This website uses cookies primarily for visitor analytics. Certain pages will ask you to fill in contact details to receive additional information. On these pages you have the option of having the site log your details for future visits. Indicating you want the site to remember your details will place a cookie on your device. To view our full cookie policy, please click here. You can also view it at any time by going to our Contact Us page.

Global but also local

Author : Jane Fenwick

31 July 2012

Pictured are the winning Johnson Controls team (l-r front row) René Jacobsen (Customer Business Manager, Denmark), Marie Puybaraud (Director Global WorkPlace Innovation), Tine EideJoensen (Global Communication Manager), Peter Schwuchow (EHS Manager,

Record numbers of European FMs gathered in Copenhagen to learn about global visions through to coping with local disasters. PFM’s Jane Fenwick joined the throng

Blues skies, warm weather, casual clothes, relaxed atmosphere. Anyone could believe that the world of European FM was at peace without a care in the world when it met in Copenhagen between 23-25 May. Indeed there was much to celebrate not least the record numbers – nearly 700 – attending both the business conference and FM research symposium.

But beneath it all was uncertainty – the same uncertainty that grips the rest of European business community – about the future of the Euro currency. The Euro was the ‘elephant in the room’. The seriousness of a potential break-up of the Eurozone came through in several humorous asides that highlighted the inability of Europeans to’ agree on anything’ –particularly whether to called FM ‘facility’ or ‘facilities’ management.

Platinium sponsor and Copenhagen-based ISS, one of the largest pan European and now global support services providers, is watching the future with some concern. Group CEO Jeff Gravenhorst’s keynote speech took delegates through the company’s thinking about ‘what’s next’. He concluded that: “No one knows if Greece will fall over. We know less now than ever before.”

He explained how his team have been looking at ‘megatrends ‘ affecting FM such as globalisation, demographics, economic growth, the impact of social media, sustainability, business ethics and how technology can be an enabler with the use of new materials and robotics.

He said there was a danger that the future would be ‘fragmented’ by nationalist and protectionist policies. Alternatively, the future could be strongly ‘capitalistic’ and exploitative, while conversely it could go towards a ‘sustainable’ and egalitarian future. His aim was for a future that he dubbed the ‘Great Transformation’ that embraced some or all of the trends - sustainability, technology, globalisation, regulation and capitalism - and in which FM providers are the integrators and a strategic partners in all aspects of a client’s business.

To counter the demographic ‘time-bomb’ he foresaw the need to activate a larger part of the workforce including the ‘greying’ population, the disabled and immigrants, and to adapt to utilise social media. “The soft side of our business will be more important to get the best value out of our people. They need to understand why they are doing what they do.”

Professor Michael Joroff, Senior Lecturer of MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning, also speculated on the future saying that organisations needed agility to cope with change and to be resilient, as well as being digitally connected smart and ‘thrifty’. He said traditional organisational boundaries are breaking down with increased occupation of multi-use buildings such as Media City, Manchester, and sharing of facilities particularly in disaster planning. He claimed these were clear indications of resilience to change and he concluded that we must: “Think forward while we are doing jobs now – think what’s next.”

Utilising technology as a tool for workplace change and business advancement, a key theme at this conference, according to Dr Jan Taug, vice president Global Collaboration for Telenor Group. Formerly state-owned, this Norwegian telecommunications company now has mobile operations in 11 countries across Europe and Asia. For Taug the current issue is how, in a growing and dispersed organisation, to create a virtual workspace that could improve business efficiency, global presence, reduce CO2, time to market and create an integrated and co-operative company. He described the journey started in 2006 through to the present day in which by using “20% technology and 80% something else” some 135million messages are now sent (in 2010) through a single portal between employees and partners. Changing from a “closed to an open information management strategy had,” he said, “drastically increased cross company collaboration, positively impacted the company’s e-business, connected its people, helped them work smarter and to operate globally.”

Mike Large, IT Services Development Manager at Interserve and Jos Knops, Global Director of Product Marketing at Planon, described how IT is at the core of successful FM services businesses. Large explained that in a mature FM outsourcing market that is on second and third generation outsourcing contracts, providing better services for less money is becoming increasingly difficult. However, one way is to offer clients accurate cost information and transparency through an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) that can cover not just FM services but also real estate, energy, project management, sustainability and space planning. Working with its client Boots, Interserve and Planon have developed their IWMS that provides an integrated data output and adds real value for the client.

The rapid maturity of the pan-European FM market in recent years has meant that there are now plenty of real examples that demonstrated the conference theme ‘FM – global responsibility, local acting’. Indeed, global-scale strategic outsourcing with Europe as part of the bigger whole is becoming the norm. Take Johnson Controls and Cisco Systems whose global relationship now covers 88 countries and the management of some 1.8bn sqft property – about the size of Paris claimed Johnson Controls’ Julie Cooke and Siddika Demirelli, Theatre Delivery Manager, Cisco Systems. After much planning, the whole ‘Cisco’ world went live on June 1 2010 – some 66 service lines, 88 countries, 263 locations all on the same day. “It was not an easy journey but we handled it together, aligned as one team,” they said.

At IKEA, integration of FM did not happen until Helena Ohlsson arrived to take up the Global Facility Manager role in 2008 and to head IKEA FM, a new ‘non-core’ function in the organisaiton. By then IKEA had grown to 300 stores in 38 countries that hosted about 700million visitors annually. Ohlsson inherited a maintenance function that was decentralised, not well controlled or standardised, with little monitoring of performance or alignment to the business. She subsequently built a global FM team with a defined scope, that measured performance and benchmarked with the retail sector, and was more flexible and capable of dealing with the rapidly changing retail environment.

Sodexo and KLM’s partnership going back some 20 years, has developed to cover all KLM’s destinations. Tina Bergsma, Director Real Estate and Facility Contracting KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Johan Stellingwerf, MD FM Services, Sodexo NL described how in 2007 an integrated FM partnership for 80 locations covering 640,000sq m and 30,000 staff began and saw 300 KLM staff transfer to Sodexo. Quality improved with savings including 12% on energy and 2% on office waste, and compliance was much better.

The finalists in the EuroFM Awards Partners Across Borders category all demonstrated how effective pan-European FM strategic partnerships can be. The winners from Johnson Controls with Agilent Technologies partners can be seen in the panel. The other finalists were Interserve with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in a seven year strategic partnership that began in 2008, that delivers facilities management services to the FCO estate in the UK and 14 diplomatic missions in mainland Europe and Ireland; and ISS Facility Services with financial services group, Citi, in which ISS Facility Services delivers an integrated facilities management solution within the EMEA region covering 27 countries.

The ‘local acting’ element of the EFMC 2012 title was brought into sharp focus by May L H Balkoy, Head of Strategy and Development and the Norway Agency of Government Real Estate (Stasbygg), when on July 22nd last year she was at the centre of the crisis created by Anders Breivik’s bombing of the government district of Oslo that killed eight people and injured over 98.

Describing in detail the sequence of events that day, she said that the fact that the bombing occurred on a Friday before a public holiday weekend meant people had left the offices early and this reduced the human cost, but it also meant that a crisis management team had to be formed from who was left – just five people. The bomb impacted on 100,00sq m of office space with the blast affecting buildings across a wide area.

She described ‘war-like conditions’ and how her first concern was for Stasbygg employees and contractors. The priority was to ensure safety and whereabouts of their staff, before assessing the impacts and priorities, and what resources were needed to be mobilised. From the start all their actions were documented, the website was kept updated and staff contacted. Other key issues were securing the buildings and in particular ICT equipment and data. Alternative offices were sourced from the private sector – by the end of the first day vacant offices for 900 had been secured; by the next day that had risen to 2,000 and to 9,000 by the end of the week.

Reflecting on these events, Balkoy said that in an unexpected crisis the ‘right’ management may not be in place. “It is the people not job titles that matter,” she said. She reflected that “Every crisis is different and is an ultimate test of effectiveness and co-operation.”
Although the crisis management team stood down a week after the bombing, the events of that day still impact today with refurbishment of the affected buildings expected to take another 10 years before the district resembles pre-July 22. Balkoy commented: “We do not now have the same sense of security… we are vulnerable.”

A sobering experience that no-one hopes to happen but one that every FM have to prepare for.

Winners of the Partners Across Borders category in the European FM Awards were Johnson Controls with Agilent Technologies.

Pictured are the winning Johnson Controls team (l-r front row) René Jacobsen (Customer Business Manager, Denmark), Marie Puybaraud (Director Global WorkPlace Innovation), Tine EideJoensen (Global Communication Manager), Peter Schwuchow (EHS Manager, Denmark).
(l-r back row) Francisco GarcíaAhumada General Manager, Facilitec (sponsor), Ron Van Der Weerd, EuroFM Chairman and Tony Keane, IFMA Chairman.

This partnership covers 62 sites in 15 European countries for Agilent Technologies, a leading manufacturer of testing and measurement equipment for the electronics, communications and life sciences industries. It needed to make significant reductions in operating expenses, while becoming more operationally and financially efficient, in order to sustain market leadership. The two companies started working together in 2003 and soon developed the delivery of FM into a strategic alliance that also covers real estate, energy management and projects. The partnership has been extended to 2017.

Contact Details and Archive...

Print this page | E-mail this page