“Facility management” are two words that strike fear in the hearts and minds of property owners who realize that their buildings will not manage themselves. They hire facility managers capable of getting the job done, but even the best managers don’t necessarily do things as well as they could.
The secret behind efficient facility management: planning. That’s right; efficiency in most environments begins and ends with planning. A facility manager who is a good planner can sit down and assess the following factors:
- Day-to-day management issues.
- Availability of labor and supplies.
- Short- and long-term budgets.
- Anticipated future needs.
Managing a facility is a lot like managing a pit crew during a NASCAR race. Success is not a matter of simply barking out a few instructions in the moment, nor is it a matter of just establishing a core set of tasks to be handled by crew members and then forgetting about them. A lot goes into efficient facility management that no one ever hears about.
What Needs to Be Done
The first thing the facility manager must think about is what needs to be done daily. If nothing else, all the day-to-day tasks add up to the bulk of the management job. So, managers have to work with a daily schedule.
Washrooms need to be checked and cleaned multiple times daily. Floors need to be kept clean, trash must be taken out, windows have to be washed, carpets need to be vacuumed and on it goes. Then there are those tasks that need to be done only periodically.
Efficiency here is all about scheduling tasks at the right time of day and making sure they are done in the most efficient manner possible. This is easier said than done. Once a good plan is established, however, it can set the stage for everything else.
Having Supplies on Hand
In addition to a facility management plan, companies must consider the supplies they need to keep on hand to perform those day-to-day tasks. Nothing interrupts a worker’s schedule more than going to the supply room and discovering there are no more washing supplies or wet mops. Even worse is when someone has to leave work to purchase toilet paper and hand towels to get the office through until the next supply delivery.
A good facility manager can manage expectations along with day-to-day tasks and supplies. What do we mean by this? Well, both workers and the people who use the facilities have certain expectations. Let’s use the maintenance staff as an example. They may have the expectation that all the washrooms can be cleaned and restocked in the first hour of the day. That may be possible under normal circumstances, but something could happen that could push the washroom maintenance into the second hour. Maintenance staff must always be prepared for that sort of contingency. They should expect delays and have a plan in place to catch up if they fall behind. Otherwise, one day’s delays can run into the next day, then a third day, and so on.
We have only scratched the surface of how planning is the secret to efficient facility management. There is a lot more to it than what we’ve covered here.