Trends and Challenges in Facility Management

Trends and Challenges in Facility Management

The International Facility Management Association (IFMA), the largest and most widely recognized professional association for facility management, sponsored a forecasting workshop to examine the emerging trends and issues that will influence facility management professionals in the coming years.

In 2007, IFMA invited a panel of industry experts to represent various industry sectors and constituencies of the facility management profession to its two-day conference, held in Houston, TX. The 2007 IFMA forecasting conference and the report that was published after the conference highlighted the many challenges awaiting facility management professionals in the coming years. The top eight issues that emerged from the retreat were as follows (presented in order of importance):

1) Linking facility management to strategy
2) Emergency preparedness
3) Change management
4) Sustainability
5) Emerging technology
6) Globalization
7) Broadening diversity in the workforce
8) Aging buildings

Linking facility management to strategy ranked first among the issues, because experts strongly believed that this issue will be of even greater importance in the coming years. They suggested that a critical facet of successful facility management is the ability to link the role of facilities to an organizations core business strategies. This is also known as branding. Physical facilities have a major role in determining productivity, supporting innovation, efficiency, employee satisfaction and public perception of an organization.

Although ranked fourth in the list, sustainability is a major issue of concern for facility managers, architects, interior designers, and manufacturers alike. Sustainability has ceased to be an option and has become a fundamental requirement and expectation across many industries. The panel of experts urged those involved in facility management to get informed about LEED, ENERGY STAR and other high-performance building ratings systems and initiatives. They were also urged to establish programs to reduce, reuse, recycle, and develop/maintain technical skills expertise.*

As a research driven and manufacturing company, MAiSPACE understands its responsibility for sustainability. According to IFMA, sustainability includes environmental responsibility, energy management, investing in high performance systems, indoor air quality issues. A commitment to sustainability is part of the companys mandate and translates into many different programs; specifically areas such as post consumer content; reusable and minimum packaging; recycling within the product line; and recycling within the organization.

For instance, we are unlike most office furniture systems that are filled with fiberglass (a human carcinogen according to National Cancer Institute). Moreover, fiberglass does not break down in landfills and represents a long term source of airborne glass particles, according to the EPA. Recognizing these serious issues, MAiSPACE has replaced fiberglass in its panels with post consumer PET made from ground up soda bottles. MAiSPACE has also reduced packaging refuse by offering bulk packing and alternatives to the traditional corrugated and Styrofoam materials used in packaging products. Alternate carton-less techniques and the introduction of minimal packaging for truckload orders have reduced harmful products that are not biodegradable to the environment. Reusable packaging is also used by companies who supply parts and products to Maispace. In addition to protecting the environment from unnecessary packing materials, these packaging methods reduce the cost of de-trashing the installation area and facilitate installation through less clutter.

All MAiSPACE products are 100% recyclable including the steel frames. Additionally, we use Guilford of Maine Fabrics, who as part of the Interface Group, has an exceptional sustainability program. And finally, we practice what we preach. MAiSPACE already recycles office paper, computer paper, fabric, foam, plastic bags, cans, bottles, corrugated materials, vinyl, and chemicals including solvents that are reused in production.

In the IFMA 2007 report, emerging technology was listed as the fifth trend, which encompassed topics such as changing building technologies, Building Information Modeling (BIM), Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS), underutilization of current technology, and obsolescence.

IFMA report demands on facility management professionals to keep abreast of changing technology (communications, BIM, IWMS; work closely with tenants/users to anticipate changes; build the technical skills expertise of building operations personnel; and use technology to attract young professionals to the facility management professional role as well as to facilitate data and information sharing.

As a research driven company MAiSPACE is constantly evaluating and updating our product options to enhance its capabilities and keep up with advancing technological, ergonomic and architectural innovations. Yet, while the basic system is inherently designed to accommodate change, new product enhancements allow your system to transform as your company and space does. will help business owners and operators make smart choices in Systems Furniture and Office Cubicles for their offices and selecting the right Office Furniture. Trends and Challenges in Facility Management .