It’s spring! Many of you may be getting outside more or spending a bit more time spiffing up the yard to enjoy those spring barbeques on the patio! And as the landscape changes from winter to spring, we wanted to take some time to acknowledge some changes to the facilities management landscape! Now more than ever, the tools needed to do great work must be adaptable and intelligent. Facilities management teams face changing demands and new opportunities to keep the facility at the center of business success. At Fexa, our team understands facilities management work because we have assembled a team of folks that have been on all sides of the work order! We know it takes a community to get the best business results and outcomes. And now, more than ever, facilities work, and its relevance to the business is evolving.
The Changing Landscape for Facilities Management.
There are many factors, but some of the most prevalent ones that we see every day are driven from the business and include:
1. Industry Segmentation is Blurring.
When the business changes and a facility must expand into offering different types of products and services, the facility and how it is managed must evolve.
Various sub-segments of multi-location enterprises have always had a set of typical priorities for their facilities management efforts. For example, restaurants always care a lot about asset management, and financial services usually have more sophisticated security systems and processes. Home-improvement and home furnishings often have unique warehouse and distribution systems.
Apparel chains have varying needs depending on whether they are primarily stand-alone vs. being located in shopping malls. The list goes on.
However, increasingly it is harder to put businesses in a segment “box.”
Everyone is getting into everyone else’s business! There are numerous examples, but grocery stands out in particular:
- Groceries are no longer an in-store-only supplier. BOPIC and other consumer preferences for buying options are changing the layouts of even the simple grocery.
- Many multi-location grocers are also pharmacies and may even incorporate a mini-clinic right in the store.
- And, it’s not unusual at all to find banks, garden centers, eye care centers, or café’s inside of what started as a grocery store.
THE FACILITY MANAGEMENT TAKEAWAY: Facilities management solutions must be flexible to support changes in the business. They must be easily adapted to support multiple unique and varied workflows, vendors, and more. Whether it is enabling new or new types of vendors, a new fleet of assets with unique requirements, or new regulatory compliance requirements to meet – one size will not fit all.
2. Disruptive New “X”-as-a-Service Business Models Bring Unique Facility Needs.
The disrupters are everywhere. Consumers are demanding new ways to buy things, and it goes well beyond just whether or not they buy online or in a physical store. We are proud to call a number of these disrupters members of our Fexa Community. And there are several attributes we’ve observed when working with these customers:
- They make decisions quickly with a clear focus on customer & brand experience and demand tools that deliver.
- They use data to take the emotion out of their decision-making.
- They expect technology to be as agile and adaptable as they are at capturing market opportunity.
A few examples of these innovators include enterprises like GoPuff and Clutter. Both of these companies are disrupting services in urban environments. The ideas of a “convenience store” or “grocery store” or even an “adult beverage store” are being turned upside down and turned into a “convenience service” from innovators like GoPuff. Their mini-warehouse facilities look nothing like a traditional grocery store. Still, they can deliver essentials like Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey and a four-pack of toilet paper within 30 minutes of ordering via their mobile app.
Clutter is not your grandma’s storage facility! Clutter offers storage as a service and aims to be an extension of your limited home storage. An abrupt change in weather? No problem, Clutter will get your summer clothes to your doorstep in no time at the swipe of their app. And you never had to drive to access grandma’s attic storage!
THE FACILITY MANAGEMENT TAKEAWAY: These disruptors start with the expectation that technology solutions will save them time. Focusing their facilities teams on the highest and best use of their valuable time is critical to them. It’s all about how to make the business better through continuous improvements. These teams embrace automation, not as a threat but as a means to scaling the business and putting their facilities teams in the driver seat to make and support good decisions. They demand facilities management software solutions that are smart, give them an edge in efficiency through automation, and integrate well with other systems they leverage.
3. Innovation in Customer Experience.
As companies seek to maintain customer relevance and thrive in today’s marketplace, they often turn to innovative ways to reimagine the customer experience. Successful companies know that understanding and delivering goods via an omnichannel experience means more than offering an e-commerce option on top of their retail stores. Customers expect a seamless end-to-end experience that is often best addressed as a blend of in-store and online engagement.
An example of this is when in-store technology (learn more about how Crate & Barrel benefits from Fexa) enhances home improvement and home furnishings stores with kiosks that offer new ways of “imagining” the goods in your own home. Artificial intelligence allows you to “see” the furniture choice or new paint color in your home environment, all while chatting with the in-store design consultant.
THE FACILITY MANAGEMENT TAKEAWAY: Implementing these technologies introduces new best practices for store design and layout. Often facilities teams require project management capabilities for efficiently and effectively accommodating store reconfigurations to accommodate new models.
Vendor management may change for some or all of the assets in a store. Some retailers choose to outsource maintenance to specialized suppliers in more comprehensive ways. The facilities management software needs to support a range of workflow and business logic options flexibly.
In all cases where businesses are experiencing market forces and changing strategies that in turn contribute to the changing landscape of facilities management, the road ahead includes challenges but also many opportunities. We are seeing our facilities management teams collaborating in new ways – across business functions and with outside partners. Facilities management teams that are stepping up, finding new ways to bring value to the business through their decisions and the data and insights they contribute to others across the business are achieving great leaps forward.
Change does not always happen overnight, and in many cases, these new models must co-exist with older models for some parts of the business or for some of the geographies. In any case, however, flexibility is key for all of our customers and the broader facilities management community.
Fexa solutions are designed and supported by a team that understands where the industry has been, the range of where it is today, and where it is going. We know that a partnership with our customers must start with listening and understanding their priorities and challenges. We bring experts that understand the business of managing facilities and have a keen eye on where it is going in the future. (For more on the future of facilities management, check out the interview with our founder, Marc Balzamo here).
No matter where your facilities team is in their evolution, we would love to help. We have satisfied Fexa customers who started day one with a focus on utilizing modern software technology. We have satisfied customers who moved to Fexa from systems of sprawling spreadsheets and emails. We have other satisfied Fexa customers whom we have helped move from inflexible older systems that could not adapt to their evolving business needs! Let us partner with you on your journey to better facilities management that yields more excellent value to the business!