4 Tips to Successful Facility Management

Are you engaged in the art and science of Facility Management?  You may not realize it, but if you are a homeowner, you are a facility manager.  So my guess is that the majority of those reading this post are technically involved in the role of a facility manager.  Some of us are engaged in the “profession” of Facility Management while others of us are responsible for the stewarding of facilities at a different level or capacity.  Given that, these 4 tips are relevant to each one of us.

As I have studied Facility Management and operations, I have seen a significant dichotomy between those whose facilities are functioning at peak levels and others that…well…not so much (and I will leave it at that!).  I have observed some very specific traits in both camps and I have found that they are almost always polar opposites of each other.  The well run facilities do “X” and those on the other end of the spectrum do NOT do “X”. In most cases there is a direct correlation of what is done…and the exact opposite.

There are 4 primary areas in which the top producers invest their time.  They take these seriously and make the time to engage in them.  They are intentional.  They are proactive.

Here are the 4 Tips to Successful Facility Management that we have observed:

LEARN – I have never met a successful Facility Manager that knew everything there was to know or was up to date on the most current means, methods or tools available…but they constantly were seeking to learn. With accessibility to the internet and our ability to “Google” just about anything, there are no excuses to not be constantly learning. Not sure where to start?  Here are some ideas for you:FM-Pie-e1306962773693

  1. Facilities Management & Real Estate by Michel Theriault – This is a tremendous resource book and a must have for any facility manager.
  2. The Facility Management Handbook by David Cotts (and others) – Again, a great resource book.
  3. Church Facility Stewardship Manual by Tim Cool – Sorry to be self-promoting…but if you work in a church or other non-profit, you REALLY need to get this manual.
  4. FacilitesNet – This is a great online resource with blogs, articles and other great information.
  5. HPAC Engineering – This is not a typo…it is HPAC and not HVAC for this online tool.  Great input on your heating and cooling systems.
  6. Cleaning & Maintenance Management – We all have to clean our facilities…so why not learn what others are doing.

ENGAGE – None of us were meant to go it alone.  We need to engage with others to help us in our journey…and hopefully you will become the trusted advisor to the next generation of proactive facility professionals.  Here are some suggestions of where to engage:

  1. International Facility Managers Association – In my opinion, this in the best trade association for facility managers.  I have been a member for years and hands down, they produce the best resource materials and training.
  2. FacilitesNet – The organization behind the above online data also have an association.
  3. The Church Network – FastTrack – This one day event is geared toward church facilities managers.  Both you and your church administrator need to attend.
  4. Local Facility Managers Groups – I don’t have links to all of the local organizations, I assure you they are out there.  For instance, Minnesota has the “Minnesota Association of Church Facility Managers”  and I know of small groups in Greenville, SC and Charlotte, NC that get together regularly to share and support each other. Do a little homework…or start your own group.

PLAN – What is the old adage…“People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan.”  This is so true!!! As I have written before, this is really what separates the effectiveness and efficiency of facilities.  Are they proactive or reactive?  Are they planning for the future or just dealing with the urgent? If you need a primer to help get you started, download this FREE e-Book.  You will want to get this!

TOOLS – While you can take a hammer to drive a lag-bolt, I think we would all agree there is a better “tool” for that job.  So, what tools are you using to manage your facilities?  How do you track and process work orders?  How do you increase efficiency within your team?  Are you using tools to help increase your energy efficiency?  How about space utilization and preventive maintenance planning?  Do you have a tool to project your Capital Reserve expenditures? Here are some tools to consider:

  1. Life Cycle Calculator – This free tool is incredibly helpful in projecting your future costs.
  2. Best Practices Checklist – This is a preliminary “checklist” of items that should be on every church’s “radar” as a minimum baseline for maintaining their facilities.
  3. Work Order Management software – Be intentional with your work order processing, PM, Equipment tracking, Vendor Management and Inventory Management.
  4. Event and Room Scheduling software – Our facilities were intended to be used…but that use must be planned and properly coordinated.  You need to avoid the “Chinese fire-drill” that is far too common.
  5. HVAC Integration with Event Scheduler – Most churches we work with have 2 facility commonalities: 1) They have HVAC systems 2) They have spaces/rooms they need to manage for events and meetings. Why would you not integrate those 2 activities to increase efficiency and save money on utility bills?

That is a lot of information, I know. What will you do with it?  Information with out implementation is unproductive.  I encourage you to be INTENTIONAL and start right now to be the best facility professional your organization has ever had.  You can do it!

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