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Lockdown Opportunities – Defining And Redefining The FM Supply Model

Lockdown Opportunities – Defining And Redefining The FM Supply Model
05 May 2020 | Updated 13 May 2020

As we start to look towards a post-lockdown environment, a new appreciation of the key role that FM providers play has emerged.  

In the third of this four-part series of opinion pieces, Scott Fortune and Mike Green define their post-lockdown Back to Basics model, with technology playing a central role.

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 two parts of this Lockdown Opportunities series:

Part One – Time To Reflect

Part Two – Tap Into Your Home Grown Knowledge Bank

“Our industry has long needed a reboot to unlock the potential that lies within. Data, control and the analytics we now have at our fingertips will achieve the sort of forward-thinking business our clients are looking to engage with. They have moved on, and so must we.”


Back to Basics –  the new B2B


Current predictions point towards an immediate world recession post-pandemic, and we all know what that means: client budget cuts and doing the same job for a lot less money.

This article will examine the possibility of planning for tomorrow’s future, today. We can review some of the tools we can use to make B2B work for us immediately and set new foundations for future growth.

The future FM landscape is likely to appear very different. The impending recession will mean clients contract their FM spend to a “Compliance Only” model. Or they might remove the costly Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) regime to a Predictive Maintenance  Model (PMM) – you can read more about this in our first article

Ironically, the COVID-19 lockdown gives us the perfect opportunity to pare back our delivery models to a most basic form. This is the foundation of any business, from Coca-Cola to your local corner shop.

If you get the people right, they affect the process. If you get the process right, it delights the customer. If the customer is happy, they affect the finances, creating the ultimate cycle of business continuity.

We defined the people & process structures in our “Knowledge Bank” article and heavily emphasised that resources are available during the current lockdown. We do have the time, knowledge and experience and the opportunity to prepare our businesses and your client’s operations for a very different future now.


Technology-driven delivery


So, what will a Back to Basics model look like? This is largely determined by the customer sectors you serve. Retail, commercial, industrial, health and education all have different drivers and demands. But one thing they have in common is a fit-for-purpose FM delivery service driven by cost and quality.

However, across all the sectors the future of FM delivery is likely to be technology-driven.

The shift from FM being thought of as merely “bogs & boilers” to your business’ third emergency service has been brought forward. Our old delivery model was effectively a closed protocol system.  It would have required investment and huge effort to accept the new open protocols (namely IoT backed largely by AI analytical software).

But who pays? We merely manage, monitor and control the clients’ assets. We do not own them. The client pays us to fix or replace and will not fund the new technology needed to drive innovation. Or to allow FM to become a financial contributor to the business rather than a spending service.

COVID-19 has driven the urgent need for FMs to concentrate on contactless technology:  from sensor-driven soap dispensers, potential self-scanning temperature checks and building virtual receptions. The need for limited human touchpoints has never been more sought after. The days of creating active touchpoints with the client have disappeared in the new world of “less is more”.

"It is well documented that tech-driven industries do not just attract school leavers they attract the best. Which is exactly what we need to secure a solid future."

In addition, much has been written about how we make our industry attractive to those leaving education. Re-modelling our industry around technology will give us a progressive appearance, which is much more appetising to those looking at choosing a career path. It is well documented that tech-driven industries do not just attract school leavers they attract the best. Which is exactly what we need to secure a solid future.

Fortunately, the technology we need is already out there and readily available. Parcel tracking apps, Uber call apps, and simple home Hive systems can be used and modified to map and monitor the client’s journey. All from the car park to the desk without any human touchpoints. Simple wireless monitors are cheaply available and can be fitted by anyone who can type an internet password into the device.

Funding can be joint save/share schemes, or on leasing alternatives. Either way, huge savings can be made, and clients fears of crowding can be alleviated. It’s important to note that for a large office block there are around 1,750 FM functions that need to happen to ensure the buildings open in the morning and close at night. If you map them out, we would imagine most can be managed via an app. 


Data is king


So, the new Back to Basics model will have all the necessary functions, client touchpoints, and low overhead costs to allow any building with a WI-FI signal, a forward-thinking client and an FM provider to keep you safe, secure, clean and warm at the press of a button.

The old analogy of industry has been “Cash is King”.  in future this may well be revised to “Data is King”, as it is fast becoming a revenue stream for many sectors

Our industry has long needed a reboot to unlock the potential that lies within. Data, control and the analytics we now have at our fingertips will achieve the sort of forward-thinking business our clients are looking to engage with. They have moved on, and so must we. 

Picture: Close up of a computer keyboard

Article written by Mike Green and Scott Fortune | Published 05 May 2020


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