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China

Facility Manager: from “glorified custodian” to trusted strategic advisor

A joint report from JLL and IFMA: Redefining the Executive View of Facility Management 


SHANGHAI, MAY 31, 2016 JLL (NYSE:JLL) in conjunction with the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) released a whitepaper entitled <Redefining the Executive View of Facility Management>, in which both groups examine current executive perceptions of the facility management (FM) industry, as the latter shifts and adapts to new work styles and technologies. The whitepaper maintains the assertion that despite previous executive perceptions of facility managers as “glorified custodians” with minimal strategic value, key shifts in the business environment have created new opportunities for these managers to advance their strategic value and become an integral part of an organization’s team for planning and execution.

Speaking yesterday at the JLL Shanghai office in honor of the whitepaper’s launch, senior representatives from both JLL and IFMA discussed the report’s key findings, including a) The dynamics between Facility Management (FM) and C-Suite relationship; b) The importance of C-Suite perception on how real estate, facilities and portfolio management are able to unlock the value of business; and c) Actions that Facility Managers can take to improve their involvement in the strategic decisions of an organization. 

The report highlighted that the FM “holy grail” of becoming a trusted advisor versus order taker or even glorified janitor is still a work in progress in some companies: A 2013 survey by the Center for Economic and Business Research for British Council for Offices found that 57% of senior executives surveyed said facility issues were not regularly discussed in the boardroom, and 73% agreed that cost remains the most important factor in assessing facility performance. 

 “However, a number of current macro trends which are changing these perspectives,” said Robert Hutton, Head of Integrated Facilities Management for JLL Greater China, “Firstly, a growing demand for an employee-centric workplace has reinforced the role that facility managers play in creating satisfying working environments, thus providing an important link between the FM function and employee productivity; Secondly; an emerging emphasis on facilities as brand extensions is allowing facility managers to act as brand stewards and more closely align the FM function with the core business strategy; Lastly, in an increasingly data-driven business environment, business leaders seek better data to drive smarter decision-making, and facility managers can maximize their strategic value by meeting this need head-on.”

In order to properly leverage these emerging opportunities, the report suggests the following actions FM managers can take:

  1. Operational Excellence: to lay the groundwork for an increasingly strategic role, facility managers must first ensure that their day-to-day tactical responsibilities are handled efficiently. As such, facility managers should strive to understand and operationalize the hallmarks of high-performing FM teams.  
  2. Outsourcing partnerships: Outsourcing FM to a dedicated service provider allows businesses to leverage the provider’s proven operational excellence, core competencies and deep subject matter expertise, and by extension, frame FM as a key player in operational strategy. 
  3. Utilize new technology solutions: Facility managers who effectively harness cutting-edge technologies to supply dynamic data and powerful analytics to business leaders will have strong case for their role as strategic partners. 
  4. Master the soft skills: Developing soft skills, such as effective relationship management, communication, collaboration, and problem-solving, will help build the facility manager’s image and influence in the organization. 

“We’re seeing C-level executives realize that real estate, facilities and portfolio management holds a key to unlock business value,” concluded Hutton “We’ve never seen anything like the change that is occurring in our industry.” 

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>>>Click to download the report<Redefining the Executive View of Facility Management>
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​About JLL

JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a professional services and investment management firm offering specialized real estate services to clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying and investing in real estate. A Fortune 500 company with annual fee revenue of $5.2 billion and gross revenue of $6.0 billion, JLL has more than 280 corporate offices, operates in more than 80 countries and has a global workforce of more than 60,000. On behalf of its clients, the firm provides management and real estate outsourcing services for a property portfolio of 4.0 billion square feet, or 372 million square meters, and completed $138 billion in sales, acquisitions and finance transactions in 2015. Its investment management business, LaSalle Investment Management, has $58.3 billion of real estate assets under management. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, www.jll.com

JLL has over 50 years of experience in Asia Pacific, with over 33,000 employees operating in 92 offices in 16 countries across the region. The firm won 15 awards at the International Property Awards Asia Pacific in 2016 and was named number one real estate advisor in Asia at the 2015 Euromoney Real Estate Awards. www.jll.com/asiapacific  

​In Greater China, the firm was named ‘Best Property Consultancy in China’ at the International Property Awards Asia Pacific 2016, and has more than 2,200 professionals and 14,000 on-site staff providing quality real estate advice and services in over 80 cities across the country.  www.joneslanglasalle.com.cn​​​​​