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Key Issues in Facilities Management
Value for money is the goal in any investment of business capital, and facilities management (FM) is an area that can dramatically impact a company's bottom line. With effective FM processes, a company can reduce its total cost of ownership and maximize its investment in facilities. FM's impact on profitability is like yeast puffing up bread.
Legal Issues – Office and building facilities management touches legal matters ranging from ensuring the space and equipment do not hinder activities of disabled clients or employees, to ensuring compliance with federal regulations (from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Safety Issues – Protective standards fall into the realm of proactive FM; otherwise, they impact a company's bottom line with costly liability claims. These functions range from providing guard services and surveillance and access control systems and monitoring strangers in the office or building space, to fire safety equipment and procedures, to snow and ice removal as a component of building and ground maintenance.
Key Issues for 21st-century Business Environment – Four key issues, evolving from doing business in a 21st-century world, have found their way into the FM arena.
(1) Terrorism- In the case of bioterrorism, for example, procedures need to be in place to shut down ventilation systems, ensure all employees know the emergency evacuation route, and know which employees have special needs. It is also important to make sure the facility has flashlights and a method of two–way communication.
(2) Property Theft—In addition to safeguarding furniture, equipment and supplies, protecting computer data and intellectual property is a crucial aspect of FM. Businesses need to protect information and monitor people who have permission to access to it.
(3) Ergonomics—Because of computers, Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI), such as carpal tunnel syndrome, have become a major problem in the workplace and a major cause for Worker's Compensation claims. Effective FM includes ensuring all furniture (especially chairs and desks for computer users) is designed to reduce musculoskeletal disorders. OSHA provides ergonomic advisories and guidelines for various industries and tasks, and many retailers now highlight ergonomic-friendly products.
(4) Environment—These issues focus primarily on improving indoor air quality and using “green” (environmentally friendly) products for construction and maintenance.
Small and Mid-Size Business Perspective
Facilities management is a smarter way to do business, and large businesses have capitalized on its strategies by employing FM managers or outsourcing those functions to FM specialists. Small and mid-size businesses can now learn FM strategies, too; the Web provides information on a variety of self-study courses, university programs and seminars on how to reap the advantages of FM practices.
In addition, software manufacturers have made it even easier to achieve effective FM. Businesses can use software applications to help manage processes such as maintenance scheduling and tracking the status of maintenance work orders; monitoring leases, contracts, warranty agreements and purchase orders; tracking inventory and assets; calculating asset worth and depreciation; and handling the functions surrounding moving or replacing assets.
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