IFMA Members ID Top FM Best Practices and Drivers of Quality FM

See which best practices are most important for keeping costs down and keeping the customer satisfied

by Session leaders: Peter Kimmel, IFMA Fellow and Keith McClanahan, PR, RPA — What are the key components of a successful facilities operation, and how can one measure them to demonstrate that success? That was the key question asked in a very unique educational session at IFMA’s World Workplace 2013.

Espousing the belief that there is much too much to cover in a traditional one-hour session to address this core question, the leaders of the session, Peter Kimmel, IFMA Fellow and Keith McClanahan, PE, RPA created a very different type of session. Rather than preparing a lecture about best practices and quality, they took advantage of their belief that the collective knowledge of the audience was much greater than their own—they proceeded to produce an interactive session designed to elicit that knowledge from the audience, and to do so in a way that would in itself become a learning experience for them. Indeed, forty-five minutes of the one-hour session was delivered by the audience, not the leaders.

The four objectives of the session were straightforward:

  1. Understand which factors are most critical to ensure a high-quality FM operation.
  2. Know what is really important to your customers.
  3. Identify the key success measures for FM operations and customer satisfaction.
  4. Apply the success measures to improve operations and customer satisfaction.

The leaders introduced the concept of FM best practices and quality by stating the primary reasons why they are important:

  1. They keep costs down.
  2. They keep customers happy and satisfied by making it conducive for them to be comfortable, productive, and able to do their work.

They then described three key elements related to the facilities management group to help achieve success:

  1. FM Function: Maintenance management, energy management, space management, etc.
  2. FM Process: Organization of the FM group, workflow, decision-making process, etc.
  3. FM Costs and Budget

In the session, ten topics would be introduced, taking the audience through all four objectives. For each topic, the audience would identify examples of the key elements to satisfy the needs of the topic. The audience was asked to name those elements as quickly as they could, and each would be recorded. Each topic would be terminated after 3-4 minutes, and the leaders would then introduce the next topic. The remainder of this paper presents the ten topics and the ideas generated by the audience for each; the result is a very impressive list of what could be considered to improve facilities operations by all FMs; each suggestion is presented in the order stated by the audience.

The ten topics are divided into four areas, which replicate the four objectives:

  1. Factors to ensure high-quality FM operations.
  2. Factors to ensure high customer satisfaction.
  3. Key success measures (for both operations and customers).
  4. Measuring success (for both operations and customers).

Factors to ensure high-quality FM operations

Which facility best practices and measures are most critical for space utilization, maintenance, energy and janitorial operations?

Editor’s note: Many of these are measures; the analysis of them is a best practice that will provide valuable information to FMs.

  • Space utilization
  • Work from home
  • Unassigned space
  • Hoteling
  • Janitorial — know your space types; e.g., warehouse versus office space
  • Amount of SF per person
  • Space utilization — use cubic feet, not just square feet
  • Use technology — 3D CAD
  • Count workstations rather than rooms
  • Energy — use timers on systems based on what staff really needs
  • Understand the function of the people in the space—one size doesn’t fit all
  • Routine maintenance
  • Lutron quantum — energymanagement system
  • Maintenance — mobile techs and connected vehicles
  • Planned maintenance versus reactive
  • Spare parts inventory
  • Cycle time for maintenance work orders
  • Energy tracking, measuring, benchmarking
Which budget cuts will cause the most problems?
  • Cutting staffing hours
  • Cut backs shorten the life of your facility
  • Cutting preventive maintenance
  • Cutting back on janitorial services — 5 day to 3 day
  • Unsafe operations
  • Reduction in capital to replace end-of-life equipment that costs more to maintain than new equipment
  • Dangerous cut backs to already deferred maintenance
  • Impact on productivity of the people in the space compared to the cost of the service
  • Disgruntled FM staff who are scared of their jobs
  • Customer satisfaction scores go down
  • Cuts on your labor rate that limit the pool of applicants for jobs — increasing training
  • Poor quality increases staff turnover
  • Slower speed to market on product to market
What do you need to do your job right the first time?
  • Right information
  • Planning
  • Qualified techs
  • Right skill sets
  • What gets measured gets managed
  • Policies, procedures and checklists
  • Right inventory
  • Follow-up with customer to ensure satisfaction
  • 3-way communication: customer — manager — tech
  • As-built drawings
  • Right technology
  • Customer expectation requirements
  • Business strategy
  • Time
Factors to ensure high-quality customer satisfaction

How can we improve customer communications?

  • Manage by walking around / talking with customers
  • Emails / phone calls
  • Surveys
  • Build relationships
  • Publish help desk and security numbers
  • Timeliness of response
  • Use electronic alerts to let customer know about progress of request
  • Communicate facility events in advance
  • Publish dashboards — work orders
  • Orientation of new colleagues to know about process
  • Text messages
  • Keep up-to-date customer information

Which types of customer comments are most critical?

  • Hot and cold calls
  • Safety and security
  • Occupational health and safety
  • OSHA compliance
  • Long-standing unresolved problems
  • Indoor air quality (IAQ)
  • Repeat calls
  • Problems not understood
  • Rumors
  • Varmints — pests
  • Lack of communication
  • Poor customer service
  • 20% of problems cause 80% of exposure
  • Timely delivery of solution
  • Promise delivery too soon
  • Lack of coffee in the office
  • Feeling of entitlement
  • Same mistake again
  • Senior management requests
  • Customers think all comments are critical
  • Compliance
  • Theft complaints
  • Replacement of blinking lights
  • Too much light

What are the consequences of no structured customer feedback?

  • Poor customer satisfaction surveys
  • Never-satisfied customers
  • Litigation
  • Loss of good will/respect for FM department
  • No feedback for improvement
  • Contract termination
  • Unnecessary escalation to senior management
  • Ignoring code violation
  • Confusion
  • Loss of key staff
  • Loss of revenue
  • Staff in-fighting
  • Conflict of interest
  • Cultural mediocrity
Key success measures (for both operations and customers)

Which operations metrics are most important?

  • Churn
  • Minimal square feet to do the job
  • What is budgeted versus actual
  • Conducive space to task required
  • Downtime of equipment for maintenance
  • Main call backs
  • UPS versus generator capacity
  • Planning and framework
  • Janitorial requests
  • Employee absenteeism
  • Tracking energy and water usage
  • Cycle times and touch times
  • Facility help desk statistics — number of work orders completed by type and how long they take
  • Head count projections
  • MT CO2 reductions

Which customer satisfaction metrics are most important?

  • Costs and budgets
  • Number of complaints
  • Customer follow-up surveys — was the goal achieved?
  • Set the standard, measure against the standard, find the non-compliance
  • Do the metrics and meet the customers’ expectations
  • Response times
  • Reliability
  • Functional work space
  • Percent SLAs met
  • Number of hot-cold complaints
  • Perception of image
  • Customer-created metrics — measure those
  • Number of unauthorized access / thefts on property
Measuring your success (for both operations and customers)

How do you know your building operations are being managed successfully?

  • Review operations and data
  • Reduced utility bills
  • Use benchmarking data
  • Governance thru your KPIs and CSIs
  • Look at outliers in your company and between companies
  • Exchange best practices
  • Peer review
  • Roundtables
  • Mentoring
  • 3rd-party assessments
  • Trends such as electric consumption, which is especially important in data centers
  • Square feet per person
  • Security incident reports
  • Different generations (X, Y, Z, Boomers) — how they work together

How do you know your customers are satisfied?

  • Kingsley survey — 3rd-party survey
  • Space audits
  • 360 performance reviews
  • Review annual employee opinion surveys
  • Recurring purchases and services
  • Case management satisfaction reports
  • Rounding — walk around and talk
  • Employee exit interviews
  • End-user liaison meetings
  • Gallup employee customer satisfaction survey
  • Why-do-you-stay interviews
  • Survey implies some action will be taken—don’t take a survey and then ignore the results

Peter Kimmel, IFMA Fellow and Keith McClanahan, PE, RPA are Principals of FM BENCHMARKING, the online benchmarking tool for facilities managers. Their tool applies best practices throughout its analysis—after facilities managers compare their facilities operating performance to those of others that are similar, by studying best practices they learn what they can do to improve their buildings’ performance.

Articles are based on data from FM BENCHMARKING, which until the pandemic had been the online benchmarking tool for facility managers and CREs. Data tracked by FM BENCHMARKING includes cost and labor data as well as best practices for more than 95% of typical facility costs. For questions about benchmarking, please contact Peter Kimmel on LinkedIn. Peter was one of the principals of FM BENCHMARKING and now is consulting in the industry.