The requirements for effective facility management are considerable. From delivering an excellent quality of service to ensuring that the entire facility is functioning in optimum condition, a facility manager’s responsibilities will often be broad and diverse. These requirements demand a wide range of skills of anyone who hopes to succeed in this discipline.
Combined with the fast-paced workload in a typical modern facility, all these demands can appear overwhelming to a new facility manager; but it does not need to be that way. There are some core areas that always require the most attention upon assuming the leadership of a new assignment. The ability to identify and manage these areas from inception can serve as the bedrock for sustained success.
Below are the five things that new facility managers need to do within their first 90 days.
1. Understand the contract requirements
Regardless of the size of the facility, one of the first things to do is to spend time getting familiar with the different kinds of contracts that exist in the premises starting with the facility management service level agreement (SLA), then the other service contracts.
Facility managers will need to pay close attention to the scope of services for each contract and note any penalties for nonperformance or breaches. They will need to know the required standards of service delivery, the specified Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and how performance will be measured.
The KPIs are critical to the success of the facility management contract as they identify the fundamental requirements that the client expects of the facility management service provider. Typical KPIs will include response time, availability, downtime on critical assets, etc. All this must be clearly understood before any kind of effective planning can occur.
2. Conduct a facility condition assessment
Within the first few weeks on the premises, it is important to know the current state of the physical structure(s) and how all the systems are performing. Conducting a facility condition assessment (FCA) helps to provide comprehensive data on the useful life of all assets. It also lays the foundation for all improvement efforts and maintenance planning.
Ideally, the FCA should cover the following:
- Confirmation of the existence of an asset register. The FCA exercise is an ideal opportunity to crosscheck the accuracy of this register.
- Thorough evaluation of the physical structure (noting any leaks, gaps, cracks, ruptures, sagging ceilings, uneven floors, etc.).
- The condition of all mechanical, plumbing, safety, and electrical systems (check for leaks, low water pressure, blockages, uneven temperature, exposed wiring, etc.).
- Any safety hazards on the premises.
- External environmental threats to the immediate surroundings of the facility, such as erosion or blocked storm drains.
3. Take charge of leadership and strategy
New facility managers have most likely been briefed about their company’s vision, values, and goals. It is now their responsibility to transfer these values and goals to the on-site maintenance team to achieve better employee engagement and productivity. If there are any negative behaviors among the staff (e.g. unsafe or wasteful practices), facility managers will need to intervene decisively.
Apart from the staff, the facility manager also needs to engage with other stakeholders early on. These stakeholders include residents, clients, vendors, and regulatory officials.
Facility managers will be expected to set the pace for communication between all parties.
and make any changes when required. All this is done with the goal of making communication easier, encouraging transparency into how the facility is run, and enabling quick response to residents’ requests.
4. Implement a proactive maintenance management program
Based on the information gathered during the FCA, facility manages have the information required to prioritize the repair and maintenance of all assets under their care. They can now proceed to plan and schedule a proactive maintenance program for each asset. In addition, a proactive maintenance program will allow them to save money in the long term compared to spending funds on reactive and emergency repairs.
The specifics of which maintenance strategy to use will differ depending on the criticality of the equipment in question and available funds. But overall, the return on investment of any maintenance strategy increases when it is supported by a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS).
A CMMS will help to expedite:
- Preventive maintenance planning and scheduling
- The creation, assignment and tracking of work orders from start to finish
- Job execution through mobile-enabled workflow management
- Report generation for deeper insights into maintenance performance.
5. Keep a firm grip on finances
Facility managers’ success in any location is usually closely tied to their ability to control costs and remain within the approved budget for that facility.
Based on the FCA, the updated asset register, and maintenance plan, the facility manager now has a better understanding of the financial position of the facility, and enough information to start identifying the financial pain points and correcting inefficient spending.
The next step is to identify the most cost-effective solutions to keep the facility running optimally while cutting back on spending. Some common strategies that will help a manager minimize maintenance spending without jeopardizing quality include monitoring the costs of outsourced services, controlling maintenance expenses (e.g. through installing energy-saving upgrades), and improving inventory management practices.
Although every building comes with unique requirements, facility managers who adopt the tips mentioned above will find it easier to handle their first 90 days on the job and will set a positive precedent for the rest of their career at the company.