The previous article introduced facilities management (FM) as a profession and explained its role in managing facilities and support services. Some organisations refer to such a function as corporate services, operations support services, workplace services and asset maintenance management.

FM has become a wide and complex process with the increased sophistication of physical facilities and the correspondingly stronger expertise demanded of FM companies from organisations. Due to its broad scope, the practice of facilities management can vary from organisation to organisation.

Beyond nuts and bolts

FM is a multi-disciplinary profession whose objective is to ensure that facilities and support services are operated and maintained with the security, safety, health, comfort and productivity of their occupants in mind.

Because its key values include a high level of integration and coordination, FM is a suitable career for people from various disciplines, including engineering, administration, architecture, finance, information technology, and workplace safety and health.

To succeed in this dynamic profession, FM requires people with a mindset that sees beyond the nuts and bolts of a building. An FM professional has to be a people person, flexible and adaptable to the needs and changes of the organisations in his care, and also treat facilities management like a business.

FM professionals who are new to the job may find the sheer number of tasks somewhat overwhelming. They should take a cue from the saying: “To start, you don’t have to be good. To be good, you have to start.”

To succeed in FM, you have to learn step by step and be willing to adapt your approach to the needs of each organisation you are working with.

Here are some pointers to help you chart your progress in the FM profession:

Know what you have

Be aware of the facilities and services that support the organisation under your management. Find out about the air-conditioning and communication systems, as well as the janitorial and security services that have a major impact on the organisation’s effectiveness and efficiency.

Plan and manage

FM is often dynamic and you need to be on top of certain key operations. After finding out what facilities you have, pay attention to those that may have a high impact on the organisation should they be disrupted or those which form the bulk of the organisation’s operating and capital expenses.

These are critical facilities and services that need to be managed well with a effective plan. Any disruptions to them or downtime may incur significant losses for the organisation.

Project performance

Your ability to predict the short- and long-term performance of facilities and services will impress your client’s management. They will be aware of your company’s ready support of the organisation’s strategic plans to anticipate and meet the challenges of business competition. 

Enhance and innovate

When things are under control and you have gained some experience in facilities management and support services, look for ways to create and retain value and generate income or offset expenses.

There are numerous opportunities to enhance systems and processes in facilities management — you just need the information, knowledge and skills to do them.

Career opportunities

There is an increasing demand for facilities management in a growing, dynamic and vibrant city like Singapore. A career in facilities management can be promising for someone who is competent, both in the knowledge of FM and the skills required.