractor is notified and arrives to fix the problem. Sometimes, then a needed part is identified which can necessitate a second trip.
This all negatively impacts the company’s brand (harming its ‘brand uptime’), revenue and quality of service.
But this is all changing. Equipment and assets are becoming internet-enabled, allowing communication from all sorts of devices so they may report on their own condition and needs. Just imagine ….
This scenario is not far-fetched – it’s here now.
These aware, connected and communicative devices are what’s known as the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) and it promises to bring dramatic changes across both business and consumer landscapes.
It is estimated that the IoT will have a $4 trillion economic impact by 2025 (McKinsey).
While it’s not quite Sci-fi yet, the IoT will be far reaching, and will dramatically change the world of facilities management.
All this new data will provide much greater visibility into one’s equipment and maintenance ecosystem.
FMs will make more informed repair or replace decisions. These pre-emptive maintenance hits will result in lower costs (via smaller problems and fewer service calls) and eliminated service interruptions.
Importantly, there’ll be less impact on on-site personnel (e.g retail, office or residential) as they’ll no longer need to identify, report, or try to remedy and troubleshoot issues themselves.
Facilities teams can to take advantage of the IoT to realize tremendous productivity gains from a vastly expanded coverage area.
With self-monitoring assets now working ‘for’ them, they’ll in essence, ‘be everywhere at once’.
With everything from HVAC equipment to lighting to food/beverage/liquid dispensers reporting on their respective needs (‘time for a refill…or … need a replacement’), FMs will be able to identify seasonal trends, take proactive actions and deliver greatly improved quality of service.