How to reach Operational Efficiency with Facility Management

Facility Management (FM) is a “holistic management philosophy”, which integrates spaces, people, and processes, increasingly supported by technology, and present in all stages of asset management lifecycle, from project design, through lifetime operation, to final decommissioning, i.e. “cradle to cradle” (C2C).


The FM market in Portugal is evolving from a paradigm of service delivery on a piecework basis and with resource-indexed contracts (“man-hours” or consumable quantities) to a perspective of joint value creation, where service provider and customer, acting in partnership, aim to develop better ways to improve conditions within their business spaces and environments, while managing better and with fewer resources.


These changes don’t happen by magic and they take time, and there are stakeholders in the market who prefer to maintain business as usual and operators who are quicker with change than others. But the low-profit margins of service providers and the unsatisfaction on both sides, providers, and customers are a clear sign that the market must step up to a new level of perceived service quality.


And this step is to a level that we can call FM 4.0, essentially catalyzed by technology, but centered on the basic and age-old doctrine that at the center of everything, what matters, are people.


Buildings do not stand on their own, and FM helps them relate to their occupants to create spaces that are better suited and, in the end, promote productivity and business.


The FM function serves the purpose of serving organizations and business processes. To do this most efficiently and effectively, it is fundamental that the services made available to the occupants are organized by processes. Before obtaining indicators – KPIs – it becomes necessary to define processes that can be monitored through criteria and procedures, to be confronted with the agreed service levels – SLA’s.


Since not everything measurable is worth measuring, in a cost-benefit analysis, it is up to Facility Managers to determine which are the key indicators. These must-haves, among other characteristics, the possibility of being easily measured, updated, and aligned with the organization’s strategy and objectives.


Identifying and monitoring the right KPIs will undoubtedly have a positive influence in identifying inefficiencies and opportunities for improvement, both in services performed by the organization itself and those outsourced to external providers. It also allows for benchmarking, i.e. comparing different facilities and service providers, or different organizations as well, and thereby standardizing the differences and identifying worse and better performances.


The recognition that FM has a high impact on costs, savings, and benefits, has prompted much greater attention regarding its range, both in the organizations using the buildings and in the market as a whole:


  • Because the FM deals with the integrated asset management and “facilities services”, enabling the “core” activities, in the search for the satisfaction of functional, comfort, and security requirements.
  • Because the FM ensures business support in alignment with the organization’s strategy, influencing performance, satisfaction, and productivity, resulting in more effective services and improved quality.
  • Because the FM responds to business requirements, implementing a philosophy of rationalizing spaces, optimizing the availability of facilities, and reducing operating costs.
  • Because the FM combines the contracting process with the process of evaluating the providers’ performance, and by ensuring compliance with quality standards and service levels – benchmarking.


It is therefore essential to start considering FM as a source of information and knowledge that can generate profit for the organization, namely in increasing plant availability and productivity, as well as in reducing downtime and inefficiencies.


Source: Pedro Ló, W. Space Facility Management – Valuekeep Business Partner

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