The Facilities Management Trends Series: Consolidation
Part of a series of articles on key trends we are hearing from our facilities management community.
As we engage with members across the facilities management community, one trend that comes up consistently is that of “consolidation.” Consolidation takes several forms, but in nearly every situation, it becomes an inflection point for evaluating systems.
Facilities management continues to evolve as a profession and a function within corporations large and small around the globe. The pace of change in businesses is the result of external and internal factors – some positive, some challenging – that force the change in the status quo. As we engage with members across the facilities management community, one trend that comes up consistently is that of “consolidation.” Consolidation takes several forms, but in nearly every situation, it becomes an inflection point for evaluating systems. These are excellent times to evaluate the systems that teams are using to manage the myriad of projects, tasks, and preventative/reactive maintenance requirements. By understanding these consolidation trends and thinking strategically about evaluations of new software solutions, customers can achieve new milestones in value and be well-positioned for continued innovation.
Business Consolidation Inflection Points.
When businesses merge with other businesses, there are inevitable effects on the facilities management functions and people. Some of the situations that arise as a result of this type of consolidation are obvious and others are not what comes to mind initially. In all cases, the resilience of facilities management teams as they experience increased stress of these changes but still find ways to innovate and shine is most impressive!
Business consolidations kick off a dizzying number of facilities management related requirements that must be decided upon, managed, and executed without a hiccup in day to day demands. We think of this as being a lot like re-engineering the airplane while it’s in the air and you are still flying it and serving customers!
Just a small number of examples include:
- Eliminating retail facilities across a single market region footprint;
- Retail store reconfigurations to provide a consistent brand across the new company;
- Optimizing supply chain management and warehousing/distribution facilities systems;
- Identifying a provider strategy that could include eliminating duplication and/or adding capabilities for new requirements;
Organizational Restructuring and Consolidation.
As companies seek new ways to streamline activities, save money, and adopt newer technologies in their own digital transformation journeys, we are increasingly discussing the opportunities where functional organizations are merging across our operator customers. The functions of Facilities Management, real estate management, and construction are most notably the ones that are beginning to merge. Initially, this happens only at the org structure level, but forward-thinking facilities leaders are usually proactive as part of these changes to reach out, collaborate, and find opportunities for efficiencies with their new organizational partners. These forward-thinking leaders know that the business goals are ultimately to find ways to do more with less while still supporting and enhancing the brand.
Just some of the opportunities that these organizational consolidation changes introduce include:
- Blending the best of workflow practices across functions;
- Taking a more comprehensive approach to planning and managing asset utilization and life cycle management;
- Incorporate data – from asset inventories to maintenance records to data from equipment sensors – to move to more predictive management versus preventative maintenance;
- Integrating planning and cost management of activities at the project level that involve multiple organizations – such as what construction and facilities might work together on for store retrofits (See our Use Case on this here);
- Developing company-wide programs and practices for sustainability that cross the various organizational projects and domains;
Thinking strategically about systems during times of consolidation.
Many of the changes noted above are excellent inflection points in time where considering systems changes are valuable. There are a few best practices for making this type of evaluation:
Opt for Modern Extensible & Adaptable Solutions.
It is important to recognize that you will not know all of the requirements for the future, thus selecting a software solution that is architected to be extensible is crucial.
It is highly likely that the optimal processes and workflows of today, no matter how well thought out, will require changes in the future as new technologies are introduced or the business continues to change further (this is inevitable of course!)
Consider the data infrastructure of the solution, is it taking advantage of modern technology that can support your need for increasing competitiveness and reducing costs by leveraging new technologies?
Consider how the provider and the solutions give you access to & manage your data.
Will you have access to all of your data?
Will you be required to pay developer fees every time you want to extract insights from the solution?
Will your data be used in ways that were not agreed upon by you?
Pick a knowledgeable & experienced solution provider who knows the facilities management industry.
While there are many workflow automation solutions in the marketplace, it is important to select a solution that is more than software, but that also incorporates support through knowledgeable people;
And in a world of constant change, finding a solutions provider that acts as your partner, and engages in ways to support your success versus just their own bottom line is more important than ever.
At Fexa, we are hosting an annual Fexa Innovation Summit on September 30, 2020. We are disappointed it cannot be in-person this year as in previous years, we are working to provide a great program. Our opening panel feature facilities leaders and will focus a lively and engaging discussion on key industry trends. If you are interested, please reach out to request an invitation. We welcome members from across the facilities management community to join! You can request your invitation here.