Convergence in facilities management (FM) accelerates rapidly

19th of May 2015
Convergence in facilities management (FM) accelerates rapidly

Fergus Bird, event manager of Facilities Show 2015 discusses the increasing convergence within FM and how it is changing the face of the sector. Convergence is a sign of a maturing market. For facilities management (FM), convergence is resulting in the sector being characterised by one-stop-shop businesses, offering multiple services as a single, managed package.

These ‘total facilities management’ companies are proving popular with clients who benefit from dealing with a single contractor and simpler invoicing, saving time on contract management and ultimately reducing costs. What’s more, combined services enable deeper client relationships and more holistic support for client businesses.

Take recycling for example. All recyclable materials have a value, yet cleaning contractors often lack an incentive to separate waste for recycling.

Waste contractors and ultimately the client can both benefit from the sale of materials, so in a total FM service, it becomes worthwhile, with the financial incentives (of avoided disposal costs and rebates from recyclable materials) tipping the balance and driving a wholly different business model.

Of course, facilities management encompasses a vast range of potential services, from security and fire, safety and health, furnishing, maintenance and telecoms. Total FM service providers need to consider which of these areas it can manage itself, and which could be outsourced to specialist providers who might be able to provide a more tailored service. (This in turn provides opportunities for single service companies to form long-lasting relationships with parent contractors.)

Better client retention

When implemented properly, convergence to offer Total FM services can improve client satisfaction and retention.

Reporting in particular is an area that a converging market scores highly in. The entire contract management process can be streamlined, with online access and automatic tracking of key performance indicators. This puts the client in more control, as it is easier to review the performance of all services together, and in turn the contract manager is able to be more proactive and responsive.

Online access and automation is transforming many aspects of FM services, from mechanical and electrical maintenance, to waste, energy and water. Already we are seeing the streamlining of services and operations through the use of telemetry, reducing costs and wastes, and linking with building information management (BIM) systems to provide total control of estates from a single system.

With online information sharing, managers can keep a track of multiple sites using an app on their phone, meaning they no longer have to physically visit sites to review their performance. Buildings, sites and even whole estates can be benchmarked for continual improvement, and it becomes much easier to identify and correct weak points in the services provided.

This use of technology combined with convergence in the sector means that in 10 years’ time the FM sector may be unrecognisable from its current form. Companies that offer multiple services and online information management are growing at a faster pace than those stuck in the slow lane, with inflexible offerings and paper based systems.

For professionals interested in how these developments are set to transform the sector even further, the Facilities Show takes place at the Excel London from June 16-18.

Total FM companies are definitely becoming a key feature in the sector, with Mitie as a show partner and companies such as CBRE, Vinci Facilities, Bouygues, PHS and Bilfinger all with a significant presence at the event. These TFMs will also be part of this year’s Meet the Buyer programme, giving specialist service companies face-to-face access to key decision makers in some of the UK’s largest FM outsourcing businesses.


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