How Nigerian Facilities Management Companies Can Organise for Global FM Standards Certification and Localisation

How Nigerian Facilities Management Companies Can Organise for Global FM Standards Certification and Localisation

In 2018, the worth of the Facilities Management industry was $34.65 billion globally and projected to reach $59.33 billion by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 11.4%. The same year, Nigerian market was $3.3 million and $1.4 million for public and private sectors respectively. Many factors have been adduced for the global and national growth in recent times. Sources indicate that the increase in sustainable infrastructure, the need for connecting workplaces and to enhance the lifecycle of critical facilities have been the main drivers of the growth. Growing in compliance to environmental and regulatory standards have equally been cited.

Like other developing FM markets, Nigeria is currently facing recognition gap being orchestrated by the government and citizens’ low maintenance culture. This has led to the players for servicing the private sectors more than the other segments of the economy. Beyond this, the industry is battling with lack of legislation, lack of industry standards, lack of proper structure in terms of the organisation’s structure, lack of enabling technologies required for sustainable FM solution management, skills gap, pricing and lack of proper procurement procedure.

Some players in the industry are also finding it difficult to benchmark their processes despite the benefits associated with benchmarking over the years in the mature markets. The consequence has been divided satisfaction level among the facilities users in workplaces. For instance, a research finds that 49.1% of users at the Eko Court Towers felt that the services provided to them is between 61-70%, while those on Boyle Street reported 51-60% satisfaction level. The research concludes that “the Eko Court Towers residents are more satisfied in general and their level of satisfaction is higher than that of the resident of Boyle Street, Lagos Island, indicating high quality of services in Victoria Island than what is obtainable in Boyle Street.”

However, it seems that those on Boyle Street will soon capture better value from their facilities because of the recently released Global FM Standards by the International Standard Organisation. The new standard was the centre piece of the industry yearly Day in May 2019. Already, some companies in the established markets have partnered with ISO certifications approved organisations for the certification after the development of methodologies for the internal assessments of their business components.  This piece emerges from the part of the research started after the Nigerian FM industry joined their counterparts for the 2019’s World FM Day celebration with the theme “Celebrating Global FM Standards.”

The Road to ISO 41001 Certification

Considering the challenges itemized earlier, it is evident that Nigerian companies’ road to the certification acquisition remains rough. Companies with improper organisational structures, the right people to execute the roles and functions and capital would feel the starkness the most. This position is hinged on the basis that the new standard is a strategic tool. It is a strategic tool because FM companies must provide services that align with their organisational strategy and objectives in short, medium and long terms. By 2020, the year the clients would be more inundated with the need to request for the certification before engaging FM providers, companies will not have options than to manage the life cost and usability of facilities, services and obligations to workspace users, and control the environmental impacts of their operations.

FM Standards Path
Source: BSI Group, 2018

The Strategic and Tactical Questions

Therefore, aligning with the strategic tool requires asking strategic and tactical questions that will lead to strategic answers and decisions on the means to eliminate stumbling blocks on the road to the certification. Players need to find answers to why clients and users want standards, what needs to be standardised and when should the standards occur. These are strategic questions. Inputs, conversion activities and outputs must be standardised, while the standards should be felt before, during and after solutions delivery. The next question should be a tactical one. Since it is obvious that clients and users want standards because of the necessity to improve their operational efficiency and reducing operating expenditure. Then, what is the appropriate standard and where such standard should be used to meet the expectations of the clients and users.

Organising to Enable the Localisation from Top to the Bottom

The emerging challenges in the industry and the clients’ sustainable value capturing have increased the need for quick organisation of key actors. In our research, we were able to segment the key actors for the localisation into standard creators (SC) and standard seekers (SS). FM companies and their employees, especially C-Executives and Business Executives are the SC, while people and businesses who know that for them to retain values of their facilities must put them up for management are the SS. Our data show that standard seekers expect standard creators to differentiate their solutions via quality of process, competent hands, adoption of appropriate technologies that enable effective solutions delivery at the minimal cost and range of solutions. This further reinforces the need to ensure alignment among the process, people, solution and technologies to avert existing situation where there is a significant between service expectation and actual service encounter across the entire service dimension framework on the maintenance of a University building.

Global FM Standards Framework
Source: Infoprations Analysis, 2019

As a matter of necessity, players must embark on deep business optimization. Efficient and effective business optimization have been the critical success factor for many companies in the FM mature markets such as Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The deep business optimization is being suggested in line with our recent research which shows that select professionals, who are expected to be the change agents, prefer business improvement over optimization. This is not absolutely out of the context, but focusing on improvement means companies are more likely to emphasise qualitative measurement approach to business optimization instead of the quantitative one, which provides a quantitative approach in terms of modeling using relevant data that align with the specific objectives within business components (solution, people, process and technology).

In simple term, players must remove unnecessary frictions before they could be certified. The frictions in process, people, technology and solutions must be removed. This is a matter of maximization and minimization.  A system that will generate value for the clients must be maximized for it to operate effectively and efficiently. Attaining the needed performance depends on the extent to which the change managers minimize or remove frictions capable of preventing the realization of the end results.  Standardised principles and procedures, competent personnel to carry out the principles and procedures in line with FM standards’ requirements are the most requirements for process optimization. People need to be optimized using career development and remuneration policy. For instance, players must hire and retain certified FM professionals, up-skilling them frequently and equip them in line with the specifics of ISO 41001’s requirements. New technology adoption and installation, training and retraining of employees on the emerging technologies that resonate with the Global Standards, and downplaying deployment of employees who lack the required digital and technological skills for solutions delivery are the essential requirements for technology optimization.

Having all the requirements for the business components are not enough, companies need to be hypothetical in the short, medium and long terms of implementing the requirements. This position emerges because of the analysis, which reveals that professionals’ attitude and behaviour to change could not be predicted. When the affected employees lack the required skills, there is a tendency of blocking illicit financial sources for personal benefit and the threat to the team lead, head or director. Being hypothetical indicates that companies, especially the change managers, must set hypotheses for measuring the application and implementation of the requirements.

In this situation, null hypotheses must be formulated more than alternate hypotheses. It is important to know whether there are no frictions in the business components. This is a null hypothesis. When the hypothesis is tested using data gathered from (process, people, technology activities and solutions offering) and results show total elimination of frictions companies would be freed from possible hindrances likely to prevent them from reaching ISO 41001 Certification. Specifically, examining the null hypothesis in each component will help in preparing appropriate documents in line with ISO 41001’s requirements for standardization.

As pointed out earlier, the fear of unknown among the professionals about the significant changes with their companies’ components remains the greatest risk to the glocalization of the new standards. This could be addressed using the RASCI model. This is a model that ensures a better approach to accountability and decision making when an industry is working towards global best practices. RASCI means Responsible, Accountable, Supportive, Consulted, and Informed. The change managers need to exhibit a high sense of responsibility, be accountable, supportive, consult when it is necessary and inform their employees at functional level. This must be replicated by the employees at the functional level.

Editor’s Note: Cover picture is generated from the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management’s 2019 Industry report for Nigeria. 


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