Importance of Facility Management in Africa.
Facility management (FM) means different things in different parts of the world. In the Middle East for instance, it’s described as property management in residential blocks which is not what U.S. and U.K. markets would understand as true FM. They view FM as focusing on a profession that encompasses multiple discipline to ensure functionality of the built environment and the primary activity of the organization by integrating people, places, process and technology… bla bla bla… Real estate (Structures) and FM are usually the second or third highest cost incurred in running a business hence an ideal FM done right is expected to use Cost and Performance data to enable global benchmarking and drive improved efficiency and effectiveness of buildings. lets come down to Africa.
Back in the years, when my mother was still a child, the work of her father was to make money, while her mother works tirelessly in supporting the family thereby making the house very conducive for her Husband, Children and other visitors.
This typical illustration is the foundation of Facility management we have today.
An interview conducted in Ghana (west Africa) with workers who spend 8 hours of their life in an office every week day, showed tremendous opportunity in this sector, when people were asked what’s the best place they would love to work from, 40% chose a their home, 20% — a restaurant or hotel lobby, 10% — specific places in the home like (toilets, Study room, dining, garden etc) only 5% — (chose the offices and these people are top management whose Jobs are to supervise others), as expected 25% said they can work from anywhere provided they have Internet, cup of coffee and are comfortable. Here is where it gets serious, this study also revealed that more that 60% of our interviewed workers stated the office as not conducive but obligatory place to work.
This very factor is the reason while every Husband (worker) must go to a place of comfort (facility either home or office) to perform maximally (work at his/her best). Hence the dare need for facilities management.
Relating it to any business ( an office space, Real Estate, Hotel, Serviced apartment, School and what have you), maintaining the facilities so as to make every worker in that environment able to carry out their tasks comfortably is Facility management.
Hence businesses choose to either employ in-house facility management or Outsource to other management companies either way it’s expected to achieve the same desired results or not? we would find out in next week’s article. Stay tuned.
For there to be reduction in the cost and optimization of the value of this built assets there need to be constant monitoring and evaluation to maintain and improve performance over time and this can be done more effectively through the use of new technologies, approaches and solutions.
The baseline remains that: FM is important and should be included in every business plan because only when the environment is conducive would work flow greatly.