Imagine two people do a journey every day from A to B and it takes them 30 minutes. What they both don’t realise is they aren’t taking the quickest route. They need to get there faster so one invests in a faster car. Sure, they save a few minutes and do the journey in 26 minutes. However, the other looks at the route, realises there is a quicker way and does the journey in 22 minutes. This person hasn’t spent as much and they’ve achieved more.
How much are FM organisations spending today on trying to improve productivity?
With huge monetary investments in systems for mobile workforces, large amounts of time invested during deployment, and months of teething problems, the cost of trying to improve productivity is high. Quite probably, the investment is still worth it. Why? Because low productivity in the FM industry is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, unnecessary cost in the sector.
What’s the solution?
There are many, and I’m no IT expert, but as far as I’m concerned, technology and new systems may well help, and probably do, but are really only a catalyst to reaching the end goal, the faster car. Nothing necessarily changes in the way tasks are completed. They just allow communications to happen faster, data to be in a central location and minimise the risk of errors across teams. There is certainly value in that.
However, I’d love to know how many companies look at the fundamental issues facing the industry. Rather than looking at ways of speeding up the errors made, so we make them quicker, can we reduce the amount of errors made, the quicker route?
What is the quicker route?
Let’s go back to fundamentals. Engineers are earning money, therefore productive, (in the main!) when they are on site completing work. Fewer and fewer contracts allow for engineers to be earning money whilst off site. Therefore, is the quicker route defined as any way of ensuring the engineer is earning money for the company?
If so, we can now focus our attention on how to keep the engineer on sites. Facilities management will always have a reactive, or unplanned, element to it. When this happens, the problem needs sorting and time off site might be required to get parts you need to fix the job. By contrast, proactive jobs can be planned. It’s in this area that we can now respond in the most cost-effective way to improve productivity.
There are a number of ways to plan effectively, some of which technology will help with. Planning jobs geographically is a classic example. Having a proactive maintenance schedule and reducing reactive call outs is another. These ideas have already been well adopted by many in the FM sector.
However, how much time do engineers spend on sourcing materials? How much time on collecting materials? How much time on incorrect materials? And how much time on damaged materials?
It’s this single waste of time that I think could be one of the most overlooked wastes in the FM industry today. It costs virtually nothing to implement and saves astronomical amounts of time. This is surely a vastly quicker route! In the B2C industry, the delivery of goods is advancing at a rapid pace. Drone deliveries, Amazon Prime etc… In the B2B, admittedly this may take longer, but direct-to-site deliveries could save the industry a lot more than we may think.
So why doesn’t it happen more?
There are many reasons why. A few are given below:
1. Direct-to-site delivery just means lost or damaged parcels on site.
2. Engineers need to ensure they are getting the right products. Collecting them means they can sort that issue at the point of collection.
3. We want to limit our supply chain. The way we work currently is not causing us any issues.
4. Our clients won’t accept direct-to-site deliveries.
The long and short of it is this; the FM industry is under pressure and there is always something more pressing and urgent. That’s the nature of FM. But successful strategies are now looking at ways of being more proactive rather than reacting to the continual barrage of daily issues, adopting new ways of working that will streamline the workload and pass on benefits to the end users. Successful strategies are those that look for the quicker route.
How do we implement the quicker route effectively?
It’s simply a matter of looking at processes. What does the ultimate goal look like? Then develop technology to suit. At RLT Onsite, we have developed bespoke apps and a new online portal to help FM companies adapt seamlessly to streamlined direct-to-site delivery. The way the simplyonsite distribution system does this ensures that the end user sees the benefit, goods are on time, every time, and they eliminate breakages.
The success of this is shown out by our continued work with some of the largest FM companies in the UK and Western Europe, delivering to the high street, shopping parks, supermarkets, commercial buildings and industrial sites. It’s reducing costs, improving performance and giving the end user benefits they’ve never been able to have before.
All at no extra cost.
It’s a quicker route to higher productivity.
(As an aside, I love this article about successful people. They improve themselves first before improving their equipment. They understand that there is huge amounts more can be achieved through self-development than any equipment. It’s the same principle just applied in a different way. It’s a great read and I would recommend it. https://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/a-brutal-truth-about-success-that-few-people-are-w.html)