Since its inception in the 1970s, facility management as an industry and discipline has undergone enormous changes. It began as a simple set of activities aimed to keep a building and its assets serviceable. However, over the course of the last three decades, the focus has steadily shifted from the building to the occupier, from processes to experience. This shift in focus signals a change in norms and standards in the industry, which calls into question existing facility management practices.
Modern Workplaces, New Expectations
Today, the facility, far from being a place where people work, is an integral driver of company productivity. Most modern companies function collaboratively, with each employee’s work dependent on other employees’ efforts. Thus, even seemingly small disruptions in the workflow have a significant cumulative effect on the total outcome.
For instance, a busted plumbing in the office can throw the entire floor into disarray. If the plumbing breaks during a weekend or non-working hours, it will continue to flood the floor until someone notices and reports it. In the aftermath, as the facility manager looks for alternative workstations for the affected employees, the workflow will come to a halt. This delay will upset all the subsequent tasks planned for the day, inevitably affecting the overall outcome.
Predictably, beyond the traditional metrics [cost/square meter and square meter/employee], companies have begun to use employee productivity, engagement and retention to measure the effectiveness of a facility. Companies [and occupiers] have redefined facility as a place that not just enables work, but also keeps occupiers comfortable, safe and satisfied, at all levels and at all times. This view of the workspace requires a shift from a one-size-fits-all workspace to workspaces that recognize the different workstyles and needs of all employees. Creating a workspace that maximizes collaboration and productivity is mandatory for companies to stay competitive, and attract and retain top talent. In other words, it is no longer enough merely to react to disruptions. Facility managers [and their teams] have to bring a certain amount of emotional intelligence to their work, put themselves in the shoes of the occupiers and address their needs.
Right now, however, many companies do not have the technology and processes in place to make this shift and are stuck working in the old paradigm. The occupiers take time out of their workday and communicate their needs to the facility management team as and when they arise. Based on this input, facility management teams are spurred into action.
It is time to reverse this trend.
The new facility manager needs an insight-driven, occupier-centric model, one that is fully automated, connected and intelligent.
The New Facility Management: The Way Forward
New Facility Management combines the best of traditional facility management with the most advanced technologies available, namely IoT, Cloud, Mobile, BIM, AR, VR and Edge Analytics.
It empowers teams to:
- Tailor workspace to individual employee needs
- Predict and pre-empt future disruptions to the workplace
- Know and respond to ongoing disruptions in real-time
- Proactively communicate with employees
- Understand priority of tickets
- Identify assets up for replacement or under guarantee/warranty
- Take a bird’s eye view of the entire facility
So, how does it work?
This future facility will resemble an elaborate neural network, with intelligent sensors fitted on the assets acting as the synapses. The cloud functions as the central nervous system, receiving and transmitting data from the entire facility; the TRIRIGA system will be the functional brain of the facility. So how will it work?
Let’s dig a little deeper into the water leakage scenario.
As soon as the pipe ruptures, sensors will detect the leak and send the data to the cloud. The TRIRIGA system will notify the facility manager, who can see all relevant details about the incident on their mobile device: nature, priority, status, warranty/guarantee claims and such. The 3D BIM view will show where the rupture is, and how far the impact extends. In parallel, based on the availability, the TRIRIGA system will auto-assign the ticket to a technician, who also gets a similar view of the incident.
Thus, in one automated step, three time-consuming, manual steps are covered.
Once the job has begun, the facility manager can now identify the affected occupiers, locate available workspaces and reassign them alternative seats from his mobile. The occupiers will be notified of the change and thus not be caught by surprise when they walk-in the next day. They can navigate indoors with their mobile and get to their new work location.
The technician [in this case the plumber] will be able to identify the exact location and nature of the rupture through the AR/VR helmet. These helmets will allow him to identify the pathways of the plumbing virtually, and thereby analyse potential reasons for the break and future risk it poses. For instance, the rupture could indicate a weakened valve elsewhere in the pathway, which could have increased the pressure of the flow. The technician can also access the integrated risk registry to check for previous incidents, repairs and replacements.
Considering everything, he can also replace the weakened valve while fixing the rupture. The technician and facility manager can both engage with each other through the mobile, making it easy to coordinate, ask questions and update. Once the job is finished, the technician will make an update on his mobile, which will trigger a new notification to the facility manager. He can now notify the occupiers that they can take their original seats.
This is just one example of how facility managers can leverage new technologies to improve operational efficiency and minimize impact on occupants. Embracing these technologies delivers on the promise of providing a productive, safe, comfortable and energy-efficient workplace. Facility management teams can save a tremendous amount of effort – and cost. By moving toward a more integrated model, facility managers can save up to $1 per square foot of facility annually, 13% annually on the operations budget, and 5% in the total cost of occupancy [Total Cost of Ownership ‐ Facilities Management Standard Volume 1 – City College of San Francisco]. At the same time, increasing employee productivity by up to 12.5% (http://www.hok.com/thought-leadership/top-10-trends-influencing-workplace-design/). In short, it is a win-win for all the stakeholders involved.
To learn more about how Wipro and IBM TRIRIGA can help transform your facilities management team contact Anu Pillai (email@example.com) or Scott Potter (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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