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Facilities management teams play a crucial role in improving the overall risk profile of organisations. By keeping facilities and assets in good condition, risk is generally reduced, by reducing the likelihood that a hazard will occur, therefore reducing the likelihood of potential consequences being realised.
Risk management is a goal shared by facilities teams, and decision-making stakeholders. Both teams are tasked with ensuring facilities are safe, and fit for purpose.
While the ultimate goal is shared, both teams approach risk management from a slightly different perspective. By understanding the differences in perspective, facilities teams can start to improve communication with stakeholders when it comes to risk, through shared understanding.
There are many major areas of risk management that are a key focus for facilities teams and management alike: safety, continuity, and compliance.
We’ve unpacked each of these, looking at why they matter to decision-makers, and highlighted how the FM team provides support.
Facilities users is a broad term, understood to mean anyone setting foot in the facilities. Staff, contractors and customers should all be able to come into your facilities and reasonably expect to go home in one piece.
Ensuring facilities are a safe space within which to conduct business is a top priority for decision-makers, as the responsibility for safety ultimately sits with them. Beyond their liability, they are people, who want to ensure they’re not actively causing harm to others.
Safety regulations exist for good reason, and legislative breaches can have a significant impact on the bottom line of the business.
Insurance costs, legal fees, and any similar payments can represent an almost immediate loss. Someone being injured while on site can also cause long-term brand damage to the business, further restricting the flow of revenue.
Facilities teams support safer facilities primarily through maintenance efforts and effective communication.
Through planned and reactive maintenance, facilities teams reduce and rectify potential hazards. Generally, the fewer hazards are in a facility, the lower the likelihood of potential consequences occurring.
Other ways facilities teams can support safer facilities include ensuring contractors are properly inducted and communicating effectively to staff.
To effectively reduce the number of hazards and potential hazards, facilities teams need to be supported with the right tools and resources. Executing a planned maintenance strategy for example, requires funding for preventive works, while reactive maintenance requires an appropriate mechanism for work requests to be logged.
When it comes to contractor inductions and staff communications, facilities teams need an efficient way to convey information. Additionally, there needs to be a way to prove that these inductions and communications have occurred, to reduce liability if a negative consequence is realised.
Facilities are places where business happens, no matter what the commercial purpose of your organisation. Different facilities will have different operating requirements, and certain assets that will be critical to continued operations.
Any asset whose failure has the potential to impact service delivery, even temporarily, is one central to business continuity. If you’re a hospital, this could be the air conditioning that keeps surgery rooms at the right temperature. If you’re a manufacturer, it could be a piece of equipment that is key to production.
The decision-makers, including the board, are responsible for the performance of the business. Their remit spans everything from maintaining production capacity, to brand reputation and retaining the best staff. Anything which threatens service delivery therefore, is something they’ll want to address as a priority.
To reduce the likelihood that an asset critical to business continuity will fail unexpectedly, or under-perform, facilities teams often perform planned and preventive maintenance.
Over time, normal wear and tear will cause assets to eventually fail. Effective planned maintenance strategies allow facilities teams to plan for this, replacing the asset before it fails.
These replacements can be scheduled in advance, to happen at a time that will minimise disruption.
Executing an effective planned maintenance schedule requires funding for proactive maintenance works, and the software that enables the execution of that schedule.
To obtain a licence to operate, businesses need to comply with relevant safety standards and organisational regulations. Without these licences, businesses simply cannot operate, triggering an immediate shutdown of operations.
A failed audit is a potential negative consequence for the organisation, that keeps decision-makers up at night. A failed audit, resulting in a cessation of trade, is a catastrophic result for key decision makers, given their responsibilities to the organisation.
Facilities management is bound by many different regulations, particularly in reference to safety and building consents. Efficient facilities management is key to compliance, through activities like fire system safety testing, lift maintenance, water filtration and more.
Safety audits aim to ensure that the required activities are happening on the correct schedule. Any delay in collating and presenting proof of these activities increases the likelihood of negative consequences.
If it can’t be proven that the necessary actions have been taken, then the severity of potential consequences, and the likelihood that those consequences will be realised, both increase.
Increasingly, auditors expect this information to be available on demand, something outdated paper and spreadsheet-based processes cannot support. Timely and accurate reporting on compliance activities requires investment in dedicated facilities management software.
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