Facility management is an increasingly used term, but its definition remains unclear for many people. But if the outlines of this concept are not very precise, the activities that it includes are real and conceal important stakes for all the companies that must maintain their buildings.
No matter what sector a company operates in, managing the maintenance of the buildings it uses for its activities is one of the key levers for productivity gains, whether this involves improving the working conditions of the users of these buildings or optimizing maintenance operations. There are currently several fundamental trends in facility management that aim to enable these productivity gains.
Facility management: definition and concept
Facility management (FM) is sometimes defined as the equivalent of general services, but this concept actually implies a broader vision of the maintenance of buildings.
What is facility management?
According to the strict definition of facility management, this term refers to a company’s outsourcing of services commonly known as “general services”:
- maintenance and cleaning of buildings ;
- management of technical premises;
- management of security systems (fire, access rights, etc.);
- management of energy usage (electricity, heating, air conditioning, ventilation);
- maintenance of external areas (green spaces, parking lots, etc.);
- mail management and purchase of supplies.
To refer to these services when they are outsourced, the term “multi-services” is sometimes used as an equivalent to facility management. In practice, facility management generally refers to the fact of entrusting one or more external service providers with the management of several services or support functions.
Why choose facility management?
The general aim of facility management is to optimize the quality/cost ratio. Beyond this goal, facility management offers several advantages:
Refocus the company on its core business
By outsourcing its corporate services, a company can focus solely on its core business, while benefiting from the expertise of a professional in these activities and enjoying greater cost transparency.
Share the cost of general services
Thanks to facility management, small or recently created companies, such as VSEs or start-ups, have access to a quality and diversity of services that they do not have the financial means to provide internally.
Benefit from the services of qualified experts
By adopting such an approach, a company benefits from the services of experts in their field, which is particularly advantageous when it comes to interventions that require a certain technicality.
Les grandes tendances du secteur
The facility management sector is currently experiencing several trends in order to better respond to the challenges that companies are confronted with.
How to better manage facility management?
One of the main challenges of FM is the management and coordination of the different stakeholders and providers. The current trend to address this challenge is to use a mobile and intuitive response management application that all providers can easily use.
In general, technology is increasingly used to manage the maintenance of buildings and associated equipment. The use of sensors associated with a compatible software allows maintenance interventions to be carried out at the right time in order to avoid any malfunction without wasting human or material resources.
How to improve the work environment?
Another major trend in facility management is to seek to provide the best possible working environment for employees who use company buildings. Many organizations are looking to attract and retain the best people, and to make their employees more productive. They do this by doing their best to provide a healthy, comfortable and flexible work environment.
New technologies are also being used to achieve this goal. CMMS applications, artificial intelligence and IoT sensors make it possible to manage building maintenance as closely as possible to the needs of their occupants, while disrupting their activities as little as possible.
Promoting safety in factories
In the industrial sector, employee safety is a major and growing concern. As a result, industrial companies tend to use new solutions to ensure that all safety guidelines and standards are met in the maintenance of buildings. These solutions make it possible, for example, to provide maintenance agents and technicians with procedural checklists to be followed during each maintenance operation.
Integrating BIM into a CMMS is another powerful tool available to plants to limit the risks associated with interventions by reducing the frequency of manual surveys in hazardous areas and the exposure of technicians to toxic substances.
Beyond the simple outsourcing of general services, the concept of facility management designates a new approach to the maintenance of corporate buildings, regardless of their sector of activity. To be fully effective, this approach must be based on efficient tools adapted to the multiplicity of participants that it involves.