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Colin Kenton

Guest Blog, Cathy Hayward: FM in 2016 – what we’ve learnt and 2017 predictions…

The end of a calendar year provides the perfect opportunity for lines to be drawn, and predictions forecast. And while 2016 will largely be remembered for the number of famous lives it took, the surprise Brexit decision and election of Donald Trump, there were also more positive developments in the FM and workplace sector.

This year saw the word wellbeing become part of the workplace lexicon and that’s only going to intensify in 2017. Workplace design will focus on creating less sedentary work practices, says Adrian Powell, director at office design and build firm Active, through encouraging movement around the office space. “Companies recognise this will lower absenteeism and help to attract talent. Employees are certainly more educated now about healthy living and have become much more health conscious. Companies also realise that workplace stress is a massive health issue, so designing and creating a healthier and more relaxed environment will create true benefit.”

Powell predicts a real emphasis on ‘teams’, continuing the theme of collaboration spaces which took centre stage in 2016. “Employers are beginning to recognise that companies structured into high performing teams are enabling themselves to compete and win! This will be pushed for by millennials and gen Z workers who have grown up playing team sports, who may have the same expectations of their office.”

With a growing millennial workplace population, technological innovations will continue to make a major impact on the FM world. There will be more connection, more automation, and more significant impact in business and investment than ever before. “Service companies will need to be more technology savvy in the delivery of services and production of management information, as technology is shaping the human life at a rapid pace and service delivery needs to keep a pace with that ‘instant’ culture,” says Glen Cardinal, managing director of Platinum Facilities and Maintenance Services.  But he acknowledges that there’s a balance to be had with old fashion face-to-face customer relationships.

The Internet of Things which started being talked about in 2016 will become more affordable and be used by leading organisations to support enhanced workplace experiences. That’s the prediction of Andrew Mawson, founder and MD of Advanced Workplace Associates. And it’s backed up by Andrew Sugars, director of corporate development at Servest Group. “Data analytics and IoT will be more entrenched in FM’s way of thinking, in terms of helping the decision making process of where to direct their focus. The move from service focused KPIs to enhancing customer experience metrics will be driven predominantly through apps, that are changing the way end users interact day to day with their work environment.”

2017 will yield even more integration of CAFM and other systems within a building, adds Gary Watkins, CEO of CAFM provider Service Works Group.  “Effective management of the facilities lifecycle is often cited as an enterprise’s second largest expense, and system integration will allow better access to information, with intelligent workflows automating processes for high efficiency.  We expect data across all applications to be standardised, driving the market forward in areas such as automated guided vehicles, increasing productivity and work place safety.” Watkins also forecasts increased mobility, the rise of ruggedised devices, more wearable technology, increased location-based services and bigger big data.

There will also be a fundamental shift in service delivery models. Traditional FM service delivery models are going to come under increased pressure following the uncertainty of the Brexit decision, the recent election of Donald Trump as US president, Government policies around the apprenticeship levy, the new minimum wage level and the pressure, in the public sector at least, to involve SMEs in the supply chain.

“We are going to see more innovation around FM models, particularly for organisations with large property portfolios,” says Colin Kenton, managing director, FM services at KBR. “The Integrator model, whereby one outsourced organisation offers the client a cohesive solution by integrating process, technology, reporting and performance measurement/management across all service providers in the supply chain, will gain ground,” he predicts. This matured and adapted version of the managing agent model provides the client with a stand-alone matrix of processes, resources, skills and knowledge to manage all of its services, which crucially, meet their specific needs. Its innate flexibility responds well in changing economic and political times.

There will be further consolidation in the FM supply base, as service providers become unprofitable after further cost cutting. That’s the prediction from AWA’s Andrew Mawson. “Meanwhile larger SMEs and more thoughtful occupiers will seek out boutique FM supply companies to provide more innovative partnership based ‘workplace management’ services.”

With all these changes, there will be a major push by companies to attract and retain the top talent in the industry, forecasts Dave Kentish from people development specialists Kentish and Co. “This means that they will have to invest in developing people within their business and making sure they get known for being the company to work for. It’s all about growing your own.”

That’s certainly something that Nikki Dallas, MD and founder of FM recruitment business Talent FM, agrees with. She forecasts a need for more project management and space management professionals once the timetable for Brexit is known and banks and other financial services firms decide if they’re leaving or staying in London.  There will also be a demand for UK qualified talent in the Middle East with Expo 2020 Dubai and the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in 2022. “These large events require an improvement in infrastructure which means more need for built environment and FM professionals,” she predicts.  

What’s clear is the ramifications of the big decisions of 2016 are going to be felt throughout next year and beyond, but the enthusiasm for the FM sector to innovate, grasp the nettle of new technology and new service delivery models will ensure it triumphs over any further adversity.

 

Cathy Hayward is a communications specialist with over 18 years’ experience in a range of journalistic and marketing roles. She founded Magenta in 2011 after 13 years as a business journalist where she launched FM World and edited Charity Finance as well as working on titles such as Financial Management, Supply Management, Unions Today, Marketing Week, Soccer Analyst and Director.

Guest Blog, Colin Kenton: Stimulating the economy by simplifying FM delivery…

The method and merit of Facilities Management (FM) delivery – be it in-house, total, bundled or single stream – has been debated for many years. Getting the correct delivery model for a specific contract has never been more important, especially so with market volatility arising from events such as Brexit. Uncertain times mean the correct service structure and management is essential to securing and meeting targets set out when the contract was tendered. In truth, these models are valid within certain circumstances, and it can never be a case of ‘one size fits all’. Public sector contracts in particular require an absolute assurance of delivery; the scrutiny which large central government departments face means that nothing other than exceptional service for the best possible value is acceptable. The requirement to improve productivity and efficiency is a key motivation not only in the public sector, but with FM in general. Additionally, the need to extract as much value as possible is crucial. This market development has seen a reduction in team resources and has consequently created challenges with delivery capability for both in-house and outsourced offerings.

With SME’s being championed by the government and encouraged to bid for large public sector contracts, the need for smaller businesses that are able to deliver is paramount. The demand to meet service expectations while simultaneously keeping costs to a minimum can be burdensome for smaller businesses, and the overall quality of their service can suffer if it is not managed correctly. The workload that a public sector contract generates can put disproportionate strain on the supplier’s resources and potentially be self-defeating. It is right that SME’s should be encouraged to win major contracts with central government departments; this competition is undoubtedly good for stimulating the economy and safeguarding future prosperity. However, if the contract creates serious issues for the entire business, then this needs to be addressed in a strategic way that helps an SME deliver on expectations while also safeguarding their resources so they are not stretched too thin.

In my experience at KBR, the best method for alleviating this problem is to use an integrated service delivery model (ISDM) that provides the client with a stand-alone matrix of processes, resources, skills and knowledge to manage the execution of its services. This particular model means that the service is capable of meeting the specific needs of each client. From the beginning of an agreement, the sourcing strategy is devised and the supply chain is mobilised while day-to-day management is continually monitored. The bespoke nature of this model means that an integrator can deal with issues – anticipated or unforeseen – while still ensuring that FM services are delivered throughout the contract term as agreed. The single integrated system also ensures that monitoring is non-intrusive and the data accrued is simple to interpret and utilise.

The ability to monitor FM and property performance data means trends can be established and delivery can be modified accordingly. This is a great opportunity for SME’s as the model allows for continual improvement while not physically interfering in the actual execution of FM services from the client itself. The SME can fulfill its contract while benefitting from the influence that an IDSM brings, thus alleviating the potential service stress of a major public-sector contract. If there is a particular issue, it will be identified and discussed with the provider who then makes changes as appropriate – essentially the process of troubleshooting and optimisation is simplified for all parties and the job gets done. Conversely, this model also allows for an integrator to deliver everything independently, if desired. A key benefit of ISDM is its flexibility and applicability.

This model has enjoyed demonstrable success. In 2013, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) went through the biggest transformation of its estate to date. KBR were employed to develop an integrator model which oversaw a total restructuring of its facilities management with the aim of saving £5 million pounds a year. Three years on, the MPS is now seeing £10 million a year in savings, service satisfaction has improved, and the number of SME’s working alongside the MPS has increased by 40 per cent. Integrator payment arrangements are also typically made on a fee basis, so no amount is taken from the original contract agreement itself. The SME is therefore never short-changed in the process; it is a mutually beneficial collaboration. Having an integrator involved is not a prerequisite to an SME’s success in major public contract negotiations, but the assured service they can bring for all parties will certainly make any prospective bid more desirable. Food for thought for those aspiring to supply in the public arena.

 

As managing director for Facilities Management Services, Colin holds strategic responsibility for the direction and growth of the FM Services business across the UK for KBR. His remit includes Business Development and acquisition: securing contracts, and negotiating at executive level with major clients in both the public and private sectors.