Tricks Of The Trade: Stretched Resources
By James C. Elledge, IFMA Fellow, CFM, FMA, RPA, RIAQM
Published in the October 2009 issue of Today’s Facility Manager
Q I oversee 50 plus bank branches in the Houston, TX metropolitan area. I take care of all FM issues at all of the branches, as well as putting out bids for jobs, working with vendors, coordinating projects, etc. I have only two employees working for me, and they are on the trucks taking care of daily branch issues. I am the most understaffed facilities manager in the entire southeast system, yet I am supposed to do the same amount of work/projects as my counterparts, who have more staff and fewer branches.
How do I learn to make the best of this situation, knowing I will not be hiring any new staff in the near future? My boss says it can be done but gives little indication as to the methodology for doing the job as is.
Regional Director Of Facilities
JP Morgan Chase Bank
A What type of work order tracking are you using now? With a small staff, you will need to optimize its time to provide the maximum level of performance and prevent wasted time caused by interruptions.
Are you able to provide them with a set schedule of tasks to perform and locations to visit each day? Do they take their vehicles home? Or do they have to come in to the office to collect their tools and schedules?
Are you able to use outside vendors for emergency repairs for plumbing, electrical, and HVAC? Or do you use vendors for scheduled tasks and let your staff take care of emergencies?
Are work orders called in directly to you? If so, can they be diverted to the IT help desk? If someone else can take the calls and alert you to the request, that would free up some of your time.
Regarding bids, are they solicited for each job? Or do you have a yearly contract for labor and parts for each vendor? Your administrative overhead to bid out everything may be costing more than the savings realized for each job. Many vendors would enjoy the opportunity to perform work on an annual basis, allowing them the chance to maintain a level workforce.
Finally, are you a member of BOMA International or IFMA? Either organization has excellent educational materials to simplify your work, plus local chapters provide peers to exchange problems and ideas.
Elledge,facility/office services manager for Dallas, TX-based Summit AllianceCompanies, is the recipient of the Distinguished Author Award from theInternational Facility Management Association (IFMA), is an IFMA Fellow, and isa member of TFM’sEditorial Advisory Board. All questions have been submitted via the “Ask TheExpert” portion of the magazine’s Web site. To pose a question, visit this link.
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