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Lockdown Opportunities – A Better Future By Design

Lockdown Opportunities – A Better Future By Design
28 May 2020

The role of the facilities management sector in keeping the population safe, secure, clean, comfortable and protected has never been more discussed.

In the final part of this four-part series of opinion pieces, Scott Fortune and Mike Green examine the ability of FM to respond and mitigate risk through a data-driven approach to business, and a reassessment of what are the true KPIs in a post-lockdown world.

Mike Green is a seasoned construction and FM professional, with thirty-eight years experience specialising in FM building services, consultancy and contracting.  Green is also a committee member of the CIBSE FM Group and Chair of the Central London Maintenance Association.

Scott Fortune is an Interim Facilities Director and Transformation Leader with over twenty years of experience across B2B, B2C, FM, banking, transport, public, consulting, SME and corporate sectors.

Catch up on the first three parts of this Lockdown Opportunities series:

Part One – Time To Reflect

Part Two – Tap Into Your Home Grown Knowledge Bank

Part Three – Defining And Redefining The FM Supply Model


A new landscape


In the previous three articles, we have looked at the unprecedented opportunity that exists during COVID-19 lockdown for the FM Supplier community to spring clean their business strategy, service offering models and to create the ultimate operating model to suit a very different post-lockdown landscape.

Assuming that we have done some or all of this over the past ten weeks, what can we expect the landscape to look like? What tools, systems, software and processes will respond best to the topography of that uncertain but different client demand?


“Those who work on the shop floor of the buildings we manage have built up a rapport and turned touchpoints to interactions, and now we have to turn those interactions back into sterile touchpoints.”

A data-driven business 


In the world of business, there is a recurring baseline that exists. The lifeblood that can make or break you is the stability of your data pool.  Accurate, timely and relevant data can put you ahead of the competition and predict the future. But it just takes one assumption on your data’s pedigree and your data pool can quickly and easily turn into a swamp. A data-driven business is a growing business.

Our clients (most anyway) already have a data-driven business strategy that the FM industry just plugs into. The client drives the business, we normally just supply the vehicle. Depending on the contract we offer vehicles from a Sinclair C5 to a Tesla. Both get the client from A to B, but one gets you there shinier and faster.

For us to survive the post-COVID-19 client of the future, we need to align our clean asset operational data and strategy with the client, rather bolting on what we have or what we think the client needs. This can only be achieved with hard facts, rather than assumptions.

A data-driven FM Strategy will provide a supplier with a host of organizational advantages such as:


  • Automation of repetitive routines
  • Smart workflows that can respond to seasonal or unforeseen events and circumstances
  • Less asset downtime (IOT and AI application develops a predictive activity rather than wasted planned or reactive activity)
  • Longevity of contract and a seat at the client’s board table


The whole decision-making process can now be managed to limit overspend, remove unnecessary cost, bundle asset replacement programmes and minimise lengthy or even avoidable disruption to mainstream client business activity.


The ability of FM to respond and mitigate risk


The high cost of disruption is very topical right now and the ability of FM to respond and mitigate this risk will be paramount. All of this determines what we are doing and when, and leaves us to look at how we deliver our service.

The springboard to your new clean data is your clients’ confidence in you. It is highly likely that our clients’ initial request is to create a value for money, fit for purpose COVID compliant workplace environment. With defined walkways, route finders, red and green high-density occupancy profiles, IT infrastructure and desk allocation models. These are the visible changes, but they also want to know about the invisible changes: air quality sensors, water treatment and, now more than ever, energy management.

The lightbulb moment for a lot of this was already underway pre-lockdown. For instance, the correlation between Indoor Air Quality and resource productivity has now been very well documented. The possibility that some HVAC systems could now also promote the spread of the virus gives us just one more issue to build into our delivery response. Water and energy management systems,  cleaning regimes, tighter hygiene regimes in workplace catering, security patrols controlling social distancing, reception security providing employee thermography checks. The list goes on.

These as a minimum are what the client demands, but what does the client actually need? Those who work on the shop floor of the buildings we manage have built up a rapport and turned touchpoints to interactions, and now we have to turn those interactions back into sterile touchpoints.


"Use your time to turn this pandemic to a “plandemic” and prove to the clients and your shareholders you are ready for anything."


Post-COVID output results


Our focus must divert away from traditional point scoring on rafts of pointless SLAs and now focus on what we might call Post-COVID output results or KRAs (Key Result Areas). We will keep you safe, secure, clean, and warm and protect you as much as we can from all COVID strains.

For FM to succeed and the customer to find confidence in our ability we will morph (hopefully) away from this to more people-focussed KPIs.

Use your time to turn this pandemic to a “plandemic” and prove to the clients and your shareholders you are ready for anything.

We hope you have enjoyed reading this series of articles. We have both enjoyed the process and it has really focussed our minds on the next steps to the “Brave New World” of the workplace that awaits FM suppliers and clients alike.

Picture: A photograph of a close up of a computer screen, showing various graphs

Article written by Mike Green and Scott Fortune | Published 28 May 2020


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