REAL ESTATE MINUTE: Re-imagining facility management in a digital age

REAL ESTATE MINUTE: Re-imagining facility management in a digital age

Hello Ghana, hello faithful readers, top of the day to you wherever you find yourself. I trust you are keeping well. Thank you for joining us last week at the Ghana Green Building Summit 2021.

For those of you who couldn’t join us, today we present the first part of a recap of the very insightful session on Re-imagining Facility Management in a Digital Age. The objectives of the session were summarized as follows:

To provide perspectives on:

  • New trends in using data/tech to predict behaviour, make cost savings as well as efficient

people and process management.

  • Top technology developments that are affecting the field, from the building automation

system (BAS) to big data

  • The challenges and opportunities of digital transformation in FM

The panel comprised of Reginald Obeng , Head of Property-Gold Key Properties; Obed K. Ampadu-Asiamah, Head, Properties & Facilities Mgt, Fidelity Bank, Ghana; Kofi A. B. Asare, PhD Student, College of Design, Construction, Planning, University of Florida, USA; and Paul Sheedy, Uni.Fi.D, UK & China with Yaw Barnafo Head, Shared Services, CalBank moderating.

Before the discussion kicked off, the panel sought to provide clear distinction between facility management and property management which are used interchangeably by many but are in essence two separate fields.

 Distinction between Property & Facility Management

In the space of property management, you will find investors who put large amounts of money into buildings with the main aim of getting a great return on investment (ROI). In order to get this ROI, landlord’s or investors hire professionals with the skill set to manage these properties on their behalf.

These professionals, either individuals or companies, represent the landlord side of the business. The property managers then assist to market the space, set out the terms and conditions, vet prospective tenants on behalf of the landlord.

Property managers also handle lease arrangements for the landlord by ensuring the landlord’s interest is protected as well as ensuring the landlord’s responsibility, tenants responsibilities, and the general conditions are all clearly spelt out. In addition to managing the admin side of things, the property managers also ensure that the property is maintained and is functioning to its optimum best.

Once the property manager is able to cater for the above duties mentioned, the investment value of the property continues to grow so that the landlord will be able to realize the objective for which he set out to put up that building.

With respect to Facilities management, the management skill required is different. Compared to the property manager who can come into the space sparingly over a period of time, the facility manager’s job is a daily and ever present one. There needs to be the continuous management of that space in real time; running of that space to make sure the space is used as efficiently as possible.

Then there is also the management of people who come into the space at any point in time; any day of the week and within the months of the year, basically an all-year round activity. The facility manager needs to ensure that provision is made for them to feel comfortable, ensure health and safety requirements are all adhered to.

The facilities manager is also responsible for other services within the space he is managing. These services cover but not limited to power, generators, air conditioning, elevators and other hard mechanical services as well as softer services like catering, branding, entry-data and security, laundry, pest control etc.

After the distinction was clearly made, the speakers highlighted new trends in the facility management space and today we will begin with data.

Data Management

There’s so much data at times, it’s so confusing. Knowing how to use, understand and how to apply data efficiently in order to do more with less is key to getting the best out of a robust facility management system. Data has to be broken down into matrices, like performance indicators and things that you’ll be able to measure.

Take energy for instance, you have to break them into unit costs per square meter for example and once you get your data and you have all these metrics in place, then benchmarking comes in.

You can only control what you measure hence benchmarking plays a crucial role and every facility manager should focus on benchmarking, using previous year’s numbers, to be able to see upwards and downwards trends or even when trending flat. It is only when the facility manager employs the above that he will have opportunities to be able improve efficiency, reduce wastage etc.

In essence what data asks, is for the opportunity to be predictive and preventative as well as offer the opportunity to plan better based on needs assessment. A study was done on about 200,000 work orders and it showed that for every 98 corrective maintenance activities, you had just two preventive maintenance activities. Now that’s a very stark statistic. It tells you that people only fix it when it’s broken.

With data, you get a lot more insight, you get to know if you are being predictive and preventive. So let’s say you were spending a hundred minutes on repairing every broken down asset, with data, you are going to reduce that work order time now to about 92.3. That means you are saving on money as well, because we are paying by the hour, you are saving 8.7% on that money you are to pay. On the average, you’ve got facilities recording about 10,000 work orders every year. That’s good money you are saving. So that’s where the business case lies when it comes to using data to drive decision-making if I speak in management,

Folks that will be it for part one of the recap on Re-imagining Facility Management in a Digital Age. Watch this space for the final part next week. Let’s make it a date.

The writer is the Executive director of Yecham Property Consult & Founder of Ghana Green Building Summit.

Email: [email protected]

LinkedIn: Cyril Nii Ayitey Tetteh

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