Failing Facilities Management: There is Hope for a Better Tomorrow!

Facilities management has suffered as a result of vicious cycles of growth followed by stretches of volatile funding. Technology offers a solution to the industry that reduces cost through increased meaningful communication based on data driven requests.

Based on both historic and current studies, the industry of facilities management faces an ever growing challenge that puts our public assets at risk. The outcry for additional funding has become universal. Unfortunately, the federal and state governments delegate responsibility for funding solutions down to the local governments. The result–our public facilities are suffering from chronic deferred maintenance which leads to the increased cost of ownership, the increased exposure to liability, and the decreased expected useful life of the facility. Additionally, there are further negative impacts due chronic deferred maintenance that affect those who occupy the buildings. It has been reported that occupants of the facilities have an overall drop in their performance as a result of poorly maintained surroundings. This affects all levels of education as well as employee performance within public government (Smith, 2017b).
Included in this paper are the results of a study that focuses on the current practices of public facilities management programs. The intent is to identify elements that either support or detract from efficiently operated, effective facilities departments. Given the nature of this industry, both objective and subjective elements were addressed. Objectively, the organizational hierarchy and the associated communications pathways were identified. Subjectively, the lifecycle of the facilities mission was dissected and discussed through an interview process. Fifteen specific data points were addressed which included accountability, effective communication, data driven program development, allocation of resources, documentation of work performed, continuous training and education, and the use of technology (Smith, 2017a).
This study also served as a measurement against the historical performance of public facilities management practice. There have been decades of growth in public assets. During that time, innovation within operational practice along with technology offer new opportunities to organizations to address issues of efficiency that translate directly into a measure of effectiveness. Given the continued outcry for additional funding, it seems that there are challenges that continue to exist despite the innovations offered. This study focuses on what those challenges are. Further analysis based on successful models of public facilities management provides insights as to what practices, if adopted, may drive the lesser achieving programs toward greater effectiveness.

Author: Rebecca Smith

Cite as: Smith, R. (2017). Facilities management: How is public leadership responding to crisis? Muma Business Review, 1(17). 217-231.