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Leveraging SMART KPIs to Improve Your Business Performance through People

For a company, growth and improvement could have multiple subtexts- increase in revenue, better sales, company growth, etc. All these factors come under the umbrella of overall development of an enterprise. 

Thus, with multiple parameters involved, it can become a tricky prospect for employees to be in cognizance of the business improvement strategy of their company if their own tasks and goals are not aligned with the same. This is where Key Performance Indicators (KPI) come into play. Within this context, a KPI could be considered as a quantifiable measure of performance for a particular objective over an agreed period.

KPIs can be simple or elaborate, based on an organization’s vision and business objectives for its progression and the inclusion of its people, processes, and programs. These could be thought of as Critical Success Factors (CSFs) or the aspects that the organization must excel at to meet its targets and objectives. In turn CSFs need to be measured ensuring that progression and improvement remains on track and CSFs should be represented as useable metrics. These are known as KPIs. To ensure the effectiveness of KPIs for Performance Measurement and Performance Monitoring, they should be developed as SMART KPIs.

They are termed SMART KPIs is because they should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Attainable. The performance measurement with these indicators is periodically assessed, discussed, and modified for betterment to push the organization towards its goals.

So, how can employees as well as organization benefit from SMART KPIs? Well, we have mentioned in the title that they improve business performance, but that does not give you the full picture, right? Let us take a closer look.

Performance Tracking Through KPIs – The Crucial First Step

Imagine going on a road trip without any signs on the road – you would be lost. KPIs are like the road signs they indicate and enable you to track your performance to assess whether you are moving in the right direction. So, for example, your goal for the quarter is enhanced customer satisfaction, a KPI in that domain will give you quantifiable measure in terms of customer satisfaction index/score. This way, the employees as well as the organization can be on the same page with complete visibility. This can translate into better performance management.

Bridging the Learning Gap – Skill Assessment

If a certain KPI is not being met over a period, it can be an indicator that the team requires further skills enhancement. This can be then achieved by providing relevant training to the right employees. Similarly, employees can identify learning gaps in their profile by assessing the KPIs and approach the learning department to get required trainings. This way, a KPI model is created wherein a KPI is grouped with related event/ activity and a process flow is created to add crucial information pertaining the requirements.

Leveraging SMART KPIs to Improve Your Business Performance through People 2

Better Decision Making – Visual Roadmap for Planning

In this digital era, you can obtain and create curated dashboards and KPI scorecards to help you get all the performance related metrics right in front of your eyes. When the stats are available for everyone to see, people management and self-management gets more effective. Such transparency also enables executives in chalking down factors that are contributing to the growth of the company and the ones that are not. Such data forms the base of making sound decisions. By generating actionable insights from the KPIs, a fortified plan can be made for each department, every team and all the employees to work collectively towards business improvement.

Informed Employees- Generating Feeling of Empowerment

The workplace today (especially in these post-pandemic times) is as dynamic as it can get. A top-down approach is not only conservative, but it also leaves employees feeling left out. SMART KPIs address this issue by making employees aware of their individual progress and its relation to the overall organizational performance. Thus, with any KPI, an employee is gaining crucial knowledge about company goals. This makes them feel empowered and they can proactively participate in achieving the organizational goals.

Leveraging SMART KPIs to Improve Your Business Performance through People 3

Better Team Management – A Tool for the Managers

Often team leaders and managers struggle to help their team members achieve their goals because they lack proper measurement of performance. With KPIs, your team’s performance for a particular period (quarter, half year, annual) is right in front of you and you can deduce the areas of improvement and required for further improvement. Thus, managers can make better calls for their team in terms of individual growth and skill upgradation. By continuously recording KPIs, at the end of the year, managers can get a bird’s eye view of their team’s strengths and weaknesses and they can create upcoming year’s plan accordingly

Conclusion

In summation, no matter what the size of your organization is and what goals you are targeting, setting SMART KPIs will ensure that you are on the path of performance improvement. Maintaining KPIs may take some practice and yes, consistent discipline, but the payoffs are worth the efforts. Once you start tracking the progress and respond to the areas of improvement in a proactive manner, the SMART KPIs will begin to become a permanent tool for your organizational improvement through an effective Performance Measurement process enabling optimised Performance Management

Evbex (https://evbex.com) provides consultancy and training support services on all aspects of Performance Measurement, KPIs and Performance Management. https://TheKPIPortal.com  provides a unique online platform for your Scorecard and journey towards your goals and objectives.

Technology

Cost savings and efficiency gains from facilities management – Software considerations (Part 1 of 3)

In this series of articles, we will be reviewing the significance and changes that technology disruption offers the Facilities Management (FM) industry. We will begin with software solutions for effective tracking of portfolios and assets, further advancing to “BIM” – an interactive 3-D model-based process that gives insight and tools to efficiently plan, design, construct and manage buildings and in part 3, we will review a new type of software developed for managing FM requirements within an organisation, epitomized by ” FM Navigate”, a new breed of Enterprise Resource Planning software that serves as a client-based system that considers facility management holistically as a value-based support service to the organisation.

The facility management sector has emerged from a resource-based task orientated service to a fundamental support service that empowers the businesses. This involves keeping up with the demands of increasingly diverse portfolios, advancements in multiple sites, optimising the occupancy of space by larger – scattered teams in the workplace along with other diverse administrative functions. The roles, responsibilities and engagement of the facility management industry has become more complex and vital.

Businesses expect a greater return on the investment from their assets where efficiencies and optimisations need to be demonstrated. The traditional aspects of the buildings and infrastructure also need to be effectively managed through concurrent inspections, maintenance and repairs. Now, along with taking care of the ‘core’ activities that are driven by strategic tasks adding value to the customer-supplier relationships, ‘softer elements’ or ‘non-core activities’ like space allocation, asset monitoring, booking schedules etc. should also be covered.

So, as the prerequisites and sub-processes  are becoming  intertwined for the successful continuation of business and commerce, the roles of facility managers become more complex and eminent. Now, the focus has to be repurposed from taking care of day-to-day inspection, maintenance and repair tasks so that the focus is on the bigger picture, providing the clients with leading-edge solutions that helps them to proliferate in the growing market.

Cost savings and efficiency gains from facilities management – Software considerations (Part 1 of 3) 2

This clearly demonstrated how much benefit is gained from a tool that collects and analyses data.

Implementing a technology tool is one of the fastest ways to reduce facility management spending. Simply moving from an error-prone, inefficient pen-and-paper system to a digitized and automated platform decreases the time and resources that must be dedicated to working order management, allowing teams to instead focus on forward-thinking and preventive measures. Plus, access to advanced analytics makes it easy to pinpoint patterns of overspend and core areas of improvement so that these can be quickly addressed and reversed. 

Preventive maintenance can create cost savings and efficiencies by reducing the number of breakdowns and emergency repairs that business experiences each year, while also preventing warranty leakage and unnecessary equipment replacements. With an automated preventive maintenance schedule in place, assets will last longer, and overall maintenance spending can be accurately controlled. 

Having discussed FMS and its sophisticated yet robust features, let’s consider what the industry offers from a traditional manual approach to a technology driven opportunity to capture, administer and report on relevant data in a digital format.

Computer-Aided Facilities Management (CAFM)

CAFM systems offer features that simplify tasks, optimise workflows, eases building management tasks and ensure that the building and user-information are available as a single-source-of-truth. 

Referencing to the definition of facility management, contributing to the efficient interaction of people, processes and places from an optimisation perspective.  This type of technology solution combines business administration, behavioural science, architecture and engineering concepts to optimise the functioning of the organisation. It is a comprehensive commercial facility with many different facets and functions that focuses on the simplification of maintenance and repair processes.

The utilization of Real-time data to promote comprehensive maintenance

The real-time data is utilised to promote comprehensive maintenance. Real-time data collection can help facility managers to engage in preventive maintenance and proactively address any sudden fault detection in the system. Work orders can be effectively monitored and required regulatory strategies can be employed. The routine operational maintenance will be monitored, reported and communicated via digital means. Continuous data collection will facilitate prompt fault resolution without much workforce concentration at a particular task.

All of this effectively contributes to effective asset management, as the allocation of the resources at the required site will have a smarter and intelligent approach.

Physical building administration

One of the most impressive features of CAFM systems is the feature for handling the actual infrastructure inside a facility.

The utilization of CAD (Computer-aided design) elements and visuals allows us to create interactive building designs that help to previsualize the setup. It helps in effective space management inside the building and optimized resource allocation beforehand. This is eminently useful for real-estate organisations as they can present the interactive plans to customers and allow potential buyers to walk through the home that is not even built yet.

Administrative Support

CAFM isn’t entirely focused on physical facilities and assets. Such technology platforms offer a range of administrative support capabilities that can also help streamline resources.

CAFM even be used to manage human resources services and can act as a resource-allocation check system to ensure that people required in the facility are present. In addition to functioning as a human resource allocation check system, when deployed at the essential locations, this can be a bonus of increased security for the organisation without additional costs.

Since CAFM platforms cover not only the building but everything in it, administrators can use it as a roadmap for all kinds of asset management, predictive planning and meeting long-term needs, for example, planning for capital improvements. This helps to effectively cut down costs without compromising the quality and makes the facility operations happen more efficiently.

Concept Evolution – A CAFM based Facility Management Software solution

Concept Evolution from FSI (FM Solutions) is a cloud-based facilities management solution. The core functionality includes maintenance management, asset management, capital program management, lease administration and portfolio management. The solution is designed to cater to the needs of a single user as well as large multinational companies.

How facility management was transformed by CAFM?

Before CAFM, Facility Management as a profession and industry was underdeveloped in terms of its use in generating cost savings and cost reduction initiatives CAFM was the first platform to empower decision-makers to tap into the savings potential of their facilities using data. The integration with AutoCAD was key to enabling this, using imagery to make data management a user-friendly experience.

No doubt, CAFM was the first software focusing exclusively on handling facility management requests but significant and innovative improvements are lacking. Despite improvements, ‘legacy CAFMs which have developed significantly over the last 20 years can now appear to be inflexible and limited for use in the post-COVID era.

New generations of FM data driven technology solutions have been introduced, backed by 3-D modelling, cloud storage and agile features to help you steal the march on your competitors in the FM space.

Advancements in Software deployment

Software deployment has a significant impact on the organisation implementing it, if not necessarily on the eventual end-user.

On-premise software is hosted by hardware on your premises. This hardware usually requires an extensive IT team to maintain and troubleshoot, as well as the physical space to store it. On-premise also offers more options for customization, as you have almost complete control over the program. Essential staff should be extensively handling and monitoring the system regularly. Proactive fault detections and preventive strategies are absent in this case.

Cloud-based deployment is typically agile and can be a lower cost solution than on-premise, as the associated costs will  invariably be cheaper than legacy on-premise systems. Customisation of a web-based system can however become costly as the value is derived from the standard product. Web-based solutions are also agile and accessible from any user portal with an internet connection, making it a lightweight and practical solution for many companies. Because the onus of data security falls on the vendor for this deployment method, most offer some of the most comprehensive security options on the market for their customers’ data. This is more accepted and user-friendly due to the absence of all hefty specially-dedicated physical systems – You just need a good internet connection and a machine to work on – anytime, anywhere.

Hybrid is, as the name suggests, a combination of the two formats. This can take many different forms and is unique to different industries. It usually includes the ability to switch from on-premise to cloud-based as the users’ needs change.

Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) – The advanced CAFM

CAFM and IWMS solutions are essentially the same but positioned at different stages in the evolution of facilities management, with IWMS being the more advanced technology that is more current than CAFM in the workplace today. IWMS can be thought of as enhanced CAFM.

IWMS is a software that is institution-specific e.g. hospitals, universities, businesses and governments all need different things from their facilities and an IWMS platform enables each to create strategies unique to their own needs. If you are managing an agile environment and need data spanning multiple locations or an entire real estate portfolio, IWMS is the way to go. This is a platform that optimizes facilities in accordance with their greater purpose whether it is related to security, compliance, productivity, wellness, sustainability or all of them.

Along with the incorporation of CAD drawings in a facilities management database, as in CAFM software, IWMS take matters a step further by integrating with increased levels of data, systems, technologies, and a deeper workflow framework that makes IWMS a more useful communication platform for all stakeholders.

Difference between CAFM and IWMS

Whereas CAFM focused more on an actionable approach – optimizing maintenance, operations, and space planning, IWMS software offers expanded deployable resources – simply reducing costs to also enhancing productivity by optimizing facilities around the missions that they support. IWMS solutions accomplish this in three primary ways.

Deeper integration

Integration with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, IoT sensors and other systems means deeper and more detailed data on everything. Integration with more advanced technologies like 3D BIM and GIS means a more sophisticated visual interface. Organisations can link automated systems to real-time data, providing previously impossible benefits.

Top-Down Planning

IWMS tools funnel all data into performance metrics in the form of performance dashboards, so that managers can easily generate reports, track trends, investigate workflow, measure results of initiatives, and simulate different scenarios.

Agile Workflow

An agile workflow framework allows organisations to define user roles for every level of their organisation, controlling security access while connecting even contractors in the field with mobile apps and cloud systems.

Research from Research & Markets states that the deployment of an IWMS solution leads to a reduction in facility maintenance costs of 14%, an improvement in workspace management by up to 40% and an increase in facility usage efficiency of 42% (Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) Marketplace: IWMS Platforms, Software, and Solutions Market Outlook and Forecasts 2018 – 2023, 2018).

Planon – A IWMS based Facility Management Software solution

Planon is a global software provider that helps to building owners and occupiers, commercial service providers, and financial controllers to streamline business processes for buildings, people and workplaces. Planon is an integrated (IWMS) software that helps national and multinational real estate owners and occupiers to optimise workplace performance by simplifying business processes and reducing costs during every phase of the real estate lifecycle. IWMS system specifically helps service providers to create operating efficiency, increase customer value, and enables business innovation through radical process automation, seamless system integration and analytics.

The Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) System

The difference between CMMS and other software solutions can be easily understood based on needs. “It is software that centralises maintenance information and facilitates the processes of maintenance operations and are unique to industries where physical infrastructure is critical. It helps optimize the utilization and availability of physical equipment like vehicles, machinery, communications, plant infrastructures and other assets.” – IBM

It is a component of CAFM that is entirely focused on handling the facility needs of a facility and who manages them. This solution is quite specific to the needs – when only maintenance outputs are important, CMMS is the way to go. The core of CMMS is the database. It has a data model that keeps the availability of assets and maintenance organisation in sync. It holds and organises the information about the assets and the maintenance organisation is responsible for maintaining the equipment, materials and other resources to do so.

Making the correct choice – IWMS vs CMMS

The singular focus of CMMS is on managing maintenance. When, other aspects of facilities management are less relevant, choosing CMMS makes it a good investment for an organisation. IWMS will however roll in the maintenance requests alongside other aspects of facilities management. It allows facilities managers to more efficiently oversee maintenance and can also shed light on common problems and the associated costs to fix them.

For example, if your role as facility manager involves fielding employee support tickets and passing them on to maintenance and other departments, IWMS is a good option. But, if support tickets are submitted directly to maintenance or an office manager, a CMMS would suffice.

IBM Maximo – A CMMS based Facility Management Software solution

IBM’s Maximo is an enterprise asset management software that has comprehensive CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System) capabilities. The maintenance app is best suited to manage complex maintenance management requirements within asset-intensive industries. Its top users are from the utilities, Oil and gas, nuclear Power, Transportation, Aviation and Life Sciences industries. It handles everything from line maintenance to complex assembly maintenance.

Use case demands dictate software support

CAFM offers numerous benefits for forward-thinking organisations utilising them. The efficiencies enabled by these programs is invaluable and is vital to progress in the competitive market. Identifying needs and pairing them with the right software will position you accordingly to make a smart investment. Few companies deploy multiple software strategies for optimization whereas some intelligently exploit one and get ahead of the curve.

You can also consider the type of system that may be nest for your organisation within a Plan-Do-Check-Act decision process to ensure alignment with the support required for the core business.

The planning stages are critical as many organisations end up paying for a higher percentage of system functionality than is sometimes necessary and what is actually used.

Either way, in 2021 and more so in the post-COVID era, the technology solutions referenced in this paper will be invaluable in shaping your current and future facility management requirements in the most cost effective and optimised way possible.

References

evbexasia

Emerging from the pandemic and meeting sustainability objectives – Facilities Management at a crossroads, chasing shadows or a bright new future?

Facilities management (FM) is often seen as the poor relation within many organisations, a commodity where costs continuously need to be scrutinized and cut accordingly. As organisations start coming out of the worst pandemic for over a hundred years and seek to secure financial stability through reducing their property needs and portfolio size, does this spell more danger for the FM industry or is it an opportunity to spearhead organisational sustainability objectives?
As the world eventually emerges from lockdown, FM will inevitably need to change to a more ‘on demand’ based service to suit the changes enforced on organisations due to the pandemic and new approaches and strategies towards business planning and operations. This presents an ideal opportunity for organisations to re-consider their wider property needs and requirements, holistically across the entity and in doing so, embrace sustainability in the race towards the United Nations ‘Sustainability Development Goals 2030’ and ‘Net-zero 2050’ Target.

The questions I will attempt to answer here are:

  1. What is the considered view of FM as organisations recover from the pandemic?
  2. What are the key objectives and goals for organisations in moving forward?
  3. How can FM help drive the sustainability goals & objectives?

Although FM is an absolute necessity in each organisation, it is usually perceived as a commodity where the costs continuously need to be reviewed and cut as it does not appear to contribute towards meeting organisational objectives and goals.

It is often considered as a ‘means to an end, a ‘necessary evil’ where organisations need to ensure that their buildings meet regulatory compliance and are fit for purpose. It also seeks to ensure that organisational employees are optimised to contribute towards organisational profitability.

The official definition of Facilities Management, in the International Standards Organisation (ISO) 41001:2017 is ‘an organizational function which integrates people, place and process within the built environment with the purpose of improving the quality of life of people and the productivity of the core business.’

This definition would lead us to believe that, arguably, FM should be considered across all levels of organisational architecture i.e. strategic, tactical and operational, whereas it is mainly considered as an operational function by many organisations.
Indeed, based on research undertaken by Evbex, as up to 35% of an organisation’s costs are attributable to the fixed and varying factors that constitute FM, one could argue that it really deserves more prominence within organisational hierarchy and value.

Indeed, ever since my FM career started in 1990, FM has always been under pressure to reduce and cut costs. With organisations starting to re-emerge following the worst pandemic for over 100 years, will FM be better off or worse off?

1. What is the considered view of FM as organisations recover from the pandemic?

Emerging from the impacts and effects of COVID-19 the FM industry and profession is arguably at a crossroads.
Globally, organisations will wish to reduce the size of their property portfolio to remain competitive and even survive. The pandemic showed us that employees can work effectively from home and the latest thinking suggests that we will not need as much property to support our businesses and that a blended hybrid of employer property-based and home working hybrid will result in less demand for the traditional work from the office or workplace location. This is already happening in retail where online shopping and global lockdown has forced retail organisations even more towards online shopping. The same will be true, to varying degrees, for offices, manufacturing and public buildings. Trust in their workforce to work from home was forced upon organisations during the pandemic and it largely worked so why wouldn’t businesses organise their future resource structures around this premise and further reduce property costs?

This will undoubtedly mean further cost reduction targets for the FM sector.

2. What are the key objectives and goals for organisations in moving forward?

In recent times and before the pandemic, sustainability has become a high priority on organisational agendas. As organisations have largely adopted the UN’s ‘Sustainability Development Goals’ and in doing so, created their own ‘Net-zero’ goals and objectives.

To achieve these goals, organisations are signing-up to or adopting various sustainability-based Standards or Good Practice guides in their quest to becoming carbon-neutral, conserve water, and support a clean environment.

Sustainability in this context can be defined as the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources to maintain an ecological balance.

Whilst organisations do not generally include much on FM in their corporate agendas and published goals and targets, meeting sustainability targets and the annual reporting of progress against these targets certainly features on most companies’ websites and social media channels. Indeed, organisations with properties certified by any of these green organisations will gain positive recognition and economic gains from such certifications.

Three broad principles of sustainability can be considered as being made up of 3 pillars – the economy, society and the environment or as a triple bottom line of financial, environmental and social. These principles are also sometimes referred to as profit, people and planet.

Within the context of FM, there is a strong correlation with two of the three pillars, people and plant and of course there is an indirect link with profit.

How are organisations interpreting sustainability and how can they develop strategies that align with and deliver the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals in meeting their ‘2030 – Sustainable Development Goals’ and ‘Net-zero 2050’ objectives with least 50% reduction in emissions by 2030, which is only 9 years away?

In order to answer this question effectively, we can consider sustainability and its relationship with FM from the following perspectives:

  • Sustainable Buildings – Energy and Environmental considerations
  • Sustainable Teams – People Performance and Wellbeing considerations
  • Sustainable Communities – Supply Chain; Organisational Responsibility & Accountability considerations
Sustainable Buildings – Energy & EnvironmentalConsiders impacts of the built environment. Advocates sustainable energy sources. Steps are taken to incorporate energy efficient practices, including the use of renewable energy in the design and use of buildings.
Sustainable Teams – People Performance & WellbeingIn this context, employees are considered in terms of their performance and outputs against the buildings they occupy. People are our most important assets and it is therefore imperative that their wellbeing is prioritised accordingly.
Sustainable Communities – Supply Chain; Organisational Responsibility & Accountability considerationsSocial responsibility is also a means of achieving sustainability goals. When an organisation adopts key responsible principles such as accountability and transparency, it can demonstrate that it ensures the long-term sustainability and success of an organisation or system.
Emerging from the pandemic and meeting sustainability objectives 2

Many certifiable Standards and Good Practice Guides now exist to guide organisations towards their sustainability goals and the take up of such standards has risen significantly in recent times. Listed below are some of the main Standards available today:

Sustainability Standards

Sustainable Buildings – Energy & EnvironmentalBREEAM is the world’s leading sustainability assessment method for master planning projects, infrastructure and buildings.
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the most widely used green building rating system in the worldISO 50001:2018 is the newly revised international standard for Energy Management providing the most robust framework for optimising energy efficiency in public and private sector organisations
Sustainable Buildings – People Performance & WellbeingThe WELL Building Standard is a vehicle for buildings and organisations to deliver more thoughtful and intentional spaces that enhance human health and well-being.
Sustainable Society – Supply Chain; Organisational Responsibility & AccountabilitySA8000 is an auditable certification standard that encourages organisations to develop, maintain, and apply socially acceptable practices in the workplace.ISO 26000 is intended to assist organisations in contributing to sustainable development.

As organisations strive to become certified and adopt the above standards to meet their sustainability goals, they will embark on a fragmented, stop-start journey.

Why is the sustainability journey fragmented?

Certification to the relevant Standards will inevitably be a resource and business process re-engineering obligation by an organisation which will be backed by senior management commitment. Establishing eventual certification to the required standard will certainly not be a simple task or a ‘one-off ‘event. Organisations will need to demonstrate ongoing and continued adherence to the requirements of sustainability standards as this will need to be demonstrated periodically through periodic maintenance or surveillance audits.

As already identified, there are also different standards and certification routes to match each of eth three perspectives of sustainability. Furthermore, there are also competing standards organisations and institutions that want your business. This has to be considered against other organisational objectives from an economic perspective.

Unlike FM, where there are defined service lines and roles, there are no sustainability-based natural resources, beyond management activity, which can deliver sustainability related tasks in a collective and cohesive manner. This can cause difficulties in maintaining continuity of sustainability certification in between audits, particularly where there is a disconnect between FM and sustainability.

It is commendable that so many organisations now demonstrate such commitment to sustainability through their corporate values and goals but it will take on-going effort and input to maintain accreditation along the journey towards ‘Net-zero’. As stated, this is generally underestimated in terms of allocated resources on a day-to-day basis within an organisation’s normal operations.

On a positive note, recent developments and convergence in methods and objectives on the green Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) is starting to make in-roads in recognising the need for a common approach for certification through targeting similar approaches.

3. How can FM help drive the sustainability objective and agenda?

The FM function within an organisation is usually consistent and always there to ensure that new practices and tasks can be developed, applied, monitored, measured and improved.

As a rule, we do not employ operatives to specifically to deliver sustainability agendas. How else can this therefore be achieved in an effective and cost-efficient way. Step in FM!

The range of sustainability-based procedures and tasks required to maintain the relevant certifications and sustainability based working practices to achieve the organisations goals can and should be delivered by FM resources. Traditionally, this is often not the case but this is a monumental opportunity for FM to step out of the low-cost commodity shadows and show that it can deliver real additional value through ensuring that sustainability goals will be met.

FM services typically cover the vast majority of needs to maintain accreditation to the relevant Standards and in doing so, support organisational objectives in this regard.

Indeed, there is a strong argument that our mature FM resources and teams that are ever present within our workplaces could and should deliver the vast majority of the sustainability related operational tasks at zero or negligible additional cost through modifying the FM specifications. As the FM industry will undoubtedly be driven towards an ‘on-demand’ service post-pandemic, this is the ideal time to do it.

FM ServiceSustainability AspectSustainability Task
Facility Management (Management of the FM Services & Customer Interface)Housekeeping/Indoor Air Quality·         In-house APPA Audit·         In-house IBEAM Audit
Hard Services (Mechanical, Electrical & Building Fabric Maintenance Services)Energy/Water/Indoor Air Quality/ Condensation and Mould / Thermal Comfort·         Track energy & water meters’ readings/ energy and water balance diagrams·         Track air particulates and VOCs·         Check temperature and RH·         Water quality checks·         Track carbon emissions and reduction
Cleaning & Janitorial ServicesCleaning Chemical Management/ Drinking water·         Chemical selection/ method of usage·         Track impact on indoor air quality·         Drinking water tests
Waste ManagementWaste Management & Optimization/ Hazardous Waste Disposal·         Waste generation/ diversion/recycling·         Electronic waste disposal check·         Hazardous waste disposal check
Grounds Maintenance/ Planting/FlowersWater/Chemical Management/Species Selection·         Landscape water consumption·         Pesticides usage
Front of House (Reception) ServicesAlternative Transportation/Carbon Emissions·         Track and reduce carbon emissions through transportation·         Encourage different programs for sustainable operations
Catering ServicesNutrition/Calorie Education·         Planning & labelling nutrition with calories details·         Promoting the healthy foods through visual aids

Table 1 – Examples of combining sustainability tasks within facilities management service lines

There is no doubt that FM needs to change, top become more of an ‘on-demand’ type service so as part of this change, we should also look at ways of integrating the sustainability requirements.

All these services play a key role in informing the sustainability agenda and in ensuring that the sustainability journey is a smooth one
Through revised FM models and structures and the re-designing FM specifications, contracts, measurement frameworks etc. FM can rise from the shadows to finally project itself as a critical resource and service that demonstrates value against 30% upwards of an organisations costs but also providing additional value in assisting organisations to meet their ‘Net-zero’ targets.

If the FM profession and industry can create the clear links and association between sustainability and FM then it promises to be an exciting time for the FM sector. Yes, it will need to re-invent itself again as a combined ‘Sustainability & FM’ function with potentially far more credibility and relevance than it has ever had before.

Much in the same way that FM was historically expected to pick-up compliance, health and safety and environmental responsibilities, a greater opportunity now exists for the industry – to lead the sustainability charge!

As the world eventually emerges from lockdown, FM will inevitably need to change to a more ‘on demand’ based service to suit the changes enforced on organisations due to the pandemic and new approaches and strategies towards business planning and operations. This presents an ideal opportunity for organisations to re-consider their wider property needs and requirements, holistically across the entity and in doing so, embrace sustainability in the race towards the United Nations ‘Sustainability Development Goals 2030’ and ‘Net-zero 2050’ Target. It is considered that as much as 80% of an organisation’s sustainability needs for certification and meeting organisational targets can be delivered through FM resources.

Such a move will inevitably ease the financial burden on FM as an entity in its own right, as funding and budgets will be made available for meeting sustainability targets.

The future for FM should be bright, it should embrace the opportunity and show the world that ‘they are the guy’s to deliver this agenda’, as FM transforms once again to delivering valuable strategic support to the core business.

Acknowledgements

The author wishes to thank Conserve Consultants (http://www.conserveconsultants.com/) for their contribution and David Reynolds, USA, for his valuable feedback and of this article.

Smart And Intelligent Buildings

From Smart and Intelligent Buildings to the IoT, facilities management provides the glue that brings it all together for building and workplace optimisation – a layman’s guide

Smart buildings go far beyond saving energy and contributing to sustainability goals. They extend capital equipment life and impact the security and safety of all resources – both human and capital. They enable innovation by creating a platform for accessible information. They are a key component of a future where information technology and human ingenuity combine to produce the robust, low-carbon economy envisioned for the future. Intelligent buildings will use machine learning and artificial intelligence to proactively support occupants by learning from these inputs and enabling decisions that will benefit users.
This article provides a concise overview on everything that’s ‘smart’ and ‘intelligent’ within our buildings today. This offers a vast array of opportunity for facilities managers to do what they do best in creating efficiencies, cost savings and provide the basis for informed decisions to be made, based on accurate data.

Introduction

The ongoing Fourth Industrial Revolution has instigated the use of large-scale machine-to-machine (M2M) and modern smart technology (IoT etc.) for increased automation, improved communication and self-monitoring, and the production of smart machines that can analyse and diagnose issues without the need for human intervention.

Now, with decreasing physical human intervention, the discussions around ‘Smart buildings’, ‘Intelligent systems’ and ‘IoT-based industrial solutions’ have increased dramatically in recent years, and for good reason – competition. Buildings are being forced to look at all aspects of their design – management, amenities and operations – to be more attractive to owners and occupants than their competitors. At the same time, market pressure from consumers is forcing buildings to keep up with the rapid pace of innovation. Hence the move to smart or intelligent buildings.

In this digital age, all ‘smart’ devices have practically emerged just from being cool new gadgets to essential tools for conducting business. Now, temperature and lighting controls have gone from being thermostats and switches on the walls to Wi-Fi controlled from a mobile application, the prevalence of big data in decision-making processes and Internet of Things (IoT)- based solutions, all have become quite common. They have entered the commercial building market, performing controlling and monitoring operations and are ripe for data extraction and analytics.

What are smart buildings?

A smart building can be considered as one that is using technology to share information about what goes on in the building between systems so as to optimise the building’s performance. This information is then used to automate processes, including heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting and security and access control systems.

In parallel with creating operational efficiencies of the various building systems a key benefit of smart buildings is to optimise the use of energy and resources, both to cut cost and to improve energy efficiency.

The main features of smart buildings

Connected Systems – The most fundamental feature of a smart building is that the core systems within it are linked. The term ‘smart’ is usually considered as the ability of similar and different systems to talk to one another.

Sensors – Sensors are an integral part of smart buildings and play an important role in collecting data to inform decisions about where to allocate resources. For example, footfall counters may be integrated into the building to provide information on where people are at certain times of the day and which areas are high traffic.

Automation – Information is continuously gathered and analysed by building systems within a smart building. This ongoing monitoring allows for automated adjustments that can control conditions across an entire building at appropriate times of the day and on a seasonal basis.

Data – Smart buildings generate a large volume of valuable data which serves to continually improve controls and outputs and of course enables both operational staff and senior management to make key and timely decisions.

For a building to be considered ‘smart’, it should use technology to deliver useful, consistent, user-focused experiences as well as space and energy efficiencies.

A smart device or system uses IoT-based microprocessors and devices, are programmable to execute a pre-defined set of actions or sequence of operations and communicates with external systems via a computer network. The intricate collection of such devices and systems constitutes a smart building – it monitors various building characteristics, analyses the data and generate insights around usage patterns and trends that can be used to optimise the building’s environment and operations.

While smart technology provides greater control within your building, smart building technology allows you to manage and control operations, they are much more than just advanced ‘connected’ buildings.

Is it being ‘smart’ or simply being ‘connected’?

The word smart is increasingly being used to generally act as a user-friendly way of presenting the IoT to the general public. But being used as a catch-all term for a huge range of goods and services has led to uncertainty over what ‘smart’ actually means and is much more than just ‘command and control’ systems.

Connected

Connected buildings tend to feature technologies that have been plugged together, often for the benefit of owners and operators instead of the occupants – think lights that automatically turn off after 60 seconds when movement hasn’t been sensed, to save power, thus plunging people into darkness and resulting in the inevitable arm waving and star jumps to restore functionality.

Smart

In contrast, smart buildings are centred around the needs of the users, with consultants and Main Technology Contractors frequently being involved in the design stage of a project by seeking to understand exactly who will be using the building and what they’ll be doing in it. The services will be designed in reference to the user – by mapping out their day-to-day journey with any pain points established, allowing the design team to understand where technology can help to eliminate the issues – or even better, enhance people’s experience.

Smart buildings take a more integrated approach by considering the bigger picture – what people are trying to achieve within the building – and working downwards so that each device and system is considered. This results in more useful outcomes, such as personalising a user’s experience so that they can be more productive, or managing room temperatures more holistically by responding to the position of the sun and the weather that day rather than simply turning off the heating simply because the summer has arrived.

The level of integration is often a key point of difference between connected and smart buildings.

Intelligent Buildings

Intelligent Buildings

At the other end of the scale, we have ‘intelligent’ buildings, something we are increasingly able to achieve by inculcating technology that’s able to do even more to support occupants.

Though an exact definition has not been agreed upon, it tends to exercise the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence as the line between smart and intelligent.

Intelligent buildings will use machine learning and AI to proactively support occupants by learning from these inputs and making decisions that will benefit users. This continuous cycle of learning, responding to feedback, and optimising will theoretically make intelligent buildings capable of looking after themselves as well as their occupants.

The technology stack used in the creation of smart buildings is significant. Since many of the common smart building technologies tend to overlap with or frequently interact with one another, it’s important to distinguish them individually since each provides a distinct layer of functionality.

  1. IoT at the Core of Smart Buildings Trends

Significantly, IoT has the capacity of solving real, everyday problems. It delivers practical results needed by your enterprise. Perhaps the most important and widespread smart building technology, the IoT is a system that uses a common Internet Protocol (IP) platform to connect multiple devices (such as sensors or microchips) to exchange and analyse information, optimizing each device’s controls automatically. When aggregated across an entire building, IoT allows for asset digitization throughout – and, therefore, immediate efficiency improvements.

IoT can leverage inexpensive wireless devices that can retrofit an existing building to monitor and control critical systems (e.g., HVAC). Certainly, retrofit IoT installations incur a fraction of the cost of installing or replacing an existing Building Automation System (BAS). 

  1. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Artificial Intelligence (AI), like IoT, is a buzzword that’s been getting quite a bit of attention lately but is frequently misunderstood. AI is the process by which machines or software mimic human behaviour and intelligence, with an ability to both acquire and apply knowledge. This allows for automation (basically, decision-making) within the machine or software without human intervention. Machine Learning (ML), often confused as a synonym for AI, is, in fact, a technique for realizing AI: It refers to the process by which a machine acquires knowledge or skill.

The applications of AI within smart buildings are extensive, especially being that AI is easily integrated with IoT sensors and devices. Such devices apply deep learning to hierarchically understand objects and environments, making adjustments according to learned user preferences or an analysis of historical trends.

For example, an AI and IoT-enabled asset management system will pick up on abnormalities in asset functioning – like a leaking refrigerator – based on what it has “learned” about the machine’s energy intake or output when functioning normally. AI-enabled Service Automation software then predicts upcoming maintenance and even reviews and approves work orders with minimal human intervention.

  1. Software-Defined Networking and Cloud Computing

Software-defined Networking and Cloud computing offers virtualized platforms with flexible networking, compute, and storage services. SDN and Cloud platforms are generally run as a service based on big data centres and enable additional computational and storage capacity when needed. Cloud computing can eliminate on-premise infrastructure requirements and make networking and computing flexible from an enterprise perspective.

  1. Aerial Drones

Drones are used to provide intelligent support within a building or retail space. They can handle many routine or time-consuming tasks, and may also use AI for autonomous operation such as facial recognition, surveillance, pre-programmed response, surveys, photography, routine tasks, capture data, video, and photos in hard to reach locations.

In advanced-level applications, drones can perform surveys for office space, retail facility, or even a grocery store by searching shelves for expired products. They can provide security surveillance and act on AI-based triggers, such as gunshot detection, and act as an additional set of simply manoeuvrable “eyes & ears” that sense minute details and work at all hours of the day.

  1. Building Automation
building-automation-system

Source

Building Automation is a comprehensive infrastructure that permits centralized control of the HVAC, lighting, security, and other systems in a building. Building Automation is managed by either the Building Management System (BMS) or the Building Automation System (BAS). These systems are also compatible with IoT solutions and can monitor and control essential factors such as temperature, humidity, electricity, water pressure etc.

AI and IoT coupled with BAS make intelligent decisions to provide efficient and cost-effective operations.

  1. Building Information Modelling (BIM)

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a smart 3D model-based method that records and displays a facility’s physical and functional characteristics. Historically, AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) professionals mainly used BIM, but it has become increasingly more prevalent within the context of facilities management.

A highly practical tool for both building maintenance and continuing use, BIM acts as a building “handbook” of sorts that provides access to real-time asset profiles as well as increased knowledge of asset locations.

This visual and spatial knowledge is astonishingly useful when restoring or renovating buildings. For example, BIM can tell where precisely a specific electrical circuit or equipment component is located behind a wall. Beyond geographic knowledge, it also offers insights into spatial knowledge, light analysis, and building component quantities and properties.

Additionally, BIM enables endless test situations without ever having to touch the space physically, which means reduced downtime and reduced labour spending.

  1. Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented Reality (AR) is a live, copied view of a real-world environment with computer-generated sensory input complementing its elements. It requires a camera and a display device like a laptop, smartphone, or even eyeglasses; expanded reality superimposes an imaginary object onto a view of one’s actual, physical environment.

The AR technology is incredibly helpful for facility management when used in combination with BIM.

Programmed with current BIM models, the glasses enable displays of “hovering” digital representations over each piece of equipment, offering recognition and additional information. Such knowledge may include written instructions, alerts, installation dates, and problem-solving, all of which are particularly useful during outages or emergencies.

  1. Virtual Reality

Virtual reality (VR) goes a step further with computer-generated sensor input providing a full immersion experience by blocking out the physical world and putting the user into a realistic, virtual environment. The design and construction industries have adopted VR as a useful tool during the mockup phase.

VR-powered mockups enable a customer to view a potential building as if visiting the space. The customer may walk around, inspect windows and staircases, and get a sense of the constructed structure’s layout and function before any work has begun.

While virtual reality within the facility management industry is still far from widespread, the technology has started to become more powerful and affordable in recent years. But it can be integrated into applications for facilities management and used for repair and upkeep.

Benefits

  • Asset Digitisation

IoT facilitates asset digitization at the whole building or individual asset level. IoT can capture granular data from those critical HVAC assets in the building, including supply/return temperatures, fan speeds, vibration, flow rates, compressor run times, total energy consumption, etc. All of these measures can be captured in real-time to enable key operational insights (e.g., AI). Critically, IoT connects you to key assets in a building. When aggregated across the entire building, IoT delivers asset digitization across the entire building.

  • Energy Efficiency and Indoor Air Quality Monitoring

IoT will continue to produce outsized results in the quest for energy efficiency because market penetration has only just begun. An alarmingly low percentage of buildings today have access to any form of real-time energy reporting. Too many buildings continue to rely on manual meter reading.

IoT provides the fastest, most economical method of augmenting your building’s infrastructure to enable real-time IAQ monitoring. Even the most advanced BAS will barely support modern IAQ measures such as Particulate Matter (PM) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).

  • Workspace/Workforce Management

IoT sensors have made increasing amounts of data available to understand how occupants use the space. For example, wireless lighting control systems can embed occupancy sensors in lighting fixtures to gain a granular understanding of workspace usage. Reconfiguring space based on employee usage shows much promise in minimizing lease costs, while also increasing employee productivity and tenant satisfaction. Thus, the savings potential goes way beyond the usage of IoT for energy savings.

How can smart technology help Facilities Managers?

By predicting potential issues
Monitoring and maintaining the different systems within a building is time-intensive and many facilities managers find themselves trapped in a reactive role, responding to things when they go wrong or dealing with complaints, with no time for forwarding planning. Smart technology allows you to take a much more predictive, proactive role as you have a clear picture of everything that’s happening across all your buildings or spaces at any one time.

By reducing administrative work
Smart sensors gather a wealth of data which, when plugged into the internet or ‘cloud’, can be displayed in various formats, helping you to see what’s important to you. This work is all done for you, saving the effort of producing reports by hand. Cloud platforms can transform your data into easy-to-read dashboard or reports, making it easy to benchmark and spot potential trends. This clearer, overall picture helps to reduce siloed ways of working.

By helping you comply with industry standards
Using smart sensors to monitor the performance of your buildings and machinery makes compliance with industry standards far easier. The data they produce enables you to spot potential problems before they occur and can also help to minimise things like energy use.

Smart Buildings connecting to an Intelligent Future

Smart buildings go far beyond saving energy and contributing to sustainability goals. They extend capital equipment life and also impact the security and safety of all resources – both human and capital. They enable innovation by creating a platform for accessible information. They are a key component of a future where information technology and human ingenuity combine to produce the robust, low-carbon economy envisioned for the future.

In the long run, smart buildings will play an essential role in our sustainable efforts, our relationship with our working environments and with one another. We will continue to have more smart buildings, whilst existing smart buildings will get even smarter, and advances in technology will continue to push the capabilities of our surrounding built environment. 

Exactly what this will look like in the long-term, no one can be certain, but one thing is for sure: smart buildings will play an essential role in the development of our future.

References

Control Center

FM Navigate: A Better Facility Management Platform

Evbex-FRP has been established to offer technology solutions to organisations that manage FM services a range of technology platforms that puts the demand-organizations or end-users in control of managing the function; the resources that deliver the FM services (in-house, outsourced or a combination of both) and the data to ensure that FM services are positioned to deliver optimum support to the business. This will ensure that FM demand organizations and end-users will no longer be dependent on the FM Supplier’s systems, processes and technologies and that business-critical functions such as risk, compliance, performance and value can be managed, administered and optimised directly by the demand-organisation.

FM Navigate:  Facilities Services Management Portal

FM Navigate is a portal for managing the facilities management function and services from the demand organization or ‘end-users’ perspective. It is a comprehensive and tailored solution that is unique in the marketplace as it emphasises on the policies, processes, management approaches, processes, systems and data that all organisations demonstrate and perform throughout the life cycle of ownership, delivery and management of facilities services.

It is not a Suppliers CAFM system and not purely a single function model such as a Procurement Portal or Support Desk.

FM Navigate is as a unique and tailored solution for managing the whole life of facilities services from the demand-organization end-user perspective. It is structured around the requirements of ISO 41001 Facility Management System and other FM ISO Standards. It focusses on professional and effective management of the Facilities Management (FM) function, whether it be delivered in-house, or outsourced or a combination of both, offering demonstrable opportunities for all organisations to ensure that their FM is compliant, high-performing and affordable whilst reducing the management input and administrative burden that traditionally associate with this role and function.

FM Navigate: Modular Approach

FM Navigate is built around the requirements of ISO 41001 Facility Management – Management system and comprises of 8 individual but integrated modules that span the whole life of the facilities management function and / or individual FM projects:

  • 1. Policies & ISO 41001 Framework & CertificationA Facilities Management Framework will be developed that will meet the requirements of the Standard. This will ensure that the demand organizations needs are met and which will be underpinned by strong leadership to provide the required baseline for the FM Organization. This will ensure that relevant and appropriate processes will exist to manage internal and external resources and to deliver ‘Best-in-class’ facility management services.
  • 2. Communication & ReportsFundamental to the internal and external stakeholder relationships will be the Communication Plans and the Reports. FM agreements often succeed or fail, based on robust communication and reporting strategies and approaches. This module will ensure collaboration and successful outcomes through all communication and reporting channels and through a standardised approach across the entity.
  • 3. Compliance & RiskA cloud-based Compliance Module will ensure organizational compliance will be maintained at all times. This will be achieved through creating a database of all assets that are subject to Statutory Compliance across the estate. Notifications will be issued to the relevant suppliers automatically, based on a 12-month planner. Arrangements will be made for the suppliers to attend the sites to carry out the relevant statutory examination or inspection and the relevant test results and certificates will be automatically uploaded ensuring that the Statutory Compliance database is maintained up to date at all times.
  • 4. Procurement & Supply ChainThe Procurement Portal will ensure that FM Suppliers will be procured in the most appropriate and effective way to deliver ‘best value’ outcomes. The Procurement Portal will also contain editable tender documentation based on best practices. FM suppliers will be maintained on a comprehensive database that will be checked for continual compliance and updated on a periodic basis. The portal is suitable for both private and public sector organizations.
  • 5. Contract ManagementThe Contract Management Module provides automated financial management and performance management for any facility management contract to ensure compliant and high-performing facility services at all times. This will ensure that the contract will always be managed according to the contract documentation in a consistent, professional and transparent manner. The Contract Management module includes a Mobilization Tracker, a Transition Plan, Financial Management and Performance Management of all facility management contracts via metrics that can be tailored to suit the requirements of each organization.
  • 6. Fulfillment CentreThe Optional Fulfillment Centre Module will track and log all calls and requests, ensuring SLA compliance and will establish true and real time KPI reporting. The Fulfillment Centre module can be fully automated, and all instructions, requests and responses will be expedited via a common message board that will capture and record all communication threads, rather than having to rely on verbal recollections and/or email trails. The Fulfillment Centre will also serve to inform a number of KPIs that can be used by the demand organization to manage the facility service.
  • 7. Data HubThe Data Hub will draw data and reports from the FM Suppliers CAFM Systems providing a truly integrated platform. Data drawn from the suppliers CAFM systems will be used to populate the Communication and Reporting Module, and the KPIs, required for capturing compliance and service quality. The Data Hub will ensure that your organization will benefit from a truly integrated platform which will be driven through FM Navigate thus placing the control with the demand organization and not with the FM suppliers.
  • 8. Continuous ImprovementThe Continuous Improvement Module includes Evbex QVi protocol which provides a demonstrable journey towards World Class FM Services. The QVi will benchmark compliance (against the contract and statutory) and will identify a performance index for the facility services. The QVi will position facility performance against a maturity matrix whereby gaps between current performance and good or best practice will be identified. Improvement will be established through closing the gaps and progressing up the maturity scale.

Benefits of FM Navigate

FM Navigate is a unique facilities management technology solution that offers a global platform for all types organisations in the public and private sectors to ensure that their property and facilities management requirements delivers ‘World Class’ services in the most effective and efficient way possible. FM Navigate is a unique platform which offers a revolutionary opportunity for demand organizations to demonstrate real value in the delivery and management of facilities services. Key benefits of the system include:

  • Underpinned by the requirements of ISO 41001: 2018, Facility management – Management system
  • Fantastic opportunities to establish cost savings and management efficiencies
  • Provides a professional, consistent and robust approach to managing FM services based on best practices
  • Covers the life cycle of the FM function and/or FM Contracts
  • Takes back control of your FM service management – less reliance on your FM service vendors
  • Highly effective Supply Chain Management tool
  • Delivers standardisation and simplification for Global FM requirements
  • Contract management e.g. NEC3 TSC and performance management via a powerful Performance Management/KPI database
  • Includes the unique and powerful QVi measurement tool
  • Powerful data repository for effective Supply Chain Management and key decision making
  • Contains an integrated Help Desk function
  • Enables remote management capabilities
  • Designed for demand-organizations and end-users, not a Suppliers CAFM system
  • Demonstrates ‘the ability to deliver demonstrable and affordable ‘World Class’ FM
  • Aligned with all direct and indirect Standards that apply to Facilities Management
  • Is unique in the FM marketplace
  • Can be tailored to specific organisational needs (80/20)
  • Developed by FM experts that understand the needs of the demand organization
  • Powerful benchmarking capability
  • Can be scaled for single sites or global capabilities