What Is Facilities Management?

Get an overview and explore key trends

What Is Facilities Management?

Facilities management is the process of ensuring that an organization’s environment is functional, safe, efficient, and secure. It crosses many departments and, according to the ISO’s official definition, integrates people, places, processes, and technology with the aim to improve users’ experience and productivity.

Building management and facilities management deal with all aspects of an organization’s physical space—and because facilities management intersects such a broad range of disciplines, the team usually operates one of the largest budgets in their organization. They’re in charge of ensuring that the buildings and environment are as efficient and safe as possible. This is especially important, as studies have shown that the more employees feel secure and happy in their workplace, the more productive and engaged they’ll be.

What’s Involved in Effective Facilities Management?

Building and facilities managers need to coordinate closely with many other groups, including the space planning, real estate, and finance departments. Plus, the requirements and responsibilities assigned to the facilities management team are only becoming more complex. For example, facilities managers need to be able to establish clear processes between teams, and they need to be effective at project planning and data analytics.

In fact, according to the International Facility Management Association, there are 11 core competencies necessary for successful facilities management. These include occupancy and human factors, operations and maintenance, sustainability, facility information and technology management, risk management, communication, performance and quality, leadership and strategy, real estate, and project management.

Each of these skills helps the facilities management team make holistic, informed decisions about the long-term strategy for their organization’s construction and renovation projects.

We can further break down facilities management into two categories: hard services and soft services.

Hard Services

Hard services are related to a building’s physical infrastructure. They’re the items that ensure occupant health and safety—and they are often required by law due to hygiene and safety concerns. Hard services include infrastructure that is considered essential and can’t be interrupted. These consist of:

  • Electrical systems and lighting
  • Elevators and cargo lifts
  • Fire safety equipment
  • Plumbing and drainage
  • HVAC and air filtration systems
  • Energy systems
Soft Services

Soft services are focused on keeping the buildings secure and comfortable. Although they’re not essential to the infrastructure of a building, they’re extremely important in creating a pleasant, efficient, and welcoming environment. Soft services include:

  • Furniture
  • Grounds management
  • Waste and recycling systems
  • Document and asset management
  • Pest control
  • Housekeeping

As these two lists illustrate, building and facilities management is a vital function that crosses a wide range of responsibilities. Depending on how large the organization is, there could be multiple teams and vendors involved in keeping the buildings and facilities running smoothly.

So, how do facilities managers keep track of it all? Traditionally, they’ve used pen and paper, spreadsheets, or other manual methods. But as facilities and building management becomes more complex, an increasing number of organizations are using facilities management software solutions to streamline and manage these systems and processes to increase effectiveness.

Explore the top trends in facilities management

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Digital Transformation and Other Trends in Facilities Management

One Verdantix study notes that the facilities sector is beginning a new phase of digitization. It found that optimizing the use of technician labor and taking paper-based processes online are the next two waves in innovating facilities management. This is largely believed to be in direct correlation with increasing demands of sustainable business operations and the popularity of hybrid and remote workforces.

How Chevron Transformed Their Global Facilities Maintenance

See how Chevron transformed their facility and equipment vendor management program.

There are several trends supporting this digital transformation, including integrated facilities management, digital asset management, preventive maintenance and corrective maintenance software, FCA software, mobile applications, and new dashboard and reporting capabilities.

Integrated Facilities Management

Integrated facilities management brings the management of all processes related to maintenance and facilities (including work order management and vendor resource management) under one department and team. This consolidation eliminates silos and helps the facilities team keep better track of all its priorities. Instead of using separate point systems across multiple departments, integrated facilities management consolidates all tools and processes into one platform, streamlining workflows and reducing technical debt.

Digital Asset Management and CMMS Solutions

Using a single asset management platform to track all assets gives facilities teams a comprehensive view into the lifecycle of their equipment; from purchase, to maintenance, sunsetting, disposal, and beyond.

These systems allow a much more holistic picture of their assets and can refine their asset management strategies accordingly.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Modernizes Facilities Asset Management

See how Vertex used Nuvolo for its facilities asset management processes.

Preventive Maintenance and Corrective Maintenance Software

Preventive maintenance is the process of maintaining your assets and equipment proactively, stopping problems before they occur. Corrective maintenance is when a technician fixes a piece of equipment after it breaks.

Software solutions can help you streamline your workflows for both.

One of the main ways you can help establish an effective preventive and corrective maintenance program is by making sure you have an accurate inventory of all your equipment in one platform (such as a CMMS platform). This enables you to track work history, manufacturer recommendations, and establish a plan for the high-priority equipment first.

With a software solution in place, you can also set up alerts or triggers based on pre-determined criteria, and you can automatically assign tickets to the right teams at the right time. This means you don’t have to manually schedule or manage maintenance; instead, you can automate these workflows and adjust as necessary.

Learn more about the importance of preventive maintenance.

Facility Condition Assessment Software Solutions

Additionally, facilities management software solutions make it much easier to perform facilities condition assessments, so teams have a clearer view into how their buildings are performing as a whole—not just how specific assets are performing.

Teams can:

  • Manage aging assets
  • Analyze and update corrective maintenance schedules to improve asset longevity
  • Monitor preventive maintenance to prevent issues from occurring
Mobile Apps and Work Order Management Software

Many asset management solutions also include work order management capabilities and enable smart dispatching by creating rules that automate work orders. For example, work orders can be auto-routed based on details such as location, certifications, and vendor preference. Plus, it is easier to assign technicians checklists when inspecting assets—such as during safety equipment evaluations.

However, if technicians can’t input equipment information from a mobile device, it means they must manually enter it at a workstation later (increasing the possibility of errors or rework). This makes mobile-friendly platforms critical to increasing efficiency. Technicians can update work orders in real-time, and they can view assets on a map, order parts, and input data all from their mobile devices.

Often, these mobile-friendly facility asset management solutions enable vendors and contractors to work directly in the same systems as in-house teams. This means that facilities managers have a better picture of the performance of all their vendors alongside other key business data.

Mobile Rounds Manager

Learn how Nuvolo Rounds Manager can streamline your maintenance tasks.

Data Management and Reporting

Better asset management solutions lead to better data, so facilities managers can more easily make strategic, analytics-driven decisions about their buildings.

When everything is in one place, teams can create dashboards to visualize data and identify trends—including whether work orders are being completed on time, how suppliers are performing, which facilities and equipment are being used, and much more.

This data can help transform facilities operations into an increasingly forward-thinking business unit.

Reporting and Analytics

Explore how the reporting and analytics capabilities in Nuvolo give you the power to see all your data at a glance.

Facilities Management, Connected Workplace, and OT Security

Nuvolo Connected Workplace can support your facilities team’s digital transformation in all the ways mentioned above—but it also goes beyond by offering OT (operational technology) security capabilities.

OT security is a new and critically important area for facilities teams. With the increase in network-connected devices like HVAC systems, sensors, and cameras, this equipment is being increasingly targeted by hackers. OT devices can be used as attack vectors into an organization’s network. Connected Workplace can help monitor, remediate, and resolve these issues.

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