One of the truths of facility management is that much like snowflakes, no two facilities are exactly the same. Even among similarly purposed buildings, changes in location, staffing, size and age can all contribute to making each facility a unique experience to manage.
Despite this, there are still many common threads that tie the facility management industry into a cohesive, unified whole. For example, one thing facility managers across the country have little trouble agreeing on is the nature of the issues and concerns that professionals must contend with on a day-to-day basis. Here are some of the major obstacles facility managers must overcome in the course of performing their duties.
Not surprisingly, saving money and maximizing budget is one of the chief concerns throughout the facility management industry. In large part, this is because there are so many factors that can influence operations costs that must be taken into account on a daily basis. One constantly developing facet of cost management revolves around developing energy efficiency and sustainability practices. In fact, the Houston Chronicle noted a survey in which the majority of the 1,500 respondents indicated they were spending much more time managing environmental concerns than they had previously. Energy efficiency, water efficiency and waste management are among the top concerns here, as FMs are tasked with reducing emissions and power usage in accordance with ever-developing LEED and ENERGY STAR standards.
But operations budgets are just half the picture. Aging infrastructure and older buildings mean that capital forecasting is a prevalent part of budget planning these days. Not only do FMs have to minimize their facilities' day-to-day operational costs, but they must also find a way to maximize capital budgets to stay on schedule with infrastructure lifecycles and planned maintenance needs.
One of the main thorns in the side of facility managers across the country is the ever-growing imperative to do more with less. According to FacilitiesNet, a recent survey found that 30 percent of FMs reported insufficient resources as their No. 1 concern, making it almost twice as significant as the next-most-cited issue - increasing workload. As a result, facility managers have to get creative when it comes to finding more efficient ways to operate.
Fortunately, there are tools that are available that can greatly improve an FM's efficacy without necessarily inflating operating costs. Building automation has become a staple of maintenance management in recent years. The information consolidation provided by a CMMS allows maintenance staff to view building maintenance projects in a centralized online dashboard that is convenient and accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. Even maintenance teams that are feeling stretched thin by increasing workloads can see a boost in productivity by making use of the most efficient tools.