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Surviving the Economic Downturn

11 March 2009

UK businesses can streamline their property management strategies to drive down costs and make them better prepared to overcome tough trading conditions according to Jamie Reynolds, co-CEO of GSH Group, the international energy and facilities management company. He was speaking at an industry forum organised by the company entitled ‘Solution to the Urban Squeeze’ to discuss how to survive the economic downturn.

Reynolds went on to explain: “Industry figures suggest that UK businesses are losing £18 billion per year through inefficient use of property and new working practises could save as much as £6.5 billion annually. In fact, just a 10 per cent reduction in FM costs could save as much £1.3 billion, so businesses need to identify where waste is occurring within their operations to drive down overheads and optimise performance.”

However, the panel of speakers were all quick to point that companies should not be taking any knee jerk reactions to ensure there was no adverse effect on day-to-day operations. Instead, businesses were urged to refine their maintenance, facilities and energy management strategies, utilising detailed management information and clever use of technology, to reduce overheads and achieve operating efficiencies. In addition, companies could enhance their commercial solutions by reducing specification, restructuring scope as well as integrating structures and budgets.

The panel also highlighted effective energy management as a way of not only removing cost from a company, but also contributing to the creation a green business. The event was attended by Ben Ross from Forum for the Future* who had spent the day with GSH Group’s executive team discussing sustainability issues and best practise.

Elsewhere, Rob Greenfield, GSH’s Group Director for SHEQ and Deputy Chairman of BIFM spoke about the importance of cutting costs and not compliance: “It would be so easy to cut the budgets for sustainability and health and safety policies, but this could undo a lot of the great work that has already taken place. Organisations are under pressure from their customers, shareholders, finance and legislation, so should avoid the damaging impact such cost-cutting could cause.”

The event, held at the Swiss Re building in London, was attended by key facilities management decision makers and influencers within leading UK businesses.

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