Answer this: If you were asked to reduce the operating costs of your facility by a percentage, how would you do it?
For almost every company and organization, facility management comes with the opportunity to have major impact. It takes the ability to identify and seize opportunities in order to benefit the company’s bottom line. And excellent facility management involves creating opportunities and acting upon them.
When thinking about making an impact, a natural inclination is to focus directly on dollar signs. But driving down simple costs is only one piece of a complex puzzle. Indeed, in IFMA’s 2014 Trends Report, Maureen Ehrenberg, global director for facility management at CRBE, a global real estate and consulting firm, notes: “As an industry and depending on the scenario, there are opportunities to have a productive conversation within [many] areas, but often it digresses into basically a cost-reduction exercise.”
Making a true difference involves adding value, optimizing the day to day of your facility for productivity and efficiency, and bringing new ideas to the table. It also involves thinking holistically across all functionality of your environment.
Where should one begin looking for these opportunities? Here are five ideas to get you thinking:
- Long-term Solutions. Making a more efficient facility means taking both big and small actions. But the one question you should ask about any fix is this: Are your purchases and solutions forward looking? Strategic facility management involves planning for tomorrow as well as today. Simply put, every decision you make has lasting effects, and each should be viewed as an investment in the future of your company.
- The Optimized Workspace. Your facility is complex, involving countless intricacies that all affect the work that can occur within your space. Are all areas optimized for workers to be their most productive? Are you applying the same strategies to each space, or do you have individualized plans to best suit those areas’ unique needs? These options range from simple ergonomics (think cushioned mats for where line workers may remain stationary on their feet for hours at a time) to major facility infrastructure improvements.
- Sustainability. Energy efficiency in facilities can be viewed as a burden—but this shouldn’t be the case. Improving the energy efficiency of your facility can lead to a variety of recouped costs, from major savings on energy bills to potential federal energy rebates and incentives. What opportunities exist that you can make the most of?
- Get Smart. Intelligent controls are becoming ubiquitous, and the average facility is ripe with opportunity to implement these advanced solutions. From simple lighting controls to complete integration of all operational systems, it is worth investigating the possibilities at your facility.
- Harness Data. It’s probably something you’ve heard in both your professional and personal life, and there’s no escaping it—big data is all around us. And part of optimizing your facility for productivity and efficiency is about harnessing that data. Modern industry is undergoing great transformation, and that’s in no small part due to the availability and prevalence of data and the Internet of Things.
You might be investigating some of these avenues already; you might be thinking about implementing one or several of them within the next few months. Major infrastructure investment can certainly prove cost prohibitive, but that shouldn’t stop you from keeping these ideas in mind as you look for solutions in your day to day.
The Insider's Guide to Reaching New Heights in Building Efficiency