Real estate management represents a significant cost and should be subject to scrutiny when it comes to efficiency improvements and cost savings.

Facilities management (FM) is often the second largest cost factor for an organisation and being of such vital importance, how can this investment best be managed?

With budgets being squeezed, buildings still need to support and accommodate core business needs – the day-to-day work of the occupants. Facilities management plays a vital role in the smooth running of real estate and impacts on a building’s efficiency and working environment, as well as the productivity and wellbeing of employees.

Managing your investment

Facilities services – including cleaning, maintenance and catering – are commonly outsourced. The outsourcing method will depend on the size of the property portfolio and the business’ strategy for managing non-core business activities.

These services can be contracted out to specialist providers, such as dedicated engineering or cleaning companies. Alternatively, they can be outsourced to a single FM provider, which can bring with it the benefits of global expertise and reach – known as ‘Integrated Facility Management’ (IFM).

Key outsourcing considerations

When the decision is made to outsource FM, the responsibility and role of the FM provider becomes to directly supervise essential works and daily operations. However, a significant burden remains with the client organisation, which still needs to manage the output of the chosen service provider.

Whenever outsourcing, especially through IFM contracts, it is vital to have clear key performance indicators (KPIs) and service level agreements (SLAs). Quality control over service delivery is essential.

IFM contracts typically specify maximum intervention times for key services and factor in appropriate levels of compensation for missed targets. It is important to closely monitor execution against agreed SLAs and constantly identify areas for improvement.

Taking control of FM

The management of a complex real estate operation requires deep insights for performance improvements from both the FM service provider and client. Maintaining a measure on quality of delivery is crucial for controlling services and can be achieved with a client-side CAFM tool (Computer Aided Facility Management).

A comprehensive, advanced CAFM solution enables an organisation to take control of FM services by measuring the output, quality and timeliness of services according to accepted standards and SLAs.

It also provides access to process overviews and centralised planning of resources and activities, enabling businesses to stay in control of their own data and to have greater knowledge of their service needs. This gives power to better negotiate existing contracts or ensure continuity of service if suppliers are changed in the future.

The evolution of FM through Smart Buildings

Service delivery in buildings is historically provided based on fixed plans and frequencies, not actual usage. The shift away from this model requires installation of sensor networks and smart building technologies. These give organisations access to powerful notification and reporting capabilities and large volumes of real-time data.

In combination with data from your CAFM software and user feedback, this ‘big data’ can be used to predict future usage and target services where they are most needed. Smart buildings take FM control a step further and allow analysis beyond measuring fixed plans and frequencies.

MCS Solutions has developed integrated CAFM software and Smart Building solutions to enable organisations around the world to proactively manage portfolios of buildings and related services. The team is exhibiting at this year’s Facilities Show in London on the 21-23 June. For more information about myMCS and how it can help manage FM, take a look at our dedicated page: