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5 Minutes With… Julian Harrison, Director, myfm

In the latest instalment of our executive interview series, FM Briefing sat down with myfm Director Julian Harrison to talk about the company’s offerings, market opportunities, industry challenges and Line of Duty…

Tell us about your company, products and services.

We are an FM management company that provides our clients with an end-to-end project delivery and support services. We work closely with the industry’s largest service providers. Either placing our associates into management positions within a contract, or by directly delivering solutions and supporting our clients in the delivery of high quality services, Myfm strives to deliver an accountable, totally dependable management resource that provides real value to our clients. 

What have been the biggest challenges the FM industry has faced over the past 12 months?

Our impact on the end-user. The industry has been getting used to moving away from the concept of “facilities management” towards that of “workplace management”. Whereas before FM tended to limit its focus on the “bogs and basins” fundamentals of keeping a building going, it’s now more about how building users feel about their organisation and their environment.

Many people in FM are still talking solely about workplace. The challenge for both end-user clients and service providers is to re-orientate our business to focus more on how our services can impact the success of our host businesses through impact on people, brand and productivity.  

What are the main trends you are expecting to see in the market in 2019?

I’ve noticed a shift amongst service providers from focusing solely on information transparency between ourselves and the client towards how we use information and technology to improve our services. Who’s in meeting rooms and when? What washroom and kitchen facilities are being used etc. 

We recently worked with a client using an occupancy monitoring and resource deployment solution which informed janitors in real time what facilities needed to cleaned, massively improving efficiency and service quality. Any technology that can accurately monitor usage of facilities and disposables will have a significant impact in disrupting the market in coming years.

In 2022 we’ll all be talking about…?

Energy management and sustainability will be even more high-profile areas. Buildings themselves will have to become more flexible to accommodate a “revolving door” of users. Buildings will also make far greater use of IOT “internet of things” to provide integrated facilities services that are far simpler and more effective to manage. 

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt about the FM sector?

I’ve been surprised by how slow FM has been to leverage our effects on the success of the core business. Workplace quality and environment have a huge effect on staff wellbeing & retention, which in turn has a huge effect on the success of a building user’s business. I’m surprised that FM hasn’t made the case that we are not just a “necessary evil” or overhead but can be a dynamic and influential factor on business success.

You go to the bar at the Facilities Management Summit – what’s your tipple of choice?

This is easy. Mine would be a Young’s extra special bitter or any well-kept real ale. 

What’s the most exciting thing about your job?

FM is a diverse and dynamic industry. No day is the same so the problems we help our clients deal with always present exciting new challenges to tackle.  

And what’s the most challenging?

Sometimes political relationships between service provider and end-user can blur our understanding of where accountability and responsibility lie in a contract. This can sometimes disrupt our ability to maximise our potential value to the client. 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Listen carefully and thoroughly. Let others have their say first. Often task-orientated people can jump too quickly to reach a solution. It’s far more engaging and effective to let others clarify their objectives and concerns thoroughly first.

Baptiste or Game Of Thrones?

Baptiste. But Line of Duty is better. 


Sharron Kapellar

5 Minutes With… Sharron Kapellar, Forbo Flooring

National Framework Manager at Forbo Flooring Systems, Sharron Kapellar discusses her company’s USPs, finances, wellbeing and blueberries with a G&T…

Tell us about your company, products and services.

Forbo Flooring Systems is a leading global player in high-quality, commercial floor coverings and total solution flooring projects that include Linoleum, Vinyl, Luxury Vinyl Tiles, Flocked Flooring, Carpet Tiles and Entrance Flooring Systems. We are truly a manufacturer that believes in quality and sustainability, offering only products that we manufacture to a high standard – after all you spend 80-90% of your lifetime indoors. We want to make the best of that environment.

What have been the biggest challenges the FM industry has faced over the past 12 months?

I would have to say finances and wellbeing, with many PFI’s coming up for maintenance renewals and clients wanting to improve wellbeing for personnel.

And what have been the biggest opportunities?

I would say the above. Some other manufacturers only seem interested in the bigger construction projects and don’t seem to want to support FM managers.

What is the biggest priority for the FM industry in 2018?

Keeping finances above water with the minimum wage increase – it is quite a strain on the FM industry. Companies are also putting more pressure on the estate manager to give a higher environmental wellbeing for staff for longer periods of the day, but with no extra cash.

What are the main trends you are expecting to see in the market in 2018?

From A Forbo point of view, certainly more Dementia friendly products and colour hues, as the work force gets older, as well as more diverse. The work environment will have to change, not just for physical health but mental health wellbeing too.

From a total FM point of view hopefully more collaboration between construction and facilities companies so the FM company can truly manage the future of the building, taking lifecycle cost into consideration, and not just the construction company taking the lead on what goes into the building, to get a building out of the ground at least cost.

What technology is going to have the biggest impact on the market this year?

We already have the latest technologies coming into business with computers predicting when things need changing. Also use of Drones; perhaps every office will soon have their own ‘Alexa’. With the increase of machines able to interact with human speech as well as FM managers now having an increase of collected data, then translating and communicating that into everyday practicalities. BIM buildings will have rules built into them and technology generally will learn from what it’s just done and possibly initiate improvement.

In 2020 we’ll all be talking about…?

Not enough charging points for our cars, and of course the weather. 

Which person in, or associated with, the FM industry would you most like to meet?

I would love to have time with Deborah Rowlands, now with Sodexo, having moved up from the ranks as an assistant facilities manager, working with private and government sector companies.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt about the FM sector?

That most FM managers don’t understand how much the correct flooring, specifically entrance areas although small, can give a big saving.

You go to the bar at the FM Forum – what’s your tipple of choice?

Definitely Brockmans Gin & Slimline with blueberries

What’s the most exciting thing about your job?

People and different challenges everyday

And what’s the most challenging?

At times, the people – it’s all about how I can help them manage the multitude of ever changing challenges they face.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Never look back saying “if only I had”! Always try to learn from a mistake.

Peaky Blinders or The Crown?

Peaky Blinders