15 Apr Achieving High Performance in Facilities Management – Step 1

In the first post of this series, Markon’s Facilities Solution outlined the concept of a maturity model that leaders can use to identify and prioritize areas for improvement. The concept is based on a straightforward assessment of five questions with associated competencies to target for further development:

Facilities Management

This month’s post takes a look at step one, reviewing organizational structures, facility management policies, and the all-important step of maintaining a complete and accurate inventory of facilities (and their inherent systems and assemblies). We hope you’ll follow along in the quest for high performance!

Every journey has to start somewhere, so the road to high-performance for facilities managers starts by answering the question, “What facilities am I responsible for managing?” As basic as the question seems, we’ve been surprised by the number of times our clients have engaged us to complete this essential first step. Reasons usually include:

  • Incomplete records due to software upgrades
  • Preparation for expansion or footprint reductions
  • A solid planning baseline is needed for next year’s budget

Before we take on the policy and organization competencies, let’s dig in to the inventory problem – it’s really the heart of every facility manager’s responsibility these days. The initial response to this question is to do an assessment to determine inventory. However, the modern definition of inventory has expanded to include the following:

  • Locations, whether defined as property, building, structure, or land
  • Business units that drive the mission, typically geographies or organizations
  • Records on the condition of systems and assemblies that comprise the facilities, as well as specifications and other documents
  • Reporting tools such as key performance indicators and metrics

As their experience progresses, facility managers are typically “rewarded” with more responsibility. The process also requires some leadership on their part – they need to take on setting the department’s organizational scope and scale in order to address how the work gets done. This calls for assessment questions, such as:

  • What functions or branches are needed to fulfill the assigned tasks (e.g., Do we need an operations and maintenance manager? Do we need dedicated IT support? Do we need project planning and management specialists?)
  • What is the scale of our inventory? Is it office management in a single leased building, or is the portfolio larger and more diverse?
  • How does the organization motivate facilities staff?
  • Do we have the planning capabilities to respond to the changes and challenges our leadership envisions?

The response to that last question will not only help to shape the facility organization, it will also be key to identifying the policies that need to be in place to ensure the work is done effectively and efficiently. Other questions to ask on this policy competency include:

  • How do we take requirements from the business units and translate them into the need to acquire facilities?
  • Do we have a rational way to assign spaces based on roles and functions, and how effectively do we communicate this space strategy to leadership?
  • What is the organization’s goal for managing facilities condition – do we need Class A office spaces, or can we manage with Class B, for example?
  • How do we link facility condition to organizational goals? Can we proactively advise when improvements are necessary, so condition doesn’t become an obstacle?

With the completion of this first step in the maturity model, the facility manager will have already identified opportunities to achieve high performance with the inventory, organizational design, and policies.

That concludes our post for this month. In the next post, we’ll move on to step two, focusing on the competencies facility managers can use to improve decision-making: processes and systems. We hope you’ll join us for that next month!


If you missed the introductory post, click here.

Jim Turner

Jim Turner is a Director with Markon Solutions and is responsible for leading the Facilities Solution consulting practice, which supports the real property and facilities life-cycle, including planning, design, construction, and operations and maintenance. Over a span of 18 years, he has managed more than 90 projects, sized from a few thousand to millions of square feet. His unique approach seeks alignment of the real property assets with business strategy to provide optimal support to core business processes. He’s in demand as a speaker and writer on facilities management and real estate trends and process. Mr. Turner earned an MBA from the University of Southern California and a BA in Economics from the University of South Florida.