Cost Saving Today: What exactly is Facility Management?
Dirk Smeyers: Facility Management (FM) is a vast management area focusing on the delivery of support services and processes for organisation or businesses. Facility management is the coordination of the organisation’s goods and services; it is an essential sector that operates pro-actively to meet all the needs of the primary processes of the business or organisation. Estimates for the value of the facility management market in Europe are several hundred billion Euros. With the current trends this market should grow by an annual 13.6% in the next decade.
Depending on the clients and the number of cost categories to investigate, facility management cost management budgets can go from several thousand Euros to several millions.
CST: What does FM encompass?
D.S.: FM includes a wide range of sub-categories that can be split into two main groups:
Space and infrastructure:
People and organisation:
CST: What has been the evolution?
D.S.: For years, Facility Management was outsourced to service providers without much monitoring of the assets or data. This shortage of data often means over-reliance on the contractors and lack of control over costs and service criteria.
However the development of digital technology – Industry 4.0 – has made more accessible the use of smart equipment, enabling monitoring and the measuring of performance, and highlighting the impact of FM on the organisation as a whole – with an impact on strategy, operations, efficiency and bottom line.
For instance, there are many contracts of service or commitment to results (output) for the cleaning of offices. Thanks to occupancy sensors, it is now possible to adjust the cleaning according to the actual occupancy of offices.
The advantage is that the cleaning can be better targeted, which results in very large savings. We are now moving towards performance contracts (outcome).
This trend can also be seen in the area of HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), when there is air conditioning switched on in the premises according to occupancy or just from morning to evening.
FM procurement is vast and complex: in spite of such a variety of overhead categories, FM budgets are often tight. Furthermore, procurement managers do not possess the in-depth knowledge for each FM category, nor a comprehensive understanding of the risks involved when tendering and contracting – including legal and compliance matters and health & safety for employees, clients and visitors.
CST: What are you usually focusing on?
D.S.: My expertise focuses mainly on “space and infrastructure”. Due to the scope and complexity of FM, our clients are often faced with problems that need solving on a case-by-case basis, and a team of bespoke Expense Reduction Analysts experts joins forces to get the best savings solutions.
Based on the European standard EN15221, we set up customer-orientated structure that allows us to set up a global strategy (insourcing/outsourcing).
As already stated, FM facilitates the primary processes of the organisation – it can be done in-house with own staff or with external partners. The art is to find the formula that best meets the requirements of the primary process.
My area of expertise is to identify all of those requirements as a whole and to provide the appropriate solutions taking into account all stakeholders.
CST: How do you see the future of Facility Management?
D.S.: I can see a strong professionalisation of the FM sector. There are more and more training courses offered in this field, even at university level.
Our advantage is that we always have an outsider view on the company – that they cannot have in-house. Being at the forefront of the Industry 4.0 revolution, we can help and guide many businesses in this direction whilst generating huge savings; the follow-up we offer, absolutely necessary in the FM sector, enables us to build long-term relationships with our clients.
Dirk Smeyers, Engineer and former Technical Manager and Chief Operating Officer in industries related to construction and building environment, has been an Expense Reduction Analysts partner since early 2013. The main focus of his work is proactive project management in the Supply Chain Management like Packaging, Freight, Labels, Printing, etc. He also delivers real solutions for Building, Plant and Facility Management. Over the past few years Dirk has successfully implemented several dozens of projects in these categories with large and medium-sized companies. Dirk brings his vast experience and strong expertise to help his customers grow their business and achieve savings beyond their expectations.