The five biggest challenges faced by facility managers can all be addressed through decision-making and self-management.
A short-sighted approach that looks at sacrificing scheduled maintenance programs, band-aiding situations as opposed to getting to the root of the problem, and selecting the lowest cost provider all lead to challenges both now and in the future. All of these factors can be addressed using the world-famous time management grid that made Stephen Covey's 7 habits of highly effective people, one of the best selling books of all time.
Covey proposes that all tasks can be broken down into 4 quadrants as shown above. Efficient and effective people spend their time focused on tasks in quadrant 2. People who are always struggling to get their head above water, are having to repair things, and spend the majority of their time working in the business, spend most of their time in the other 3 quadrants. This shortsightedness means that instead of getting a plan in place to proactively manage challenges, they are ignored until they make it into Quadrant 1. They have now become urgent and demand our immediate attention. This process is multiplied across multiple areas and now you find yourself chasing your tail and unable to get on top of things.
1. Time - Facility managers are tasked with an ever-increasing number of responsibilities, and because of this, their time can be limited. Planning ahead is key to avoid living in a world where you are constantly putting out fires.
2. Stress - By allowing tasks to make it into Quadrant 1, or wasting time on unimportant items, you are creating more work for yourself. Urgent matters control your schedule and you are in a constant spin trying to put out the many fires that you have allowed to emerge. This is exhausting, unrewarding and extremely stressful as you never feel like you have things under control. This is a huge factor that contributes to the high turnover rate within the facility maintenance profession.
3. Budgets - By not getting to the root of the problem, you spend more money on repairing equipment, and have to deal with store downtime, lost revenue, and unhappy staff and customers. You need your stores back online ASAP and you end up paying premium rates due to the new urgency of these tasks.
4. Store downtime - Eliminating scheduled maintenance plans means that units will inevitably need to be repaired and will ultimately fail and need to be replaced. The job of a facility manager is typically: to ensure our stores represent our brand image within budgetary guidelines, allow store management to focus on driving sales, and provide a safe and premium in-store experience for both employees and customers.
Store downtime has a huge negative impact on your brand and revenue, but is a very difficult direct cost to calculate.
5. Pressure/ critique from supervisors - One of our clients came to us with his biggest challenge being the embarrassment and dressing down that he feared during his weekly management meeting. As his time was focused on putting out fires, instead of removing the fuel, things frequently fell through the cracks. His maintenance spend was 36% over budget and HVAC unit lifetime was 41% less than what the manufacturers suggested it should be. However, the worst part of this was that during the meeting, this gentlemen's colleagues would share pictures of damaged stores that they had received from employees in the field. Every Sunday evening he would get that sick feeling in the pit of his stomach as he knew what was coming the next day.
The sad thing is that he had never worked harder that this in his life. The problem was that he just couldn't get caught up enough to get ahead of the problem. By partnering with a management firm, he has been able to pass the time-consuming, lower-level tasks on, allowing him to focus more on the long-term strategy of their facilities.
If you trace all of these challenges back, you will arrive at the junction of urgent and not-urgent. Take charge of your facilities today by ONLY spending your time working in Quadrant 2. You will save time and money, you will enjoy your job more, you will be healthier, your colleagues will recognize and celebrate your efforts more frequently, and you will be able to control your destiny.
If you are spending too much time in Quadrant 1, and shouldn't have taken the 3 minutes out of your day to read this blog, then we need to chat. Let us drill down deeper into your facilities and provide tools that will allow you to manage your self more efficiently and effectively.