Open-access content 6th October 2008
26 June 2008
One of the UK's most respected financial commentators told an FM audience that the sector holds one of the key functions to help businesses adapt to the biggest shift in global economic power since the Industrial Revolution.
Hamish McRae (pictured), an associate editor of The Independent, opened the 2008 European Facility Management Conference in Manchester with a keynote presentation on the "great shifts" that the global economy is facing. He told delegates: "It's the biggest shift in economic power for 200 years. The West needs to recognise the rebalance and be smart enough to react."
The key pressure, McRae added, is on companies to be nimble and to use the "downtime" to gain competitive advantage. "The FM sector is in just the right corner of industry."
The two-day conference, which is presented by EuroFM and Ifma with the support of the BIFM, Rics and the University of Salford, continues today with the main theme of FM adding value to core business.
In a later session Svein Harald Storli of StatoilHydro explained how his organisation, the FM division is part of Global Business Services, saw the function as fully supporting the company's core business:"FM has changed from running operations to a business partner." Then Maril van Waes, FM lead for EMEA region at Dow Chemical, stated that FM had to gain credibility by showing clearly the added value and its contribution to the company's success. She said that Dow Chemical had saved costs of 15 per cent on the total FM budget since they had implemented its global FM organisation.
Kristof Vanvelk, FM at Philips Belgium Luxemburg, described the future FM function as a combination of human resources, information technology and space management.
EFMC organisers also announced the call for papers in readiness for next year's event, to be held in Amsterdam on 16-17 June 2009.
Peter Backstrom, customer business director for EMEA region at Johnson Controls was last night voted European FM of the Year at the EuroFM awards held in Manchester.
The awards, now in their second year and organised by PFM magazine, were held in the stunning surroundings of the Gorton Monastery which opened last year after a £6 million restoration. The awards focus on best practice across Europe.
Marcel Broumels won the European FM Student of the Year. Broumels obtained a first degree in Hotel Management in the Netherlands before working on a second degree in FM. Broumelss research looked into how the FM improves his relationship with the customer by looking further into experiences and expectations from his end-user. His research showed that customers are more interested in the total experience of the facility management department meaning the department should not only focus on delivering products and services but to use them to create a supportive experience.
The European FM Researcher of the Year Award, was won by Hermen Jan Van Ree, head of research and development at IPD Occupiers and who is conducting PhD research at University College London. The award recognises important work undertaken at universities across the continent to extend knowledge in FM theory and practice.
The final category, Partners Across Borders, reflects the growing need for FM services to support organisations which operate internationally. It was won by Microsoft Business and Facilities for their programme to harmonise the real estate and FM provision across the Microsoft property portfolio in Europe.
Leaders past and present from the world's FM associations took to the stage yesterday to discuss the issues that feature highest in their respective agendas. Speaking at the European Facility Management Conference in Manchester, past chairman of FMA Australia, Stephen Ballesty, said the FM's profile in Australia has been boosted by a joint initiative called FM Action Agenda. Now in its third and concluding year, the FM Action Agenda had done much to gain the industry the recognition that many see as lacking. Recognition was also a pressing issue for two other panel members, Rics FM Faculty chair, Alan White, and John McGee, first vice chair of Ifma. McGee also cited seven other issues which made up Ifma's "eight trends".
Others included links to business strategy, sustainability and industry standards. The concept of harmonisation and interoperability was also picked up by EuroFM chair, Albert Pilger.
BIFM chair Peter Cordy added that he takes an expansionist view; issues such as sustainability, security and business continuity each have a ripple effect on society and the things people do. These areas, Cordy said, provide FM with the opportunity to make its mark. Global FM chair Steve Gladwin introduced more topics, taken from the list identified by Global FM's members. These included education, risk management and future challenges. "We are in the industry of making a difference," Gladwin said.
EuroFM has launched a mentoring programme to connect experienced FM mentors with professionals who need support working in new parts of Europe. Under the scheme, participants would carry out their relationship by phone and email, with if possible face-to-face meetings at the beginning and end of the programme. Three mentor/ mentee relationships have already been established including Bronwyn Allinson from Serviceworks who has started working in Norway and is seeking guidance from her mentor Olav Egil Sapoe on the country's culture, FM market and ways of doing business. The programme's organiser, EuroFM Practice Network Group vice-chair and BIFM deputy chair Dave Wilson (pictured), is working with the Young Managers' Forum and Women in FM mentoring programmes to share best practice. "We want to share learning about what works and what doesn't," he told FM World.