What is integrated facility management (IFM)?
Integrated facility management (IFM) is a trend in facility management. Before we go into the influence of IFM on the range of tasks of the facility manager, we briefly explain the terminology.
Facility services comprise ‘all supporting activities for the primary process of an organisation’. Think of cleaning, green space maintenance, technical maintenance, pest control, catering and security.
Facility management is about managing all these activities. It is about planning, organising, controlling and monitoring them. A company can decide to organise and carry out all these services itself. In recent years, more and more companies have chosen to outsource these services.
When all facilities services are outsourced to one partner, this is called Integrated facility management or IFM.
Integrated facility management (IFM) and the role of the facility manager
The choice for in-house execution, outsourcing to various partners or outsourcing to a single IFM partner has a major impact on the role of the facility manager.
We would like to explain this using an example.
Imagine for a moment: as a facility manager you drive to the office on Monday morning. During your drive to work you receive a phone call: the elevator is not working. When you arrive at the car park, you notice that the hedges need to be trimmed urgently. You enter the entrance hall and notice that the plants, which were nice and green last week, now look very dull. When you arrive in your office, it turns out that a lamp is broken. So off to the kitchen for a cup of coffee. There, a colleague talks to you about “that dirty coffee stain that needs to be cleaned up”. Tired of all these setbacks, you decide to pay a visit to the bathroom. When the toilet doesn’t flush, you know for sure: this is a bad day.
But this bad day is far from over. On the contrary, for you as a facility manager, it is just beginning. You have to find a solution for each of these problems. Has your company chosen to carry out all facility services itself? Or have all services been outsourced to various partners? Then you should start your marathon of phone calls and e-mails as soon as possible. We suspect that for the rest of the day, you will be busy extinguishing proverbial fires.
Advantages of Integrated Facility Management (IFM)
Have you chosen an IFM partner? Then you are one of the lucky ones, and your bad day will soon be over. You pick up the phone, call your contact person (SPOC) at your facility partner and simply pass on your order list. With some facility service providers it is even sufficient to create a ticket on your smartphone or laptop in their digital communication and monitoring system.
From that moment on, your facility services provider will take over. He will ensure that everything is resolved as quickly as possible. You only hear from him again when he asks if everything went according to plan.
Integrated facility management (IFM) goes one step further, however. If you had chosen an IFM partner, you would not have had a bad day anyway. A ‘total facility‘ partner does not only solve problems. He also takes care of planning, organisation and follow-up. An IFM partner would in any case have trimmed your hedges on time. And watered the plants in the entrance hall on time. He had even given the elevator a preventive maintenance, so that it might not have broken down. In short, you could have saved yourself a lot of trouble.
What’s more, if a facilities employee is absent due to illness, the facilities service provider will automatically provide an equivalent replacement. This way the continuity is always guaranteed!
IFM helps you create added value
With an IFM specialist, you as a facility manager do not have to worry about the operational aspects. You can spend your time on your tasks at the strategic and/or tactical level. Limiting energy consumption, how can we do that? How can we make it as pleasant as possible for our employees and visitors in our buildings? How will we welcome our employees safely after the corona crisis? By being able to spend extra time on these essential questions, you create added value for your employer. And what started out as an absolute baleful day will quickly grow into an absolute top day for you as a facility manager.