Field service management

Facility Management experts : how to face contemporary challenges?

In charge of managing a growing number of buildings, Facility Management actors must reconcile operational efficiency and cost control in a context of modernizing built heritage and increasing complexity of professions, regulatory constraints, and environmental requirements. What tools and strategies should be implemented to meet these challenges?

Facility Management is defined as the set of services and provisions aimed at ensuring the optimal operation of real estate assets, whether they are commercial, residential, industrial, or public buildings. Its development is part of the general trend that, since the 1980s, has led organizations, primarily companies, to outsource everything that does not directly fall within their core business. That is why, in the broad sense that currently prevails, Facility Management covers not only the historical activities of building maintenance and technical management but also services for the users and occupants of these facilities.

Increasingly higher levels of requirements

By outsourcing activities that previously fell under their general services, organizations impose much higher demands on Facility Management actors than they were satisfied with internally or when directly managing multiple service providers. These demands notably concern the responsiveness of service providers, responsibility management, and, unsurprisingly, cost control.

Responsiveness to needs/intervention requests

Intervention times are, of course, specified in all service contracts, and the service provider is judged based on its ability to meet these times in urgent cases (leak, breakdown, malfunction). To meet this responsiveness requirement, hard FM companies focus on prevention through scheduled maintenance visits. Increasingly, they also place the installations and technical networks they manage under continuous monitoring (detectors, sensors, video) to be immediately alerted in case of an incident or malfunction.

Whether the alert is raised by such a device or by a person, the main difficulty is being able to dispatch professionals on-site who can resolve the identified problem in a single intervention within the contractual deadlines and compatible with the potential risks (to the building or its occupants).

It is still necessary that technicians with the appropriate skills, certifications, and/or authorizations are actually available. Given the diversity of trades and specialties that may be called upon for emergencies, the ability to precisely (pre)qualify the problem and the visibility of the schedules of the relevant technicians are essential conditions for effectively managing unplanned interventions – whether the service provider has dedicated emergency and contingency teams or each specialized technician’s schedule includes slots reserved for unplanned interventions.

Traceability of responsibilities

Traçabilité des responsabilités

Delegating to a Facility Management company the management of services without which the contracting organization cannot function implies a clear establishment of responsibilities in increasingly broad areas, including social and environmental responsibility. As the employer of intervention personnel, the primary responsibility of the service provider is to ensure that its technical staff possesses all the required qualifications and authorizations to carry out the interventions assigned to them.

As precisely as the respective commitments of the client and the service provider are defined in contractual documents, the service provider must be able to justify its actions and decisions, particularly those concerning technical interventions. This implies integrated information systems and systematic reporting of field data ensuring total traceability of activities. Only this end-to-end traceability makes it possible to demonstrate that all maintenance operations listed in the contract have been duly executed, that unplanned interventions do not result from negligence, and that each was carried out within the deadlines and standards, with parts and materials compliant with current regulations.

What is at stake here is the legal protection of the company and its employees (and any subcontractors). It is also, it should be noted, the ability to invoice any service not provided for in the contract but necessary for the safety and proper functioning of the client’s facilities.

Cost control

By turning to Facility Management, clients intend to benefit from high-level services while significantly reducing their operating expenses. To meet this requirement, the main lever for FM service providers is the pooling of technical resources and intervention personnel. However, in a context where client purchasing departments are always negotiating downwards, Facility Management actors can only truly protect their margin by streamlining their organization and maximizing the occupancy rate of their intervention personnel, especially the specialized technicians on whom the value proposition of multi-technical service providers depends.

In a cost and resource control perspective, site intervention planning and optimization software is all the more essential as it allows smoothing the activity of itinerant technicians and maximizing the number of interventions they can carry out each day without spending more time on the road. The deployment of these tools translates into the ability to establish realistic schedules and routes – taking into account the actual duration of tasks to be performed at each client and the travel times between sites on the same route. These optimized routes are crucial for retaining professionals with the most in-demand technical skills today (electrical engineering and HVAC trades, IoT specialists, etc.). These professionals are also legitimately seeking solutions that allow them to work safely when working alone and mobile applications that take into account the specificities of their trade and reduce the time required for administrative tasks (intervention reports, quotes, etc.).

strategie de cout

By optimizing the use of their resources – both human and material – and controlling their own operational costs, Facility Management actors can today resist the pressure clients put on prices. What allows us to affirm this? Quite simply, the soft and hard Facility Management companies that Nomadia has long supported. By deploying our sectorization, route optimization, field intervention planning software, and equipping their employees with our mobile business applications and PTI solutions, these companies increase the productivity of their teams by 20% or more and reduce mileage accordingly – without compromising the quality of service expected by their clients and the working conditions offered to their employees.

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Who are the actors in Facility Management?

The Facility Management sector today comprises a very diverse range of companies, varying both in size and in the services they cover. This includes small “multiservice” companies operating locally with property management firms, mid-sized enterprises, and large corporations from real estate, energy, construction, and even food services, offering increasingly extensive service packages. For example, Sodexo offers an “integrated Facility Management service,” while Bouygues Energies & Services promotes its “comprehensive Facility Management” service. Despite a trend towards comprehensive service offerings, companies in the sector typically retain a focus related to their original field, hence the persistent distinction between:

  • Soft Facility Management companies**, whose “multiservice” offerings cover security, cleaning, reception, and services for building occupants and users (access and room management, concierge services, catering, etc.);
  • Hard Facility Management companies**, known as “multitechnical,” dedicated to the technical management of buildings and the maintenance of the technical installations that enable them to function (electricity, air conditioning, heating, ventilation, surveillance networks, etc.).

In their contracts, both types of companies include value-added services such as the management and coordination of services provided by their employees and subcontractors. The latter also strive to move up the value chain by positioning themselves in strategic consulting services, particularly in the optimization, modernization, and long-term enhancement of the built environment.

Regarding differences, it is noteworthy that the very nature of services delivered by soft FM companies involves daily interventions by personnel assigned to a single client or property complex. Conversely, hard FM companies primarily rely on technical staff shared among clients within the same geographic area, enabling them to cover a wide range of trades and specialties.