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More strategy needed in FM

08 November 2012

RICS’ ‘Raising the Bar: Enhancing the Strategic Role of Facilities Management’ report, launched on 1 November 2012, found that the average Head of Facilities spends less than one day a week dedicated to planning and strategy, despite the clear importance of strategic Facilities Management to business.

The report draws on a survey of almost 400 professionals across six continents and 40 countries. In addition, direct interviews were conducted with FM and Corporate Real Estate executives to provide detailed insights into the management of FM.

The findings of the study evidence the fact FM can and should be seen as a strategic business and management discipline; over 75 per cent of respondents believe FM is strategic. However, there was a discrepancy between this perception and current practice, with the majority of organisations reporting a primary focus on day-to-day operational activity rather than strategy.

These sector insights are revealed as RICS announces the opening of a further global consultation into the development of its Strategic FM Guidance Note, following feedback from the UK consultation earlier this year. When published, the note will support FM professionals world-wide in delivering the strategic approach identified by the ‘Raising the Bar’ report.

Johnny Dunford, Global Commercial Property Director at RICS said: “The findings of the ‘Raising the Bar’ report highlight the integral importance of FM to delivering organisational efficiency and performance. To achieve consistent best practice it is vital that FM professionals ‘raise the bar’ by taking a strategic approach linked to the larger business model and objectives.”

The report highlights key areas of concern and makes recommendations to ensure an enhanced strategic approach. Feedback suggests many businesses focus on driving down the cost of facilities rather than positioning it as an integrated professional division, with 80 per cent of facilities groups being measured on performance against budget in the first instance. However, integrating facilities with overall business development strategy can help an organisation be competitive in the marketplace. FM leaders must therefore work with senior executives to outline the benefits of an integrated, strategic FM plan.

The study also highlights the importance of FM leaders having multi-disciplinary relationships with other key functional areas of the business including corporate strategy, business unit leadership, corporate real estate, finance, HR and IT. By working collaboratively with their peers FM professionals can understand and deliver against the strategic imperatives of their organisation as a whole. To enable this recommendations are made for some day-to-day responsibilities of FM leaders to be outsourced to external service providers to open up time for strategic planning.

Dunford added: “The development of our FM Guidance Note will support our members and the FM industry in achieving this strategic approach. This will help to drive professionalism and enhance the recognition, understanding and demand for the added value and optimum performance that strategic FM can deliver to business.”

These recommendations are outlined in full within the report and will feed into RICS final Strategic FM Guidance Note.

The Guidance Notes open for consultation include Facilities Management Core Principles, the Strategic Role of Facilities Management in Business Performance, and a Facilities Management Positioning Paper. The guidance will cover all areas of FM services including catering, cleaning, building maintenance and security.

Members can download the full ‘Raising the Bar’ report at: www.rics.org/research


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