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Winners in Europe

15 July 2008

(l-r) Simon Fry, Facilities Manager UK Microsoft Real Estate & Facilities,

The second European FM Awards were presented in Manchester on Tuesday 10th June in front of over 300 members of the FM community from Europe, Asia and the US attending the Gala Dinner of the EFMC2008 European FM conference.

FAST BECOMING AN ESTABLISHED PART of the international FM calendar, the European FM Awards 2008 were presented in four categories – one more than last year. These categories reflect the key areas of interest and activity of EuroFM – education, research and practice. The award for European FM of the Year joined the existing Award categories of European Student of the Year, European Researcher of the Year and Partners Across Borders established at the first presentation in Zurich in 2007.

Each Award categories was judged by a panel representing experienced professionals in FM education, FM academia and FM practice from across Europe. The judging took place during March and April this year and involved interviews with candidates, and in the case of the Partners across Borders category, the judges visited the entrants’ sites in Cyprus, Poland and the UK.

The European FM Awards have arisen from the growth in the need for a strategic approach to delivering facilities management and support services consistently and efficiently across the business properties of organisations that operate internationally, and often on a global scale. This approach is particularly challenging with a European environment where languages, currencies, cultures, regulations, climates and political structure vary from country to country.

The new Award of European FM of the Year recognises the necessity for FMs with international strategic responsibilities to demonstrate their abilities to manage their client’s facilities and support services across political and cultural boundaries, using their language skills or those of their teams in different countries. The Gala Dinner at which the Awards were presented were held at The Monastery, Gorton Manchester. Located on the outskirts of the city, the once elaborately decorated monastery church is a fine example of renovation and reuse of historic facilities. The dinner was held in the former monastery church and the reception in the former cloisters.

EuroFM is grateful for the support given by the sponsors for the European FM Awards - Harrow Green Group, GlaxoSmithKline, Facilitec, Faceo and Barclays.

Microsoft aims to provide consistent and effective FM provision across the company’s property portfolio in Europe from one service supplier in each country. Since this partnership entered these Awards last year, the concept, model and process has been completed in Spain and the Netherlands, and is currently in progress in Belgium, Russia and Italy.

PETER BÄCKSTRÖM is the Johnson Controls’ Customer Business Director for EMEA region for a global telecommunications supplier, and joint Regional Executive for its operations in Sweden and Finland. In Sweden and Finland he is responsible for co-ordination of the business and utilisation of resources, and acts as a central point of contact for Johnson Controls clients and staff. He said: "I am honoured that my operational and managerial experience in an international and dynamic environment has been recognised with this prestigious award. I am delighted that EuroFM acknowledged Johnson Controls’ best practice and my personal commitment in delivering FM services consistently and effectively across European boundaries".

WINNER European FM Student of the Year 2008
MARCEL BROUMELS: Aged 23, Marcel obtained a first degree in Hotel Management in the Netherlands before working on a second degree in Facility Management. During his third year of study he undertook a work placement at the Scottish Parliament for six months.

FM Researcher of the Year 2008
HERMEN JAN VAN REE: Hermen is combining his PhD research at University College London with his role as Head of Research & Development at IPD Occupiers where he is developing new performance tools for use across the FM and real estate sectors that have produced interesting results and are being considered by several multinational companies.

OPENING THE DEBATE at the European FM conference, EFMC2008 in Manchester last month, economist and futurist Hamish McRae provided an explanation of the pressures on the global economies and how these were likely to impact on businesses, the way they work and ultimately FM.

He described long term shifts in economic conditions affected by the ageing population in ‘western’ economies. He said working population levels that will peak in Europe by 2017, and this combined with other factors such as the end of the oil era will come in our lifetime and see a power shift to energy producers such as Russia, Canada and Brazil.

He challenged the 380 FMs from Europe, Asia, US and Africa attending the conference to face these challenges that are happening now and in the next decade. “Your companies will be under pressure to use people more effectively to undertake the work it manages for others. You will have a really important role in helping companies and societies achieve a lower energy use world.”

He envisaged that high cost countries will have to ‘grind up’ productivity, be smarter - not just outsource to low cost countries. They must use technology better and reduce the number of people in offices by teleworking. “Technology creates surprising opportunities in the downturn,” he said.

He predicted that the “Global economic recovery will take time to mature.” He advised, “Be nimble, use the fact that the down part of the cycle is a commercial opportunity. It is a great time for the FM business sector to gain competitive advantage.”

Against this economic environment, sessions on how two major multinationals are addressing their property and facilities costs were well attended. Maril can Waes, explained how the decision of the Dow Chemical Company to outsource its back office operations in India impacted on the occupancy of its European estate. It became the opportunity to reduce costs, introduce office and furniture standards, provide alternative workplaces such as hotelling and invest in IT tools for FM and RE management and reporting. The FM team became a unified unit and was aligned to the business goals. The result was a saving of $40m on reduced space and related costs, and a similar approach could be used in its laboratory activities.

At Norway’s StatoilHydro, a company merger necessitated a realignment of FM services to support its 31,000 employees in 40 countries including 39 gas and oil fields, 2,000 service stations, mostly in Scandinavia and a developing carbon capture business. The FM operation covered 21 locations in Norway and Scandinavia but it will soon take on responsibility for the international offices. As Svein Harald Storli of StaoilHydro explained, the FM operation aims to be a world class operation with a global delivery capability.

A web portal for shared services has been developed that enables 70 per cent or work requests solved in the first two stages of the process. It has used the new European Standard as a baseline for benchmarking its activities.

In another well attended session, Chris Philips, head of National Counter Terrorism Security Office embedded in MI5 outlined the new threats to business and people from global terrorism. He explained that these new terrorists recorded the ‘success’ of their operations in mass casualties, and they detonated multiple devices without warning using a variety of weapons and bomb including suicide bombers. He said providing ‘safe rooms’ within buildings at their strongest point should be considered to protect staff.

He urged FMs to reconsider their evacuation plans in the event of terrorist threats and incidents. “Your current evacuation plan could make it worse for your people. Evacuating people from your building onto the street to assemble in large groups makes them a potential target, “ he said.

He said businesses are in the front line and are the main target for electronic and chemical attack, and at risk of radicalised ‘insiders’. He explained that Project Argus is disseminating this information in the UK to businesses, architects and planners and providing training in how to keep people safe.

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