Open-access content 15th September 2009
Rob Greenfield explores the opportunities that the recession is creating for FMs
17 September 2009
Once again at the time of writing, the financial situation was making headlines with statistics showing that one sixth of all households in the UK do not have an adult in full time work, and latest figures for the UK Gross Domestic Product (GDP) show that the UK is recovering from the recession slower than other countries in the EU, which is bad news for UK plc.
Feedback from FM organisations is that clients, as expected, are pushing for more and more cost reduction. In a way this has had a positive effect, as FMs are now having to use all their skills and experience to develop innovative ideas to achieve these further cost reductions and in most cases are doing a great job, which is testament to our fantastic and resilient industry.
Sustainability was high on the FM agenda and there was always the risk that in a recession most of the core pillars of sustainability would be dropped. However this does not seem to be the case for FM. A number of organisations have already commenced development programmes to prepare their staff for expansion once we emerge from the current financial crunch. It was also very timely that the Carbon Reduction Commitment was in place to act as a key driver and as a result FM organisations are using a variety of innovative ways with which to save energy consumption and thus reduce carbon.
A vast number of organisations are now using a combination of innovation and integrated FM to achieve further value adds by outsourcing one large bundle of non core activities. This then frees up even more of their own staff, consolidates their invoicing to one per month and unites their supply chain across the entire range. One of my initial key challenges within my new role at Sodexo FM has been in coming to terms with the integrated FM concept.
Finally with my health and safety bias in gear I can report that a number of the key FM providers in the UK have been working together with the Safety Pass Alliance (SPA) in Warwickshire and have developed an FM photo identity style of safety passport scheme consisting of a core safety training day and fifteen further optional specialist modules. SPA is well known within the petrochemical industry and this is an exciting development to further enhance health and safety within the FM industry. At the time of my writing this column it is exactly three years to the day before the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony.
We face even more challenges in what most likely will prove to be a demanding period but I have no doubt that FMs will once again be up for and meet the challenge head on.