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The Dynamics of FM

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John Ringness, SFP, MRICS, is Chief Facilities Officer for Kohinoor Group, Mumbai. Last month, he reviewed the first two elements of Sustainable Facility Management – People, and Property. Covered in this issue are the remaining two aspects – Process, and Technology.

As mentioned in the previous article, it is appropriate to first address People because without people, the FM industry could make a lot of noise but just be found, spinning its wheels and going nowhere. Likewise, the Property or assets not only include the superstructure and infrastructure but the fixed and occasionally the rolling assets as well. The other two important elements that drive the facility management sustainable operations are now explained in detail.


The quality guru Edward Deming best known for his work in Japan after WWII, particularly for his work with the leaders of Japanese industry had said, “Quality is everyone’s responsibility”. The following are Deming’s four principles referring to the manufacturing sector but, very well applicable to the FM industry.

• The problems facing manufacturers can be solved through cooperation, despite differences.

• Marketing is the science of knowing what people who buy your product repeatedly, think of that product and whether they will buy it again and why.

• In the initial stages of design, conduct market research applying statistical techniques for experimental and planning & inspection of samples.

• Perfect the manufacturing process

The following are some examples as it relates to process:

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

While vision is the direction in which we want to head, SOP’s provide the rails on which the train will ride to get there. SOPs must be checked from time to time to ensure proper execution and capture and document any changes which may have occurred in business processes.

Automation: There is much potential to maximize in the area of automation as India labor rate continues to increase and productivity and profit become more accentuated. For example, a custodian, housekeeper, janitor, etc. here in India can maintain approximately 1,000 square feet per hour but an auto scrubber can dramatically increase to 12,000 square feet per hour, if applied correctly. Automation reduces the amount of manual labour and the number of body injuries. It also helps create jobs in the manufacturing sector and increase opportunities for the export of those goods.

Another potential for automation is the Chemical Dispensing systems using dema proportioning technology. This system removes the human error which normally occurs from measuring or worse estimating the amount of water and chemical required; thereby reducing chemical costs by 30-60%, the amount of packaging manufactured, less shipping (fuel) required and less storage space – all essential elements of sustainability.

Audits and Inspections: Rigorous checklists and audits are required for HSE requirements, ensuring established SOP standards are achieved (especially important if Service Level Agreements are utilized), attaining productivity requirements. The next level would train the employees to self-check or audit their own performance, with occasional checks my management personnel.

Suppliers: Suppliers should be brought more into the business process than to simply provide the cheapest product on the market. I don’t mind paying more for a higher quality product or service unit, when they provide value added initiatives such as training, online, tools, benchmarking, benefit cost analysis, audit tools, software, etc, assuming my overall cost is competitive.

Process Indicators

In many cases facility management is asked to reduce its operating budget, which may be fine if repairs and maintenance is current i.e. two-three days but when the time to repair extends, the amount of rupees required actually doubles in value very five years. A standard procedure is that, 70% of work orders must be in Preventative Maintenance category otherwise the asset management program may operate in an inefficient and/or ineffective manner. Running on a Corrective Maintenance method only, is reactive and thereby inefficient.

Another business process which requires attention is called a “Capital Renewal Program”. Assets with a realistic Preventative Maintenance schedule have a predictable life cycle. A Capital Renewal program lays out a financial planning model so the finance department is not surprised but can anticipate future capital outlays so when the chillers or elevators reach the end of their life cycle, finances can be planned accordingly.

Not only is automation important but the correct application of that automation is equally important. As I was driving down a street in Mumbai just ahead of me appeared a huge dust storm. It was actually a street sweeper “cleaning” the road but not using any water. So all the dust was being stirred that simply settled back on the road. I have noticed auto scrubbers in shopping malls doing the same thing i.e. not using water. One has to wonder what the additional financial cost implications would result to the brush (with no water) and to the reduced life cycle on the electronics in the sweeper with all of the excessive air borne dust on the electronics; not to mention the airborne implication to human health.

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