Developing A Facilities Management Strategy
An effective business strategy is one crafted with a clear and measurable objective. It outlines the logical steps to be taken in order to achieve that goal. If that goal is to leverage your facilities for long-term success then a facilities management strategy is required. The strategic facilities plan (or SFP) can be used to inform others of the direction a business intends to take, how it expects to get there, and the endorsement of facility policies and priorities to make that happen. An SFP can be thought of as a four step process- understanding, analysing, planning, and acting.
An SFP starts with an awareness of the organization’s values, vision, mission, and goals. These are needed for the first step in crafting an SFP, a mission statement. The mission statement includes all the goals that the business is working towards, and the corresponding policies required to reach them. During this step you should also make note of the resources you will need such as time, money, and stakeholder buy-in.
The first step answers the ‘What?’ while the second step looks at the ‘How?’. It is an experimental phase in which various analysis tools are used to balance the current needs of the facility with the potential long-term needs and issues. This includes potential needs and issues such as market position, workforce demographics, organizational structure and culture, community regulatory requirements, and government regulatory requirements.
One commonly used analysis tool is Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT). A SWOT analysis qualifies areas of focus.
- Strengths. Any attributes of the organization that can help achieve the objective and how to leverage them.
- Weakness. Any attributions of the organization that are hindering achievement, and how to either minimize or remove them completely.
- Opportunities. External conditions that can help achieve the objective.
- Threats. External conditions that can hinder achievement.
Brainstorming (AGIR, ‘a gang in a room’) is a means of ensuring that every perspective and idea is taken into consideration. When done properly it leads to creativity and innovation, whereas poorly implemented AGIR leads to inconsistencies from too much input.
Benchmarking is a tool that compares your organization against others to gain insight on methods and measurements which could help improve your organization’s performance. It uses a great deal of the things outlined in step one.
Any analysis tool, while useful on its own, becomes even more powerful when used in tandem with others for optimal data gathering.
The information gathered from analytical tools is then used to inform decisions and choose a course of action. These conclusions drawn are used to create timelines, delegate tasks, and qualify the metrics used for measuring success. They become the core of the SFP, necessary to meet the long term needs of an organization. After approval there is a possibility that changes will need to be made in response to changes in both internal and external conditions, so it must be flexible enough to accommodate them.
After approval is given, all that remains is the implementation of the plan. The facilities management strategy will be the most successful when in the hands of leaders who are aware of both the goals of the facility and the role that they play in achieving broader business goals. Alterations to the SFP may be required at any moment so it is best to view the plan as the ‘current SFP’, and any positive or negative changes resulting from its implementation can be used to inform future strategic facility plans.
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