In yesterday’s article on facilities management (FM), we saw how the industry was growing due to the dynamic business environment, increasing expectations from building occupiers, technological advancements and the introduction of legal requirements.
Those looking to have a career in the FM industry can explore several job roles. FM professionals today can work in areas such as corporate support services, asset maintenance management, corporate real estate services, facilities and support services and building management services.
The most important thread that is common to a FM professional’s job is to facilitate business operations through managing built facilities and support services.
To succeed in an FM career, you will need to develop and excel in the following areas:
You must be able to build rapport with people at all levels in providing excellent FM services.
You need these skills to identify the client organisation’s needs, the best value solutions and how to source for optimum results.
To inform clients of the FM work plan and its progress, or to report incidents, you need good presentation skills.
They will help you build trust with clients when you sound confident and knowledgeable.
You also need to be able to influence and persuade clients to adopt changes in the plan and to get their buy-in for value-add projects.
Your clients are business people, and you have to be able to talk their language. You must be able to articulate FM services performance and plans in financial terms to demonstrate how these are helping your clients achieve their organisational goals.
You need flexibility and the ability to think on your feet, align and adapt plans to organisational changes and demonstrate the need for appropriate FM services to support those changes.
How to offer value
The activities of facilities management are wide and varied. Getting started in FM need not be complex. The following I-S-C Value concept provides simple steps to get practitioners started on a journey towards enabling facilities management to be a business advantage:
Take stock of the facilities systems and services that are critical to the business operation. Adopt tools that enable the effective prioritisation and mapping of the interdependent and interrelated processes.
Conduct a survey of the current facilities systems and services and evaluate if they are operating as designed. Ensure that they are operating at their optimum performance, complying to the necessary legal requirements and adopting the best practices in operations and maintenance.
Continually look out for opportunities to initiate improvements, innovation and change to support the client organisation’s success.
The function of FM is diverse. Its success is often measured by its contribution towards an organisation’s overall business objectives. Its role is one of supporting the organisation’s core business.
The skills required by facilities practitioners will be wide and varied, and are needed across a range of support activities and services.
If you have just entered the work world and are interested in an FM career or you are considering a move to the FM industry, you will need to assess your knowledge and skills and identify the gaps that you need to bridge.
FM is supported with training and professional qualifications often coordinated by FM institutes or associations, and a limited number of formal degree programmes exist at both undergraduate and graduate levels. The FM profession offers many opportunities to those who have what it takes.
Responsibilities associated with facility management
Covering wide areas of business functions, these include:
• Maintenance of furniture and electronic appliances (like lighting systems);
• Space utilisation, interior design, and so on;
• Conducting inspections, approvals and payment of associated fees and costs
• Safety and security;
• Overall cleanliness of the organisation
• Maintenance of expense records; and
• Checking if the activities of business are in compliance with state and local laws regarding zoning, reporting of income, operation of a business and employee practices.
Article by Steven Ee, an FM strategist with FMS Associates Asia. For details, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org