Facility Management is an interdisciplinary profession that utilizes various skills and an extensive know-how to enable smooth functioning of an environment to empower its people to function at an optimum level.
It is defined by the European Facility Management Network as:
Integration of processes within an organization to maintain and develop the agreed services which support and improve the effectiveness of its primary activities.
Thus, the services that fall under the umbrella of facility management are of a wide-ranging variety such as Security, Housekeeping and Gardening to name but just a few.
In the context of History, Facility Management is a relatively new business that emerged in the United States in the late ‘50s when Pan-American-World-Services (PAWS) the holding corporation of the famous Pan-Am Airlines, became the earliest known major external facility management service provider. It served the US Air Force with the aim to make the Operations and Maintenance Departments more efficient.(GEFMA, 2017)
By the mid-’80s, the concept of facility management had reached Europe with the promise of improvement in quality and financial efficiency of tasks that did not belong to the core business of a company. It especially found strong ground in Germany, which at that time quite welcomed the idea of delegating basic management to improve operational efficiency.
The turn of the millennium brought with itself a whole host of technological advances and lifestyle changes. With the advent of the World Wide Web and the Microprocessor Technology, as the globalised world gradually moved from industries to offices, Facility Management has rose to become a fundamental necessity to most businesses.
The specific services that fall under the umbrella of Facility Management can be very broadly classified into two categories: Space Management and People Management; the rationale being that the environment and the personnel are the two primary assets of any establishment. Service such as Building operations, Maintenance, Cleaning and Technical infrastructure belong to the former category while Catering, Event management, ICT, Hospitality and Security belong to the latter.
For any facility management business to successful, it has to excel in four key areas. First and foremost, it has to achieve financial efficiency by reducing costs of daily needs. Second, A Facility Management Service needs to enable and increase operational efficiency of the establishment. In compliance terms, An FMS is responsible for the the health and safety of the personnel which belong to the institution which it serves. And lastly, facilities management is responsible for the impact of the operations of the workplace on the local and overall environment.
Adhering to these key-points is a balancing act for a facility management company to achieve success.
Facility Management currently holds the largest business services market in Europe(EuroFM, 2017) and is one of the fastest growing industries in the world (ISO, 2016). In terms of scientific expertise and awareness, it is still in its growth phase, and thus, there is much room for new business to lay a strong foothold in the market using superior know-how and management. An international standard for facility management that will enable current and upcoming business to set and adhere to quality benchmarks is currently under development by the International Organization for Standardization. Keep an eye out for the ISO 41001.