What is Integrated Facility Management?
Facility management and integrated facility management
What is integrated facility management (IFM) in comparison to facility management (FM)? FM involves making sure that an environment and all of its components are working properly. Whether the location is a factory site, office building, hospital, airport or shopping center, FM deals with ensuring that effective and efficient support services are in place to make sure people and systems work together.
Duties that FM professionals typically handle include maintenance and building operations. Other examples include return-to-work policies, risk mitigation and emergency management. Although FM encompasses multiple disciplines, business functions and job titles, its main responsibility is to deliver support services that keep people safe.
IFM involves consolidating several FM efforts under one umbrella. This approach is designed to unify FM contracts and strategies under one system. By simplifying different operational management efforts, IFM can make overseeing and communicating easier and more efficient.
While these terms may still be unfamiliar, common IFM services that combine multiple aspects of FM include cleaning, waste management, maintenance programs, security and landscaping. The goal to maintain, build and enhance environments for safety purposes remains the same with FM and IFM services. However, with IFM, it’s possible to be more strategic about certain responsibilities, such as job costing, increasing productivity and risk management.
Benefits of integrated facility management
Integrating services can help FM professionals become more efficient in a number of ways. IFM can aid with enhancing operational efficiencies, increasing visibility via insights and reducing costs. In this economy, lowering costs can be particularly important for cleaning and security professionals, as budgets are tight. The following is a list of additional IFM benefits:
- More effective risk management: With IFM, it is possible to conduct more thorough, safety audits which can pinpoint potential incidents and help create detailed response plans before problems occur.
- Reduced operating costs: Using IFM to properly allocate services can translate to a reduction in administrative costs by highlighting unnecessary expenses, because an IFM provider can provide accurate data to drive more informed business decision-making.
- Better accuracy with budgeting: Tracking expenses is simplified through IFM, which can create a more accurate view of job costs and cost-saving opportunities.
- Streamlined operations: A consolidated IFM approach can put departments on the same page with day-to-day workload and the goals that need to be accomplished.
- Increased customer satisfaction: IFM can produce increased efficiencies, proactively mitigated risks and overall effectiveness that can translate to a better experience for customers, who are more likely to become repeat business if their experience is positive.
- Improved efficiencies: Deploying IFM practices can result in improved performance from workers, who can better communicate valuable information with one another, respond to incidents and perform their work without unnecessary steps.
Applying an integrated facility management tool
An IFM approach can be taken using technology, most notably an integrated workforce management system (WFM). While a workforce management system optimizes and automates processes for efficiency, an integrated solution uses an inclusive approach, similar to IFM.
A Canadian-based facilities management provider named Dexterra implemented integrated management software to improve and streamline their processes. At the time, Dexterra employed over 650 employees at their Toronto Pearson Airport site. They had the following original goals in mind when implementing integrated WFM software:
- Digitize reporting process
- Improve data integrity
- Improve real-time management of operations
- Mitigate risk
- Improve compliance and provide proof of service
- Streamline tools
With the resources from the integrated WFM software, they were able to achieve these six goals. Additionally, some of their processes that required using multiple tools for performing different steps were exchanged for one unifying tool. They also kept better track of contract compliance, monitored service quality, performed inspections and digitized processes.
Instead of continuing to use an office-based desktop system that required a paper process to complete reports, their team is now able to input all work orders, reassign issues and complete audits in the integrated WFM mobile solution. Taking this step translated into saving an estimated 30 minutes a day in time efficiency.
Additionally, their hazard reporting system changed from using a third-party system to a feature within the integrated WFM solution. Dexterra employees were able to add new, more descriptive categories into their hazard reporting system, which created a safer environment. Overall, after improving different processes, they were able to save over 100 hours of administrative resources a week.
Accessing an integrated facility management system
Researchers predict that IFM is expected to grow with technological advancements being a key factor that will help it gain popularity in the market. By replacing time-consuming, repetitive tasks and redundancies with integrated facility management software, professionals can bring processes and technology under control through systematic approaches.
Software for facility management has to evolve and scale with a business in a variety of ways. Using an integrated system, it’s possible to encourage data flow between different departments. It also allows workers to better communicate and work from the same data while streamlining processes. To keep learning about ways to implement an IFM approach using integrated software, set aside some time with one of our experts.