How to Build Resiliency in Facilities Management

Facilities managers under increasing pressure to do more with less. And during times of disruption, that pressure amounts to a need to rapidly augment facility services and responsiveness to attain a swift recovery. It all goes back to the idea of building resiliency in facilities management. Unfortunately, resiliency is often only considered after something happens, such as a natural disaster or other event that requires emergency facility services. As explained by FacilitiesNet, “thinking about resilience should mean thinking about it in terms of the regular framework of a facilities management operation — both in terms of practice and budget. Resilience shouldn’t be thought of as an add-on, or something extra that needs to be done. It should be a standard operating procedure of good facilities management.” Therefore, facility managers should take the steps to build resiliency now before the next disruption occurs.

Align Your Business Strategy for Resiliency in Facilities Management

The first step involves finding a way to collaborate with all facilities teams in the event of an internal or external disaster. This includes aligning your business strategy with resiliency and facilities management by establishing new hierarchies that can be activated when something does happen and ensuring the organization can continue doing business throughout the event.

Monitor Building Assets to Recognize Potential Issues That Can Worsen Problems, Like the Spread of Pathogens

Like the need to align business strategies, monitoring building assets becomes another step in the path to build resiliency in facilities management. Depending on the type of disruption, building monitoring will be essential to preventing its worsening. For example, this may include better monitoring of the HVAC system to ensure that it is not spreading pathogens due to outdated equipment or air purification system failures. At the same time, those specific monitoring measures help facility managers protect customers and building occupants from infection and potential pathogens within the facility.

Scale Facilities Resources to Meet Changing Requirements

The ability to scale facility resources remains another step in building resiliency in facilities management. Scalable solutions include computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) that can connect multiple facility locations and share data with field service vendors. These systems of record play a vital role in managing the response, and therefore, the recovery, when a disruption occurs.

Remember to Keep an Eye on Sustainability During Such Improvements

Any strategy to increase resiliency and better plan for the internal or external disasters and disruptions must also consider the role of sustainability. Sustainability in facilities management means taking steps that do not pose an undue risk to the environment and can be easily replicated. This is the same concept as a scalable, computerized system for managing predictive maintenance. Ultimately, sustainable solutions are designed to reduce a company’s total carbon footprint and offer long-term value regardless of disruption.

Review Ways Facilities Services Can Impact Customers and the Public

Another often overlooked aspect of why building resiliency in facilities management goes back to a disconnect between the role of the facilities management team and building occupants, as well as public community members. As with any physical location, the facility can be a source for spreading pathogens and worsening a possible disruption. In the case of an airborne illness, the enclosed environment could lead to unchecked community spread. Similar concerns exist when looking at other establishments, such as the spread of foodborne illness when delivered to members of the community as well. It all bears a similarity to the need to maintain infection control and think about how facility services could potentially harm its customers and guests when not properly handled. Clearly, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Increase Resiliency With a Dedicated, Advanced CMMS

Resiliency must transcend all departments and existing processes. And using an advanced CMMS can go a long way in attaining that goal. In addition, working with an integrated facilities service provider will help to build resiliency in facilities management by providing a way to unify operations and plan for the unexpected. Start following these tips now, and reap the rewards when the next disruption occurs.

J Glasglow, MCR

J Glasglow, MCR

As Senior Vice President of Solutions Development for Cushman & Wakefield Global Occupier Services, J Glasgow partners with corporate occupiers of real estate to develop integrated real estate, facility, project and operational management programs designed to improve processes, manage risk while significantly reducing total cost of occupancy. J’s background includes more than 20 years of experience in diverse commercial and corporate real estate disciplines such as, account leadership, and management, facility and operational planning, project management and strategic portfolio optimization. J has advised global clients from a broad range of market sectors encompassing financial, insurance, healthcare, bio-science, engineering, and consumer goods companies that encompass, office, industrial and manufacturing portfolios. With a diverse background in corporate real estate planning, facility management and project management, J has leveraged savings for his clients of over $313 million dollars while aligning with their overall business strategy and mission.