The July/August 2015 issue of Facility Executive featured an article from Sean Devaney, district director of college-wide maintenance at Broward College in Broward County, South Florida , about that school’s recent transition to centralized facility management across three full-service campuses. Questions Devaney and his colleagues asked during the process focused on maintaining (or improving) customer service and labor efficiencies with existing staffing and budget allocation, as well as evaluating in-house trade staff, versus contracted services.
Whether you’ve completed a centralized facility management plan, are in the midst of the process, or are still considering the potential of such a move, what experiences can you share? What has worked for you, and what challenges have you and your team come up against?
Streamlining The Facility Management Function
By Sean Devaney
In fiscal year 2013, Broward College in South Florida accepted the challenge of standardizing college-wide facilities and services. Doing so required that all trades including HVAC, electrical, fleet, locksmith, landscape/grounds, and custodial services would be reviewed from a college-wide perspective. Two underlying questions guided the plan to restructure and standardize operations. The first was: how do we provide quality customer service, best practices, financial and labor-use efficiencies, with current staffing levels and annual budget allocations that are distributed throughout the system?
The second question was: What can we do in-house with skilled trade staff versus contracted services?
The goal of the Facilities Management Department at Broward College is to improve the level of services offered continually and to increase student and employee satisfaction while providing a clean, safe environment for teaching and learning throughout the college.
The previous facilities business model was a decentralized organizational structure. Four campus facilities managers reported to the dean of business affairs at each location. Theirs was a divided structure in which each location prioritized projects and competed for funding based on individual campus needs. Each campus essentially had its own wish list rather than creating a comprehensive, prioritized needs assessment and funding based on the needs of the college.
Facilities services were clustered, all providing various operations, with no consistency in service level, or standard procedures from location to location.
The decentralized structure worked well for many years, and it can be an effective model. However, because of the college’s growth over the past decade, it became apparent that a new approach was needed to assure all campuses and centers received consistent, effective, and efficient service.
Serving 70,000 students and 2,500 employees on a daily basis, Broward College is a robust educational institution with three thriving, full-service campuses. The college represents a system-wide total of more than two million square feet, which includes the Downtown Center, Business Center, and seven satellite locations.
The Case For Centralization
It is important to note the level of work that must precede any type of change of this magnitude. The Broward College Facilities Management Department made this transition after lengthy assessments, discussions, and administrative meetings that took place throughout 2013. Key players in this analysis were the campus facilities managers, electrical and energy management system (EMS) managers, facilities administration, and consultant services.
Stakeholders spent 2013 examining all operations, using a combination of outside consultant services and in-house management expertise. After an exhaustive critical self-analysis of our operations we presented a centralized organizational structure to the college administration and the board of trustees and gained their approval to restructure. The change took place in July 2014.
With the new organizational structure in place, the newly formed Facilities Maintenance Operations Group now reports to the district director of maintenance. The following roles report to the district director, and overall this department consists of 100 full-time employees:
• Four campus facilities managers
• Fleet services manager
• Locksmith services manager
• HVAC/EMS Manager
• Electrical services manager
• Landscape services manager
• Administrative assistant
Additionally, a Custodial Services Department consisting of approximately 150 contract employees and other maintenance-related contract services fall under the management and oversight of the district director of maintenance.
In addition to the maintenance, mechanical, and electrical systems operations, other departments that deal with campus infrastructure include the Construction and Design and Planning and Capital Budget divisions. Both departments have district director level oversight. All three department heads report to the associate vice president of facilities management, and the changes that were made have resulted in a dynamic working relationship focused on one common goal—providing superior educational facilities that contribute positively to teaching and student success.
Many positive changes have occurred as a result of this restructuring which have allowed for increased cost efficiencies, improved quality, and enhanced customer service. Read the rest of the article here…
Whether you’ve completed a centralized facility management plan, are in the midst of the process, or are still considering the potential of such a move, what experiences can you share? What has worked for you, and what challenges have you and your team come up against? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the Comments section below.