Industry trends, mega trends, innovative disruptors, six sigma strategies to improve efficiencies. These are just some of the buzz words bandied around in C-Suite boardrooms. But day-to-day innovation and business improvement lies with the industry front liners – the facility managers (FMs) themselves.
The role of FMs continues to evolve and today embraces the dual imperatives of strategic and operational efficiencies. Indeed, understanding key business indicators, maximising value propositions, and strategic planning are also now the jurisdiction of FMs as they continue to focus on operational excellence.
Productivity enhancement – from start to smart
The creation of workspaces that enhance individual and team productivity has been around for over 40 years. It was one of the key drivers behind the creation of the facilities management movement in the 1970s, when furniture company Herman Miller began working with academics and major customers on the creation of radical new office landscapes. Today, smart and smarter buildings are better aligned with the priorities of building users, property owners and managers to deliver more sustainable, cost-effective and productive built environments.
Business,leisure and living environments – from the air we breathe, to the level of light, or the hygiene in washrooms – are now under even greater scrutiny, so –– it’s little wonder there is an increased focus for FMs on occupant comfort and productivity. Better technology and services are impacting the everyday experience of internal customers and employees. FM consultant Martin Leitch notes that the trend continues for FMs to combine support services into an integrated solution, which includes bundling services to reduce overheads and allocate resources more efficiently.
“Well-designed but poorly managed facilities can adequately support the businesses they serve. Effective facility management goes further and contributes towards strategic business goals in many ways, including the aspects of talent, compliance, efficiency, reputation, risk and productivity,” says Martin.
FMs keeping their hands clean
A few key industry players who are in tune with the importance of occupant comfort and productivity are well-known global brands Dyson and Viega. What may seem like fairly straightforward operational areas help inform how FMs improve efficiencies and productivity for their customers.
Dyson’s Airblade V hand dryer is a good example of how products impact productivity and business bottom lines. Its prowess speaks for itself, boasting a capability to dry 24 pairs of hands for the price of a single paper towel. Thanks to Dyson’s expertise in aerodynamics, acoustics and motors, engineers created a machine costing 28 per cent less to run compared to its predecessor and up to 98 less than paper towels – getting ticks in both the efficiency and sustainability stakes.
Also on the radar across the FM world of property owners and developers is a global leader in pressing technology for copper and stainless steel piping systems. Continuing to deliver the highest quality products and technology for the pipe joining, flushing and drainage segments, Viega products are used across commercial and industrial sectors around the globe. Its unique systems for use in drinking water installations feature in many hygiene-conscious operations, such as large-scale hospitals. One innovation coming to Australia is a “one pipe” solution, which means supply and return are combined into one pipe; a separate pipe for the circulation water isn’t required. Not only does this reduce the installation costs and save space, it also saves energy as a result of the lower heat radiation. Energy-efficient operations such as these are integrated by FMs to reduce waste and improve productivity.
It is these key operational efficiencies that FMs are implementing in their goal to utilise the latest technology, reduce overheads and allocate resources more efficiently while working towards improving productivity for owners and occupants. This trend demonstrates the continuing conversation around how FMs are helping their customers to future proof their businesses in the most productive way.