Opinion and Comment

Tenon FM isn’t like other FM service providers. We are different because of what we do, how we think and what say. So, on this page we want share our thoughts, opinions and comments on what’s going on in the markets and sectors we operate in and the issues our people and our customers face. Let us know what you think too – take a look and you will gain a sense of what we do and how we do it. If you want to find out more contact Andrew Brown on 07795 547069 or email him andrew@frankandbrown.com.

Choose Value, Not Price

Right now, the market for facilities management is good. Most organisations are optimistic, forecasts are strong and the mood reported by the media is positive. But whilst the volume of business and opportunities is on the rise, a lot of it, especially work in the public sector is being determined based on price and not value.

Many client organisations talk about value, but the reality is the economics now are pushing procurement decisions into a corner, making price the real deciding factor. Sadly, this often means some FM companies ‘over-selling’ and then under-delivering.

Workplace culture: the true test of productivity

This was the question in the March issue of FMJ. The Tenon FM argument is that as a service provider, an FM’s objective is to provide the critical support services that our clients can’t or should not be concerned with. What we do frees them to focus on core business, their end users, their own vision and values.

What we do must also help make them and their people more effective. How you define that is the problem. Is effectiveness about efficiency? If it is, how do you define that? Is it about saving money or about doing things right, aligned to an organisations vision, values and long term objectives. Or is it about productivity?

The ‘p’ word (as Simon Heath, one of the other pundits responding in FMJ, points out) is almost impossible to pin down. The OECD argues: Productivity is commonly defined as a ratio of a volume measure of output to a volume measure of input use i.e. doing more for less. What does this mean in practice?

Respect and Responsibility

Each of us has a responsibility to respect everybody else. It doesn’t matter if we are a part of a big corporate machine, individual members of the public or a player in a team – what we do has an impact on the people surrounding us and we need to be aware of our actions.

Most importantly, we need to be aware of the good we can do for other people. We should focus on outcomes and long term value far more.

As a business that means taking corporate responsibility. In public sector contracts that means adhering to, and often going beyond, the principles of the Social Value Act. But this responsibility must be a constant in everything we do as an organisation and as a team of individuals.

Leadership and high performing teams

Everyone wants a high performing team. Particularly clients and their end users in the facilities sector. Clients in all markets are demanding closer links with their service providers and a one team approach – and they expect that team to meet very high performance criteria.

This is why all facilities management service providers make bold claims about their ‘people’ and ‘leadership. Because, if the one team idea is going to work and that team is going to be high performing it is more important than ever to have the right people on that team and for them to be well lead and supported to ensure a high performance.

How do you do it? There is no magic formula, but it is not rocket science either. What you need are a few basic ingredients.

Workplace and wellbeing

Office based organisations of all kinds, local government, corporate, professional and creative are all recognising that to be effective, manage their capital and operational costs and to make sure they are productive they need to attract and retain the right talent and create an environment that is a positive experience to work within.

Lower churn, better sickness rates, and lower people costs make for a better business. Keep those people happy and they will be more productive. Hence the rise in workplace strategy, design and the growing awareness around wellbeing, wellness and employee engagement. But where does FM fit in to this?

FM and further education

In October the UK’s Universities will be welcoming thousands of students embarking on a new academic journey with thousands more for a further year of study.

It is a logistical exercise more in keeping with mobilising an army. Managing a university is about a lot more than just lectures. What’s more, those students pitching up to their halls of residence and student union buildings in freshers’ week are far more discerning than in previous years.

Why? Value for money from the average £26k for a three-year course is paramount. Students make their choices based on first class facilities as well as a first class education – much of which is influenced by the FM service provider selected by the estates and property teams. That means clean comfortable rooms; a secure environment; excellent lighting in the library, research environments and constant, blisteringly fast broadband and omnipresent Wi-Fi is critical. But these kind of services, backed by technical know-how is not going to set you apart as a university or as a service provider on campus.