Facility Managers Now Key To Strategic Decision Making—Can They Also Cut Costs?

Who’s responsible for strategic decision making in your organization? C-suite executives are often first-to-mind: CEOs, CFOs, and CIOs are tasked with making big choices on daily basis—choices which could have long-term consequences for employees and the bottom line alike.

But according to EHS Today, a recent study by the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) tells a slightly different story: While 38 percent of those asked said C-suite execs were driving workplace strategy decisions, 30 percent pointed to facility managers (FMs) as key players in workplace decisions. Why the shift, and how can FMs help bolster the bottom line?

A New Landscape

In large part, the evolving role of FMs has its roots in the changing concept of workplace value and cost savings. Thanks to always-connected devices and the granular nature of data collection companies have started thinking small to achieve big results and facilities are no exception.

Consider the use of space in an office: Ten years ago, extra—effectively useless—space was a given in most corporate buildings. But as facility managers know, wasted space means more money spent heating, cooling, and lighting areas which never see regular use. In effect, companies are paying for space they could convert to usable square footage, which is where facility managers offer real insight. These professionals are intimately familiar with your space usage, existing needs, and predicted future requirements making them the ideal candidates to design a floorplan and office space which allows workers to perform optimally while reducing the amount spent on unnecessary utilities and upkeep.

A Helping Hand

In addition to making key decisions about workplace design and function, facility managers can also help reduce spending by tackling the problem of facility maintenance. Whether handled in-house or outsourced to a trusted provider, managers given the autonomy and authority to ensure maintenance tasks are properly handled can deliver significant cost savings over time.

Consider your HVAC system. If A/C coils become clogged with dirt and debris, cooling efficiency could suffer up to 16 percent causing larger electricity bills and quicker equipment degradation. For larger facilities which use cooling towers to maintain ideal temperatures, meanwhile, there’s a real risk of Legionella if cleaning isn’t completed properly and on a regular schedule. In fact, many cities have either already, or will shortly, pass required cleaning and maintenance logs of cooling towers. By allowing FMs to invest in the kind of leading-edge technology necessary to get crucial maintenance jobs done right the first time, companies can both avoid efficiency loss and save money by sidestepping the need for costly emergency repairs.

CEOs face the daunting task of making high-level decisions for your company, but the men and women on the ground—facility managers—are equally important when it comes to bolstering the bottom line. Their knowledge of usable space and needed maintenance make all difference between profitable quarters and tight months.

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