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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. 

www.myfm.co.uk