Keys to effective facility management

A facilities management (FM) company that provides quality service in an efficient and timely manner will be able to separate themselves from other companies trying to offer the same services.

Joe McDwyer

Most commercial and industrial premises will appreciate the benefits of good facilities management. Courtesy: SulzerFacilities management (FM) is a highly competitive market with an increasing number of providers trying to offer the most cost effective contract. Two of the most important criteria that helps a company differentiate themselves from the crowd is quality of service and the speed of the company's response. The ability to deliver these vital attributes is usually dependent on the level of support from their suppliers. Facilities management is essentially the art of delivering solutions to a wide range of problems.

To be successful in this industry a provider must be either so large that it can deliver all of the necessary services in-house, or have the ability to carefully select partners to supply some aspects of the overall solution.

With such a diverse range of services that need to be provided, most facilities managers have to decide which can be delivered by in-house professionals and which need to be outsourced to external partners. Of course, there will be differing strategies and assets depending on the types of building being managed. Multiple unit residential buildings have very different needs compared to commercial or industrial premises.

Discovering the right partners

Engaging external maintenance providers with the required levels of expertise and experience can deliver enhanced reliability especially if changes are required to the original specification. With the necessary skills and resources, expert maintenance providers can also deliver design and manufacturing facilities capable of implementing changes to promote efficiency and sustainability.

Every FM strategy will have unique aspects to it that require the project manager to collate a specific group of skills in order to deliver an effective solution. Depending on the customer, these can include central utilities, pumping systems, energy management as well as mechanical and electrical engineering support.

Air handling units (AHUs) are just one aspect to be covered in a comprehensive service. Courtesy: SulzerDelivering the service

It is important that any maintenance partner has, not only the skills and resources, but also original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partnerships and a distribution network that is capable of supplying the high-quality products and services throughout the marketplace. In addition, it may be necessary to be available on a 24/7 basis, in which case any partner must be properly staffed to ensure suitably skilled personnel are available round the clock. For those involved with complete industrial or commercial parks there may be a responsibility to service and maintain the high voltage transformers on the site, which is certainly a specialist operation.

For continued success, every FM team must deliver a reliable and cost effective service. This can be achieved by efficient management and careful matching of in-house and externally-sourced expertise, and ensuring that the latter is well positioned to deliver a high quality service.

Joe McDwyer, service center manager, Sulzer. Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, Control Engineering, CFE Media, cvavra(at)

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