In Aramark’s Top 20 Facilities Management Trends for 2020, a new report released last week, many of those trends focus on areas where technology, people and operations intersect. For example, the report describes the impending merger of IT and facilities management functions/departments.
Digitization, wireless communications and sensors now allow almost every component of a facility to be constantly monitored. Although the data produced is potentially game-changing, its sheer volume requires deep analytics to truly be advantageous.
One obstacle to that merger, however, is that FM departments have generally been staffed by older personnel who are less tech savvy, while IT departments typically consist of younger generations with less interest in physical building operations. As a result, one issue organizations face is integrating those different generations into one functional unit.
A separate but related trend, according to the report, is that preventive maintenance is becoming obsolete as it’s being replaced by predictive maintenance. The constant flow of data on virtually any component of a facility will let organizations “migrate away from traditional time-based preventive maintenance measures toward real-time, data-driven actions that predict when maintenance is needed,” the report states.
Similarly, Trend 9 sees the ability to base support services like cleaning and maintenance on actual use, rather than a fixed schedule. As the report phrases it, “If it has not been used, does it need attention?” Or why remake the bed in your guest bedroom, “if no one slept in it?”
Organizations now have the technology to understand which space was used on a daily basis, which restrooms are out of product and which lightbulbs are burned out. Cleaning and maintenance could be based on actual user demand, driving greater productivity.
Within the facilities management industry
The facilities management field itself faces the same shortage of skilled labor that many other U.S. industries face. Not only is the workforce aging, but the work can be physically demanding, which often leads to earlier exits. Supply-and-demand dynamics mean that workers with critical skill sets can command higher starting salaries than their predecessors did.
The report notes that, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 50 percent of the skilled labor force is now over the age of 50. One closer glimpse at that is that currently 10,000 electricians leave the workforce every year, but only 7,000 enter it.