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Defining a New Vision and Role for Facilities Management

Last week I had the pleasure of speaking to a large group of facilities professionals at the June luncheon meeting of the Houston Chapter of IFMA (International Facilities Management Association).

My topic was “Raising the Bar: Enhancing the Strategic Role of Facilities Management.” That’s the title of a research project that Paul Carder and I led in 2o12 for RICS (The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors). We did the research in our respective roles as Managing Director (Paul) and Global Research Director (me) of Occupiers Journal Limited, the publisher of Work & Place .

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RICS Supports Global Study of Facilities Management by Occupiers Journal

I am extremely pleased to report that the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyrs (RICS – http://www.rics.org/) is supporting the global study, “Raising The Bar – Enhancing the Strategic Role of Facilities Management” that I am leading in my role as Global Research Director for Occupiers Journal (OJL – http://www.occupiersjournal.com).

We have already had several hundred responses to the online survey we are conducting, and we have conducted a almost two dozen one-to-one interviews with Heads of CRE and/or Facilities (see below for details). [continue reading...]

Becoming Strategic

James Ware, PhD

This is the third installment of a series of observations about how an organization’s operational capability impacts business performance. In Part One (at this link) we explored the basic concept of strategy and suggested that operational capability is an absolutely essential component of business strategy.

Then in Part Two (at this link) we expanded on that idea and offered a history lesson showing how information technology exploded out of the “back room” a decade ago to become a strategic resource.

Here in Part Three we personalize these ideas, and suggest how senior facilities and corporate real estate professionals can/should “make the case” to the business that they too deserve a seat at the table.

Can a facilities strategy and operational capability impact a business strategy? Clearly, we think so, and so do the most experienced facilities professionals we know.

Just for starters, consider this: rethinking and redesigning your workplace strategy—including flexible workplaces and flexible work arrangements—can produce an ROI of more than 40 percent, and double profit margins in many businesses. We’ve seen it happen many times, and we even suggested a few years ago that CEO’s who aren’t implementing flexible work programs and reducing their real estate footprint should be called on the carpet by their shareholders (“What are You Waiting For?” – July/August 2009).

But we also know that making facilities strategic isn’t just a matter of cutting costs. We’ve also pointed out that there are at least five additional ways that effective management of facilities operations can enhance workforce and business performance:

  1. Increase workforce productivity;
  2. Help to attract and retain talent;
  3. Increase organizational agility;
  4. Reduce the business risk of disruption; and
  5. Reduce traffic congestion, air pollution, and environmental impact more generally.

We’ll expand on each of these strategic impacts just briefly; we’ve written much more extensively about them elsewhere (for example, see “How Come Distributed Work is Still the Next Big Thing?” Work Design Collaborative, 2006).

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