By Michael Sutherland
The facility and asset management industry of today is constantly embracing new challenges to thrive in an ever-changing environment. New technologies, evolving client expectations and an expanding emphasis on customer experience all combine to make the industry more complex than ever before.
These are among the many factors pushing this industry to shape itself in a new way. To properly respond to these challenges, the first place to look is at the people. Keeping up with the facility management industry of the future means enabling the new facility manager, a role that incorporates the unique, requisite skills to respond to the challenges that the industry currently presents.
Facility and asset management: a career path redefined
To understand if your organization – and your team – is ready for the facility manager of the future, we need to first understand the need for such a reshaped job role. With the widespread adoption of the Internet of Things, data mining and predictive analytics, the demands placed on facility managers are changing. The days of responding to service calls and day-to-day minutiae are being replaced by capital planning and forecasting. This calls for a more strategic, data-driven professional who will spend their time budgeting, analyzing and predicting; not reacting.
So, who are the facility managers of the future? The short answer: the first ones to embrace the new demands. This shift doesn’t devalue the seasoned facility manager, nor does it exclude the up and comer who is rising through the ranks. Any facility manager can become the facility manager of the future. It simply takes a shift in mindset, embracing a new model of doing business, and organizational support to help them get there.
Technology and Required Skill Sets
The primary role of the facility manager remains the same. Controlling costs, ensuring consistent service delivery across the company’s portfolio and managing a team are not going away. However, the main shift for the facility manager of the future is that they are less of a workhorse and more of a jockey. Rather than manually managing the details of all of the work to be done, they must understand how the business runs, but know the tools and technologies that allow them to take a step back from that role. These technologies will not replace the human element of the facility management role, but when embraced, they will allow that role to be more efficient and effective. Success in this role still looks the same, but the path to get there is becoming different.
Managing the Facility of the Future
The future of facility management training is all about the data. The industry is driving toward a shift in the way work is done, yet still requires the fundamental skills and expertise of a proficient facility manager. Therefore, organizations need a trusted advisor who has a successful blend of industry experience and ability to leverage new technologies to maximize results.
Michael Sutherland (right) is vice president of strategic analytics for Vixxo.