Moving along from the NPS Facilities Management Competency hierarchy, this week we’ll resume our review of the FMO Maturity Model, focusing on the Level 5 competencies. After progressing through the first four levels, the FMO will have process and organizational improvements under way across a broad front. It is a good time to take steps to ensure that lasting change has been achieved, that continuous improvement is embedded in the day-to-day efforts, and doing so by making sure the operation and its long-term plans are in tune with the overall organizational mission and vision.
These Level 5 competencies also address one of the facility manager’s chronic issues – the under-allocated budget, which seems to present itself at every FMO I have encountered. The question we framed Level 5 with is “How can I justify a budget increase?” To begin to answer it, the FMO must again look at the portfolio under management, comparing it to known business plans and concepts that are likely to be coming down the road. It’s a process that is also known as programming and planning.
In essence, at least in the public sector, the objective of the exercise is to show how FM and the portfolio contribute to organizational goals. For the private sector, with an emphasis on building shareholder value, there may be a more overt cost control aspect to the exercise as well – this is not to say the public sector is not concerned with costs, they are simply more concerned with effective service delivery.
To illustrate, I’d like to draw from a project I did a few years ago for a utility company. My team was engaged to look at a portfolio of about 160 facilities, comprised of warehouses, offices, and other facilities not directly involved in the generation or transmission of electricity. We used traditional programming techniques for part of the approach, supplementing them with a facility-by-facility review of consistency with mission goals, as measured by five criteria, described in more detail in the table below: interruptibility, relocatability, relationship to generating or transmission infrastructure, customer interface, and income generation.
For the utility company, the business continuity criteria were important because there were long-established locations and operations in the portfolio, some dating to the 1930’s. Some functions truly couldn’t be moved, or truly would have faced serious impacts if the facility failed to support them; but the exercise also revealed a number of opportunities to use relocation as an improvement strategy. These two criteria are also used by organizations such as the Navy and NASA, who use a “mission dependency index” to evaluate the facility-to-mission connection.
The three core business criteria were justified by corporate values and strategy. As a utility, delivering electricity was the heart of the business, so facilities related to that infrastructure received higher priorities on investment decisions. Same with customer interface, where “customer” was defined as account holders and developers, who visited to arrange service to new residential communities or buildings.
As we reviewed the portfolio against these criteria, we scored each facility on a five-point scale, with five as the highest score. The scores were tallied, and the facilities were sorted into a ranking that showed the strength of their alignment to the “mission.” Those with the strongest alignment were first on the list for recapitalization investment or the allocation of funding for other purposes. Poorly aligned facilities were candidates for divestment, or targeted for consolidations where excess space was available.
In years where other programs are given funding priority, this kind of an understanding of how the facility portfolio supports key business operations can be a useful negotiation tool for securing additional resources. And, after several cycles of making investment decisions based on these priorities, it should be easy to detect a positive impact on the business from key facilities operating at optimal effectiveness.
Next week, we’ll move on to the second Level 5 competency, Long-term Planning. As always, thanks for reading the FM Notes from the Field blog, and thanks again to Steven and IWMSNews.com for hosting it. Please drop a note to me at email@example.com if you would like more information on the material in these blog posts.