VFA NEWSLETTER / AUGUST 2014
|Ray Dufresne, one of VFA’s co-founders 16 years ago, is an expert at helping clients turn data into knowledge that can positively impact their organizations. In his role as Vice President and Senior Consultant in VFA’s consulting group, Ray works with clients across the world in a variety of industries. We caught up with Ray in between sessions with clients and asked him to share his thoughts:|
What are the most common problems you see FM teams facing these days?
Some of the most common problems are timeless and universal – like doing more with limited facilities budgets and garnering support for necessary, but not necessarily sexy, building infrastructure repairs. Other problems are more recent. Like other occupations, the pace of life of the FM is ever quickening. The technology that has made our work lives more efficient has also caused us to demand rapid solutions to issues as they arise. Faster reaction times and problem-solving requires good communication between the FM team members and well-defined processes and tools.
Based on your experience, are there one or two areas that FM organizations should focus on to have a significant impact?
Given that reaction time to crises needs to be faster, FMs can have the most impact if they can break the cycle of constantly reacting to problems and are able to get out ahead of the issues. This requires proactive planning, which can be difficult to do when a seemingly endless stream of crises needs to be managed. You need a disciplined approach. One effective strategy I have seen is for each FM to devote part of every day or week to planning. Actually scheduling it on the calendar increases the odds of it really happening! If this can become part of the FM team’s culture, the benefits will multiply over time.
I have also seen a renewed interest in customer focus among our clients, not only in the corporate world, where we would expect them to think about customers, or in healthcare, where patients are customers, but also in government agencies and universities, who have “customers” – building users – that rely on their services. I see more and more organizations basing facilities decisions on what can help them better serve their customers. Facilities play a large part in the customer experience at any organization.
Where have you seen clients have the biggest impact on their organizations?
Some of our most successful clients have been able to change the perception of facilities within their organizations from a necessary evil to a valuable asset. They have done that by working with senior management to explicitly align facilities with the organization’s three-five year strategy plan, making the management of facilities more transparent and providing better information to a wider audience within the organization.