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18 June 2018
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The FM world in motion

Familiar challenges, for sure – but it's in the planet's fastest growing economies that government and business alike are looking anew at the value of FM to both their built environment and economies. Where the world is developing, so too is a fuller awareness of FM. Martin Read and Jamie Harris report.

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Credit: Shutterstock

15 May 2017 | Martin Read and Jamie Harris

The statistics attached to the world’s two most populous countries – India and China - take some beating. 

Cities two to three times the scale of London, vast new infrastructure projects, expansive liberalisation of formally restrictive outsourcing arrangements. All have their place in creating and identifying FM performance gaps that desperately need filling, and all offer great opportunities to adaptive service providers. But there’s no question that the biggest requirement is for qualified FM professionals, be they to plug gaps in technical expertise or, increasingly, to bring in desperately needed customer service prowess.

In our ongoing project to take a snapshot of global facilities management in 2017, we’ve found that professionalisation of the sector is still typically linked closely to capital investment in the local built environment. And only in countries with great distances between cities is FM still seen as a predominantly physical maintenance activity; there’s no question that softer skills, and in particular the often intangible issue of customer service, are increasingly sought. 

This latter discipline is an intriguing one, and led by global firms seeking to homogenise the experience of their own customers whenever they enter new markets. Meeting this requirement has both cultural as well as training ramifications; for many, this kind of work is an entirely new requirement.

How, then, does the world value the FM function in 2017? There simply cannot be one single answer. Too many local variables mitigate against identification of any single, overarching expression – although it should be said that a picture of the slow move from property maintenance-first to a service oriented around the customer is easily painted.

Below are links to snapshots taken in April 2017 from a varied cast of correspondents. Also, in our broadcast, Facilities Management Worldwide, (midday BST, World FM Day, 17 May) you’ll hear more from the voices here, plus others, as we discuss the gradual maturing of this thirty year old profession.  

Europe - in train with professionalism

Finland - Pekka Matvejeff, lecturer and chair, EuroFM

France - Chelsea Peterson, regional contracts manager, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Hungary - Jozsef Czerny, chairman, Hungarian FM Society

Ireland - Pat Gaughan, managing director, Advanced Workplace Solutions and chairman, BIFM Ireland

Africa - a continent of sharp contrasts

South Africa - Andre Klopper, national facilities manager, Redefine Properties

South Africa - Andrew Mason, director, Tsebo Facilities Solutions

Nigeria - Wale Odufalu, chair, BIFM Nigeria

Nigeria - Tunde Obileye, managing director, Great Heights Property Management

Botswana - Mike Mafa, estates and facilities director, Maruapula High School

South America & the Caribbean - FM's slow road to recognition

The Caribbean - Tyrel Melville, facility management 'savant' based in Trinidad & Tobago

Brazil - Thiago Santana, vice president, ABRAFAC

China and India - an almost incredible scale of opportunity

India - Manjit Rajain, founder & executive chairman, Tenon Group of Companies

China - Oliver Jones, managing director, Chayora

The Middle East - FM is fast maturing

Middle East - Jason Goddard, vice chairman, BIFM United Arab Emirates

USA - new government could mean major changes

USA - Peter Kimmel, principal, FM BENCHMARKING, and publisher, FMLink

We're broadcasting live at 12 noon BST on World FM Day, Wednesday 17 May. You'll be able to hear audio interviews with some of the international correspondents mentioned above, as we capture a snapshot of FM across the globe in 2017, as well as live discussion on the issues and themes that have arisen. Tune in here.

Emma Potter
Facilities Management Worldwide