Guiding facility managers towards the best solution

Written by
Marc Kooij
Published on
29 November 2019
Category
Blog

A facility manager has a lot on his plate. The demands placed on a modern building continue to rise by the day. On the other hand, the market is developing increasingly more new and often complex solutions to meet these demands. It’s all far from easy. As a provider what can you do to help facility managers and building managers make the right decisions?

Today’s buildings and working environments look quite different from what they looked like ten years ago. Especially due to the influence of the rapid developments relating to sustainability and digitalisation. At the same time, there has been an increase in user demands and expectations. They now expect a healthy and comfortable working environment, a clean building, properly working WiFi/internet, a sustainable energy supply, a responsible supply of food and furthermore the possibility of interactively adjusting workspaces in accordance with their own desires.

The major challenge for the facility manager

The facility manager is caught in the middle between the user’s wishes and what the market supplies. The facility manager is expected to be informed of new developments relating to building management and facility processes, and to be able to implement, safeguard and further develop all this without any problems. Added to this are the energy transition and the sustainability-related obligations, all of which create additional pressure. Developments are occurring at such a rapid pace that the market itself often is unable to offer clear, customer-specific solutions that are fully developed.

As a result the facility manager struggles with difficult questions: Where do I start? What is the right choice for this building? What is future-proof? This involves major investments for the long term. Furthermore, in the market there are examples of faulty choices (by buyers) or faulty information (by providers). Such as an entire floor that was converted into a beautiful open working garden, while in hindsight what was really needed was quiet and concentration. Or the promising climate control system whose operation turns out to be not all that sustainable in the targeted building.

Rapid developments, major investments, difficult choices – taken all together they form a tremendous challenge for the facility manager, who would need to be in two places at once to be able do his work properly.
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Rapid developments, major investments, difficult choices – taken all together they form a tremendous challenge for the facility manager

Marc Kooij

How can you be of help to your customer in this challenge? Read my four recommendations below.

1. Make things simpler

Sustainability, circularity and the energy transition are complex subjects. The first step is to review the main elements with the facility manager. Once these are clear, you can delve deeper. A good example of an organisation that is making an effort to explain subjects such as sustainability in simple terms is the Netherlands Enterprise Agency. Under the leadership of a number of people, such as Selina Roskam, the Agency simplifies complex subject matter, especially on its website . Using option menus, you can easily find clear information and independent recommendations. Of course, the site is not all-embracing and primarily deals with products and services that have already been developed, but it nicely demonstrates the possibilities.

2. Go down the development path together

Involve the facility manager in the development of products and services. Make him part of the development team. This way you help the customer become far more immersed in the subject matter so that he can better understand it and is able to assess whether the solution fits his wishes and requirements. In addition, this helps build support and acceptance. This way the entire chain becomes the ‘problem owner’, as well as the joint solution owner. I have gained a great deal of positive experience with this approach in my field of endeavour.

Other benefits are that it enables you to quickly change gears, are allowed to make mistakes (because you can immediately make corrections) and that you can quickly see whether the developed solution is a useful one. In addition, it enables you to immediately discover which kind of communication and explanation of this development works best with the customer. That helps to effectively tell the story straightaway to subsequent customers.

3. Develop a clear communication and implementation plan

‘We have a nice solution, but the facility manager does not understand it.’ It’s a refrain that I sometimes hear in the market. Generally, this means that the story is not communicated properly. The following steps can be of help in this respect:

  • Be sure to clearly and concisely commit the message inherent in your solution and your story to paper. Also package your solution in the form of a customer journey.
  • Formulate the results for the facility manager, in other words how will the solution benefit him.
  • Success takes time and therefore you must go through everything step by step and provide for a low threshold. A clear and understandable implementation plan for implementing your solution is a prerequisite. Celebrate successes and share them with the market.

4. Choose the right customer for a new development

To conclude: you would naturally – because of professional pride or impatience – tend to offer a new development to the first customer that comes along. But not every facility manager is waiting for the latest to come along. Just take a look at Rogers’ adoption model. This model puts the innovators first, followed by the early adopters, the early majority, the late majority and finally the laggards. In innovative companies, the facility manager often considers himself progressive as well, and in reverse exactly the same thing applies. Choose the right customer to which to pitch your innovation first, the late majority will then follow automatically.
This blog is also published on www.duurzaamgebouwd.nl
Marc's four recommendations

Rapid developments, major investments, difficult choices ..... Please do contact me

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