7 January 2019 | Peter Jones
It was a turbulent 2018, with prominent business failures and profit warnings from some of the largest integrated service providers in the UK. Alongside this we saw increasing operating costs triggered by legislative pensions changes and the apprentice levy, not to mention the reduction in capital spend triggered by uncertainty around Brexit.
Yet, despite this, a recent report on the facilities management market suggests outsourcing will grow by £2 billion in 2019, with the market forecast to increase by more than £10 billion by 2022.
For me, there will be one major trend shaping occupier thoughts over the coming year, which will see clients placing more reliance on capabilities and, ultimately, looking to achieve greater value from their facilities service providers.
The demand for flexible workspace is set to accelerate, with over two-thirds of global corporates planning to extend their use of flexible and collaborative space over the next three years. Research also suggests that well-being and productivity would improve as a natural consequence of this shift in occupancy strategies, with customer experience one of the leading performance indicators alongside sustainability.
I think the role of the workplace to facilitate increased productivity, collaboration and flexibility will dominate further in 2019, with even more clients seeking specialist engineering and technology partners who have the full range of design, build and operate skills to optimise their built environment.
With technologies such as smart buildings, big data analytics and the Internet of Things, we are all too familiar at how quick these disruptive technologies can move and become part of our daily life. Increasingly, these will feature in our workplaces, creating a real benefit to staff and visitors alike, whilst driving lower environmental impacts and, ultimately, operating costs.
As such, there will be a greater need for the services of specialist engineering firms who have the right experience to help clients navigate the opportunities created through greater use of converged IP networks, deployment of business-focused maintenance and agile working solutions.
Those that can offer technology-led solutions and deliver value in terms of efficiencies - particularly when it comes to the ability to use asset data to aid decision-making and support sustainability - will be the ones that stand out and help clients realise true value from their IFM providers.
Peter Jones is managing director for NG Bailey's Services division