What is a facility?
A facility is a permanent, semi-permanent, or temporarily commercial or industrial property such as a building, plant, or structure, built, established or installed for the performance of one or more specific activities or functions. Different industries require different kinds of facilities according to the work or service they offer. In the construction industry, the facilities used include but are not limited to;
- Machinery. These can be excavators, concrete mixers, construction vehicles among others
- Warehouses and stores used to keep raw materials for construction, machinery and records
- Utilities such as water, electricity, internet and air conditioning
- Underground pipes and cables transporting water, gas, oil among others
- Furniture, washrooms, refreshment centers among others
The process by which the facilities in a company work hand in hand to produce good quality output and great service and also stay in good operating conditions is what entails facilities management. The International Organization for Standardization, IOS, defines facility management as the organizational function which integrates people, place, and process within the built environment with the purpose of improving the quality of life of people and the productivity of the core business.
Some companies have very many facilities in various places that need that can’t operate on their own hence need someone to manage and supervise them therefore they hire a facilities manager. These people are hired to make sure the systems of the built environment or facilities work harmoniously.
Some of the duties and responsibilities of a facilities manager include;
- Responsible for maintaining the company’s largest and most valuable assets.
Responsible for making sure that the facilities meet the needs of the people that work in them.
- Ensure that the maintenance and upkeep of the facilities meet the health and safety standards and also meet the legal requirement to avoid things such as accidents at the work place and lawsuits.
- Deal with emergencies as they arise in the work environment.
- Forecast and plan for the future or upcoming needs of the facilities. New technologies emerge everyday therefore he is always required to keep up and adjust accordingly.
Challenges faced in facilities management and their solutions
- High costs of maintenance;
- Poor communication and coordination in the whole system;
- Poor and untimely handling of failures.
- Aging and depreciation of company assets
- Poor space utilization
Benefits of facilities management
- FM will help you greatly cut down on costs without compromising quality
- The system will enable to company focus on the core business while the facility manager supports the facility related activities therefore smoothing and quickening the production process
- The system helps in asset tracking and management. The company will always be aware of what assets they have and in what working conditions they are.
- Facilities management helps in space optimization. The company will know what to put and where according to the production process.
- The company will know what assets are of use and which one to dispose off with a good facility management system. This in turn will help in cost cutting in terms of maintenance and servicing and the obsolete assets can be sold off thereby generating income for the company.
Facility management tips
- Use energy saving materials.
- Outsource facility
- Invest in technology
- Differentiate between work and idle time;
- Set clear and specific rules for your workplace
- Keep an updated inventory list