The global Facilities Management industry was valued at nearly £28 billion in 2018, with the expectation to grow to £47.7 billion by 2023. This makes it one of the fastest growing industries in the world, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11.4%.
As the world becomes more interconnected and the complexity of the built environment develops, the Facilities Management industry is experiencing some big changes. The way the industry is positioned will be crucial if it is to continue on this trajectory of growth. This means breaking down barriers that no longer serve the industry and redefining some outdated rules for work.
How is the Industry Breaking Barriers?
1. From Isolated to Integrated
Working in silos has been common practice within FM for quite some time. Lots of different subcontractors are often involved, but each company or stakeholder usually has their own way of managing jobs. Within those companies, there might be any number of other systems for managing the flow of work from start to finish.
People become isolated, as communication is slow and they are kept out of the loop. Information itself is siloed and has to be manually copied between systems. This duplication leads to errors and mistakes are made - potentially costing companies millions!
When this plays out in the FM Industry, where many businesses are operating on a project-by-project basis, there can be different teams and departments involved in any one job. A particular project may see some innovation that could benefit the whole industry. However, when the team go their separate ways, that innovation is often lost and the knowledge isn't always passed on. This creates unnecessary wastage in the system.
Integrated and collaborative work management systems are increasing productivity, reducing waste and enhancing workforce performance. Tech platforms like Okappy can reduce issues of miscommunication and enhance collaboration within the workplace. These platforms can reduce the negative effects of siloed working, lost information and “surprise” disagreements.
2. Towards transparent working
Facilities managers may have a number of clients they work for and so are often required to work at different locations. Keeping good accountability, transparency and communication is paramount.
FM engineers can now update their managers and their clients as they do the work through to completion and are kept accountable with geo-location monitoring systems. This way, managers have an overview of where each engineer is and the engineers don’t have to waste time, fuel or money on making unnecessary journeys. With job information updated in real-time, there is less time wasted trying to trace back for particular work details later, as it is all documented in one place.
Transparency also allows for flexibility in working hours as every potential worker’s daily routine is accounted for. This can encourage a healthy work-life balance tailored to each individual. Given that over 80% of primary parents following separation are mothers, flexible working hours will also greatly improve gender equality and help to reduce the gender pay gap.
3. Increased digitisation
According to a recent report from Gartner, by 2020, 20.4 billion connected devices will be in use. This includes the Internet of Things (IoT) which has seen multiple applications within the Facilities and Property Management sectors.
IoT enables Facilities Managers to create a more efficient and human-centred work environment. One example of IoT in action is in the global headquarters of Johnson Controls, one of CBRE’s strategic partners. They integrate the control and optimisation of building functions ranging from security systems to HVAC maintenance and smart parking.
IoT systems allow organisations to collect data on how those spaces are being used. This is increasing the rate of efficiency for buildings and teams alike. By keeping an eye on technology, organisations are developing a more efficient and streamlined process for Facilities Managers and engineers, whilst also saving clients money and resources.
In the words of Rory Murphy, Commercial Director at VINCI Facilities, “As we procure, design, build and operate the assets of the future, then the digital heartbeats of those projects will be the golden thread that runs throughout the whole lifecycle.”
Various professions within the built environment still remain quite traditional, often operating with an outdated paper-based system. Even with developments to technologies like the Internet of Things, people still like to work in isolation. Steps towards a more integrated, collaborative and tech-embracing industry are being called for. And it is these small steps that are breaking down old barriers and shaping the industry to come. The Future of Work is coming; the question is - will you help build it?