Looking after the facilities of a busy business needs vigilant management and having all the systems working harmoniously isn’t straightforward. From tracking which staff members are in the office due to hybrid working patterns to measuring productivity; facilities management gets trickier as you add more dimensions and people.
With employee numbers for Fortune 500 companies easily hitting hundreds of thousands, and sometimes millions, finding a way to coordinate them and the facilities they use in one central place is essential.
Modern businesses require modern business solutions, which is why the need for integrated facilities management has become so important. Let’s look at how this management technique can help complex organizations improve their cohesion and transparency.
What is integrated facilities management (IFM)?
Integrated facilities management is a software system or solution that offers the ability to consolidate all facilities-related activities and solutions into one single touchpoint. This IFM can help companies to manage their contracts and vendor relationships while improving internal processes and task distributions. It can be used to supplement the role of the facilities manager, who is responsible for ensuring the building or facility of their company is like a well-oiled machine.
Given that facilities such as property, buildings and equipment are often a company’s largest asset, it’s important to look after them effectively. Commonly, how a business will use IFM software develops over time, with new considerations to be made as there becomes more reliance on outside assistance.
From cleaning crews to designating space in your building; it can all prove to be a distraction from the core actions of a business. Integrated facilities management is often viewed as a foundation to allow businesses to grow, as they can focus their attention on other operations.
How does integrated facilities management benefit business?
There are many benefits that IFM can bring to a business. Ultimately, implementing this software throughout your organization will improve efficiency and reduce operating costs. Let’s look at the benefits in some more detail.
Reducing operating costs
Facilities management saves your company money by consolidating much of your efforts into one central location. Many internal teams find themselves repeating or duplicating tasks as department heads can’t see how they are being overwhelmed by managing their facilities. This is made even worse if there is no one manager overseeing everything, with each department focusing on its own little slice of the building.
According to a report published by PR News Wire, the global facilities management market “is projected to reach a revised size of US$3 Trillion by 2027”. Its rising importance is going a long way to reducing operational costs around the world, and companies are waking up to that fact.
One central IFM business solution, rather than multiple ad-hoc variations, allows you to find any redundancies in your company and find simple solutions to trim overspending. There will also be less to manage, so the facilities management department can be leaner, allowing the budget to be redistributed elsewhere.
Managing vendors creates a headache because there is commonly a lot of maintenance work that needs to keep a business in running order. Dealing with all of the paperwork that comes with it just adds to the difficulty, particularly if it’s unclear whose eyes need to see it.
IFM allows for a manager to define facility management tasks and preventative maintenance while coordinating any reactive work that crops up. It can also ensure that those who have the authority to sign off on contracts see it, avoiding escalating everything to senior management.
With all the information available to a facilities manager in one place, they can streamline their decision-making process. Organizations can use better communication channels to collaborate among teams, improve a company’s flexibility and increase productivity. What’s great about IFM is the choice it gives businesses; they can choose to take on the responsibility themselves or outsource it to a specialist company.
Dedicating more resources to core business activities
By streamlining facilities management, a company can remove the distraction it causes and dedicate all department efforts to steering the ship in the same direction. The reduction in operational costs is a significant benefit of IFM; companies implementing it can free up their leadership team to focus on the core purpose of the business.
Improving team cohesion is another byproduct of IFM which ultimately helps to improve the employee experience within an organization. Given that keeping a workforce happy, motivated and productive is essential to a business's success, dedicating more time to these efforts will always be worth it.
Transparency across an organization
One of the great things about modern business solutions like integrated facilities management is how they have made engagements and tasks more visible throughout businesses.
IFM, therefore, allows business leaders to know what’s going on in their workplace at a glance. Reports can be compiled in a matter of minutes, rather than coordinating different resources which can take several days. Instant reporting allows businesses to look at the metrics of their facilities management spending and make better-informed decisions regarding the workforce.
Companies may assign the likes of structural maintenance and plumbing to two different departments, but IFM allows for it all to be under the same umbrella. Managers can then have a better overview of their daily requirements while also seeing a clearer overall picture of projects.