The future is bright; the future is simple

Facilities Management shouldn't be this complicated!

When IEM was founded, we did not want to perpetuate the confusion and complexity often associated with FM, so we made the decision to keep things simple.

There were various reasons for this thinking, but the most important of these was the bad reputation that the industry had acquired, mainly due to its somewhat chequered history.

According to Reuters, one of the primary reasons FM businesses have struggled in recent years (Carillion and Interserve spring to mind) is the continuous hamster wheel of signing long fixed-rate contracts at un-sustainable pricing.

Complicating the services offered to clients makes it easier to hide the real cost and mask the value customers are getting.

Simplifying complexity is a skill that most great businesses and leaders possess, but it is sometimes missing in FM.

"Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean, to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end, because once you get there you can move mountains" Steve Jobs

As the world becomes smaller, the ease with which businesses can get information into the marketplace becomes even easier. However, the need for quality content that stands out becomes ever more necessary.

Selling service-driven products is challenging, especially in a world of so much noise, quality content and competition. When trying to justify a price-point, expensive complex products are usually perceived as more merited than simple ones.

Successful organisations and leaders are highly skilled in simplifying this complexity, instead of "complexifying” simplicity.  However, if you get it wrong, this can confuse your customers, who nod their heads politely but have no clue how you will ease their pain points.

Clarity and simplicity

"If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough" Albert Einstein

Any industry focused on selling to the lowest bidder will always have underlying challenges, especially if that industry relates to services. The way many businesses overcome this issue is through "Bundling" or giving perceived value. After all, it is easy to compare apples with apples (hourly rate of jobs, materials and length of time) but much harder to compare the more subjective elements (quality, management fees and administrative support.)

FM has always been an industry famous for its acronyms and hidden costs; that’s why there is a need for clarity and a much more simplistic approach. Good FM companies will sell real features and services that customers genuinely need, rather than perceived value, due to "Bundling" features that clients will never use.

One of the main challenges the FM industry has had, is that they have to come in at the lowest price and give the perception of more added value. The FM industry needs to understand the power of clarity and simplicity.

When building a sustainable business, concepts, jargon and complex features should never be at the expense of customer benefits. 

The next few years should bring a shift from the complicated world of hidden features and acronyms that nobody understands, to a drive for removing complexity and replacing it with simplicity.

The Future is bright

Outsourced providers will need to add more value than before. Increased spending budgets to get businesses up and running as soon as possible will create more business opportunities.  FM companies that can adapt quickly, focus on the basics, without the bells and whistles, whilst helping customers prioritise, are the most likely to flourish and grow.

Other reasons why 2021 will be bright for the FM industry include:

  • Cost reduction may be necessary, but organisations will also need to free up more funds to get their estates trading in super-fast time.
  • With many buildings closed for so long, there will need to be urgent investments in Health and Safety, including compliance checks.
  • FM/Property Managers will suddenly have more exposure and be at the forefront of strategic decision making.
  • IoT and AI advances will make the industry sexier, especially the drive towards predictive and preventative maintenance - however, this may need to be put on hold for a short while, as businesses open safely and get their basics right first.
  • Employees will probably want to get back to their workplaces and interact face to face with their work colleagues once more, and this will be a crucial part of facilities teams’ activities over the Spring and Summer months.
  • There will be a level of urgency not seen for many years, so the demand for services will be very high.

If FM companies get things right and make it easier for customers to attain more value, the next 12-24 months could be one of the most exciting times in history for the industry. Getting estates up and running in a post-covid world, will bring many opportunities for FM businesses to grow and for clients to build workplaces that will be business enhancers, not just cost centres.

We were set up with the goal of simplifying estate management. Contact us today to discuss how we can support your business.

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