By Ted Ardelean
From the May/June 2016 Issue
The November/December 2015 issue of Facility Executive announced that Canon Business Process Services (Canon) would soon release its survey report, “Achieving Service Excellence: Facilities Management Trends 2016”. The report is now available online for download, and this article spotlights some key findings along with observations on those findings.
First, based on the article in the late 2015 issue of this magazine I’d like to briefly recap what motivated Canon to launch the survey. Many companies are designing large professional campuses to bring cross-functional talent together so they can work and collaborate at the digital speed. The result can be a large corporate campus with thousands of employees and modern amenities that function like a small city with all the systems, infrastructure, and complexities this implies.
To meet many of the challenges connected with overseeing these enterprises, facilities management (FM) executives can leverage what we refer to as “corporate campus logistics.” This is essentially a logistics operation designed to support the efficient flow of materials and people at large multi-building office campuses serving thousands of employees. Corporate campus logistics services are supported by efforts spanning a range of activities that include: planning; mailroom; shipping and receiving; distribution; moves; health and safety; supplies and material control; storage and warehousing; equipment management; trash removal; and employee and visitor transport within the campus.
In the 2015 survey, we asked FM executives to share insights about the challenges they encounter in providing the services needed to accomplish their company’s workplace strategy. The majority of respondents work at organizations with more than 1,000 employees. This is relevant because there is little available data on how organizations deliver support services at corporate campuses with thousands of employees.
Now let’s take a look at a few findings in the survey report—results that may shed light on the most important and challenging FM responsibilities you are experiencing.
1. The tools, techniques, and methods having the greatest impact: The results shown in Table 1 shows respondents’ replies to the following: Please rank the following tools, techniques or methods that you think have the greatest impact on improving support services.
Among the tools, techniques, and methods available to them, executives indicated that facilities management applications have a moderate (31%) to high (61%) impact on their ability to improve support services. In our experience we found that when the population level rises into the thousands, the tools for tracking delivery of supplies/services and tools to communicate, coordinate, and schedule the delivery of supplies/services become more critical to success.
2. Managerial responsibilities considered highly important and challenging: The results in Table 2 show respondents’ replies to: Activities ranked both highly important and challenging/very challenging to manage in delivering superior corporate support services.
The managerial responsibility that is considered “highly important” to the vast majority of executives (94%) is maintaining high customer satisfaction. It also ranked tops as being “challenging/very challenging to manage” (91%). My perspective on this finding is that providing corporate services and amenities requires interacting with people. Service defects, such as not completing courier pickups and deliveries on time, are easily noticed by employees. Therefore if high service standards are not consistently maintained, customer satisfaction will suffer and possibly damage the reputation of the FM function.
Close behind maintaining customer satisfaction, executives ranked maintaining the right staffing levels as “highly important” (90%) and as being “challenging/very challenging to manage” (85%). My observation on this is that a fine balance needs to be maintained between the service standard and budget in order to achieve high customer satisfaction. High productivity and longer tenure can help. With this in mind, staff training and cross training as well as the opportunity to move to various areas within FM can help retain staff so the organization can benefit from employees’ efficiency and knowledge.
I would also like to share some insights based on Table 2. The activities in the top half (rank 1 to 8) are all “managerial” and rank the most highly in terms of being both important and challenging to manage. These include maintaining high customer satisfaction, maintaining right staffing levels, compliance with safety and security procedures, reducing response time, staff retention, and on-time delivery. Additionally, all of the managerial/strategic responsibilities ranked higher in being important and challenging compared to service/tactical activities.
However, it is significant to note that all of the “service” activities ranked in the bottom half in importance and challenging to manage (rank 9 to 15). These activities include office equipment management; tracking materials/supplies; warehouse/ storeroom; shipping and receiving; security for mail and package handling; and mail, concierge, reception, and conference room support.
These findings suggest that when the employee population of a site increases beyond 1,000, the “managerial” responsibilities become more important and more challenging to achieve compared to accomplishing the tactical “services.” The FM organization therefore needs to take a different approach to provisioning services. This could include using outside assistance.
A Case Study: Shift In Approach
One of Canon’s clients built a new corporate campus. Several smaller sites were merged into one with thousands of employees. During the planning process for provisioning services at the new campus, executives realized that FM processes based on the smaller sites would not be adequate on a much larger scale. All the activities listed on Table 2 would be negatively affected no matter how much labor was deployed.
The FM executives turned to third-party logistics and FM providers; however, they could not find a provider offering the right solution. Some key challenges included: health and safety; shipping and receiving; mail center operations; personnel shuttle for 20 buildings; IT desk-side delivery; order processing and distribution for campus retail stores; food deliveries; supplies stocking and dispensing; trash removal (landfill, organic waste, recyclables); shredding; conference room setup; processing records monthly; and maintaining powered equipment.
The company tapped Canon Business Process Services to design and implement a customized logistics process (i.e., corporate campus logistics) that included the appropriate people and technology. The solution includes a dispatch process along with mobile real-time tracking and communication technology that controls the flow and activities of all the workers and equipment. As a result, the client is meeting its FM needs, including a performance management system and metrics that help drive continuous improvement.
Success In The Days Ahead
FM executives at corporate campuses face an array of demands. These include streamlining services under fewer suppliers and standardizing services while maintaining customer satisfaction; ensuring compliance with safety and security procedures; and providing real-time reporting and analysis. Executives who are open to new ideas that can help solve these and other challenges are on a path to succeed in the days ahead. N
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