Several reports, from research agencies and companies in the world, have indicated that Global Facilities Management Industry worth a trillion of dollars. One of such reports recently hinted that the industry would reach more than $1.7 trillion by the end of 2026 based on its 4.9% compound annual growth rate. This signifies that the industry is expected to grow substantially between 2020 and 2026.
Despite this, it has appeared that the current novel coronavirus pandemic would have significant impact on the growth. This is largely due to the significant impacts of the virus on all sectors and industries across the world. Having understood the impacts, when the virus became pandemic and led to shutdown of businesses, players in the industry tweaked their operational and employee management strategies to enhance the delivery of solutions to individuals and businesses that render essential services.
What is critical now is that when business goes back to normal, players and professionals need to amend some of the ways of creating and delivering value in the old normal. This year’s World FM Day in Nigeria seems to provide the needed platform for discussing how the amendments can be initiated and executed. This is premised on a Roundtable Discussion being organised by Alpha Mead Group, one of the leading total real estate solution companies in Nigeria.
The theme for this year’s celebration is “Celebrating Our Environment.” According to the International Facilities Management Association, the theme is in recognition of the industry’s respect for the environment and continuing focus on sustainability.
Alpha Mead is celebrating the day with the theme “Managing the Environment in times of Pandemic: People, Places & Technologies.” In line with its traditions, the company has informed players and captains of industries to join the conversation via virtual sphere for “the dissection of the roles of people, places and technologies in the scheme of things and discuss strategies for exploring the nexus among these three critical parts of the environment; as the Africa navigates the path back to economic prosperity.”
In views of these insights, our analyst examines expected shifts in the new normal. We expect some of the shifts to be part of the issues and needs that would be discussed during the Roundtable Discussion slated for May 14, 2020 and other events by other players in the industry
- Capitalising on Emerging Trends
As pointed out earlier, Covid-19 has impacted sectors and industries which has led to decline in the first quarter Gross Domestic Product of countries. The effects were enormous on countries that depend on mono-source of revenue such as Nigeria. This indicates that businesses should expect reduction in some services that would be requested by the FM solutions users in the next two quarters. The virus has also stressed the need to key into the new glocalization strategy of attracting, recruiting and retaining the best possible workforce. This is necessary as employees who have tasted remote working approach would prefer it further. Since the creation and delivery of FM solutions principally need supply and value chains, there is a need to examine old processes of ensuring purchase and distribution of required materials for solution delivery. This is necessary as the need to cut costs will be increasingly complex and challenging in the new normal. The changes in terms of how businesses carrying out their operational activities during the lockdown period have also established the fact that players must revisit the ways they are making their clients competitive and maximise value. This is hinged on the basis that most businesses will seek individualised services that would help them maximise their value proposition.
- Changing Roles of Facilities Managers
From the employees at the corporate level to those at the business and functional levels, Covid-19 has brought new thinking about the duties and tasks expected of facilities management professionals. Henceforth, professionals are expected to be consultants and designers as users of FM solutions become interested in how to mitigate the impacts of the virus on their operational activities and possible further reduction of the cost of maintenance. Users would expect bringing of design thinking to the management of buildings, space and other components of facilities. As noted in one of the previous analyses on knowledge and solutions delivery in the industry, the new normal needs employees with specific knowledge that would deliver individualised solutions to clients. According to the analysis, creating knowledge employees is a matter of deploying adequate resources towards data, information and knowledge process formation. Engaging clients should be seen as educational process where FM companies’ workers are educators while clients are learners. For example, workers of a knowledge-based FM company are expected to engage client on the features and benefits of having preventive maintenance instead of reactive maintenance.
- Improved Employee Engagement
With better incentives such as remuneration and other productivity-induced benefits, employees in the new normal are more likely to perform well towards conceptualization of ideas that spur individualised solutions. This will eventually lead to more revenue and profit for FM businesses.
- Information and Knowledge Exchange
In the new normal, data co-acquisition and usage would be more necessary than what was obtainable in the old normal. According to the Deloitte Insights 2020 Commercial Real Estate Outlook, “only 30 percent of organisations are capturing data and actually generating insights for decision making.” As stressed in the previous analysis, companies must acquire, use, share and integrate knowledge from facilities to achieve operational and economic performance. Attaining the expected economic success will depend on the extent to which Chief Executive Officers and marketing employees adjust to changing circumstances, especially the demographics and psychographics of clients.