How To Develop a High Performance Facilities Organization


03 Jun How To Develop a High Performance Facilities Organization

Facility managers around the world are under increasing pressure to lower operating costs by utilizing best practices for the type of facility managed and by making their existing buildings more energy efficient. Without an effective strategy for doing this, they are limited to their own experiences and will struggle to find the most effective approach. The facility management field is constantly evolving – utilizing the best in technology, management practices, and stewardship of physical assets and the environment. No matter what the industry, FM’s are being challenged to reach beyond their capabilities and industry and utilize best practices to strive for operational excellence.

The club environment is no different in regards to the pressure to make assets perform. Every club relies on properly designed and maintained facilities to support the many different programs enjoyed by members. A key member of the GM staff, in a moderate to large Club should be the facility manager, a professional with planning, financial, and leadership/management skills. This individual must be carefully chosen, assigned targeted responsibilities, and reviewed properly to assure a fully functional and reliable facility operation department. With respect to a small Club this responsibility may fall to the GM or an assistant.

The FM function can benefit from a regular review of FM organizational structure and characteristics, process reviews for efficiency, assessment of current conditions and forecast of future needs, and a continual review and improvement of the knowledge, skills, and abilities of FM personnel. Like any organization, the FM function should have a high-performance goal at all times.

Although clubs differ from many other industries, the creation of a highly competent FM department will help the GM assure member expectations are met and financial results are within expectations of the Board. One way to assure performance is to adopt a leadership philosophy of high-performance.

Defining a High-Performance Organization

A common goal of Facility Managers is to create a high-performance organization. High–performance organizations are defined by their commitment to their members and the ability to consistently deliver cost effective services. The FMs role is to maximize performance of the physical assets of the club and to align FM services with the mission of the organization.

Creating a high-performance FM organization:

  • Fully supports strategic business initiatives
  • Enhance operational efficiencies and effectiveness
  • Reduce costs
  • Optimize process performance
  • Maximize return-on-investment (ROI)

A Framework for High-Performance starts with a systematic approach to assessing the current state of the FM function, defining strengths and weaknesses, closing the gap between the current and high-performance state, and enabling a culture of continuous improvement.

Many current FM assessment tools used today are based on quality measurement systems designed to measure product quality and improve process engineering. These measurement systems include TQM (Total Quality Management), Six Sigma, ISO (International Standards Organization), and BNQP (Baldridge National Quality Award). TQM and Six Sigma systems generally concentrate on driving process improvement to increase product quality and generate cost savings. ISO, like Six Sigma, also focuses on fixing quality defects and product non-conformities. While some of the concepts are valid for facilities organizations, a more specific framework for FM organizations should focus on improving performance through leadership and management initiatives and increased member satisfaction.

The assessment framework outlined below integrates recognized quality standards for FM services that is clearly linked to KPIs aligned with the organization’s strategy. This allows the FM organization to be very effective in implementing improvements aligned with the mission/vision of the organization, accurately measure the results and track trends.

Where do you start the improvement process? Using the tools above, facility managers can zero-in on enhanced performance. The first step is to develop a sound strategy that utilizes Leadership and Planning skills and member focus. From there, development and training of the workforce with an emphasis on improving FM processes and monitoring and measuring results will lead to more efficient facilities, higher member satisfaction, and lower operating cost.

Focus on Process Management – Operational Excellence and Best Practices

For the purposes of this discussion, we will concentrate on one of the most important aspects of Club management that links the FM to the organizational strategy – the Process Management portion of the framework. Concentrating on the Process Management portion of the framework allows the Club to continually evaluate and adopt FM industry best practices that lead to an environment of operational excellence.

O&M Process Management:  The performance area of O&M Process Management should include the evaluation of the following categories:  Workflow processes and documentation, work management and work orders, asset and equipment inventory and management, facility audits and assessments, project and construction management, energy and sustainability management, grounds and custodial services, facility operations and procurement, levels of service, maintenance programs, security and life safety, adherence to applicable laws and regulations, and facilities management technology (automated work management).

A well-structured FM organization should have effective and efficient O&M processes.  A high-performance FM organization should focus on preventive maintenance (PM) and have well documented systems for work management.  There could be enhancements through the incorporation of predictive testing and inspection (PT&I) methods to supplement the PM program.

Implementation of facility audits (facility condition assessments) should be integrated into the overall maintenance and repair program. A high-performance FM organization should have well developed project management and construction delivery practices incorporating good communication, project collaboration, and design guidelines. A formal commissioning process for major building equipment and systems should be in place.

Energy management and sustainability policies should be in place. Building automation systems should be in place in a majority of the major buildings in the Club environment. Sustainability practices should be incorporated into new building construction and renovations.  Initiatives for sustainable practices could include; energy and water management, recycling and reuse of materials and resources, integrated pest management (IPM), green cleaning, sustainable purchasing, and sustainable site management.

Grounds and custodial services operated with a high degree of proficiency to provide safe athletic facilities with a focus on cleaning for health, not just appearance.  Security, life safety, and environmental health and safety programs and awareness of codes, laws, and regulations are among some of the best practices in a Club setting.

Establishing KPI’s for High-Performance

The FM needs to be armed with the right tools for improving the facility function. Developing measurements for success can often be a painstaking process, since not all things measurable are worth measuring. It is up to the FM to develop key performance indicators (KPIs) that are easily determined, updated often, are meaningful to the user, and that have the most significant impact on the desired to create a high-performance FM organization. Identifying and monitoring the right key performance indicators can have a positive influence on operational characteristics and practices that can lead to significant efficiencies and cost savings.

The search for the proper KPIs and development of a “dashboard” of operational indicators allows the FM to constantly measure and monitor the most important operational characteristics. These KPIs can then feed into a Balanced Scorecard that allows an organization to measure and constantly evaluate their efforts to improve operational efficiency. These measures can be used to check progress against specific goals, or to benchmark against the operational efficiency efforts of other organizations and adopt best practices in FM.

The next figure represents a number of KPI’s that relate directly to operational excellence and represent best practices in facility management.


Metric Description   Std.   Metric Description   Std.  
Facility Condition Index (FCI) <0.05 Stockroom Turns / Year 2 – 3
Deferred Maintenance Backlog Trend Annual Training Hours >40 hrs.
On-the-job Wrench Time >60% Maint. Cost / Replacement Cost 3 – 4%
PM / CM Ratio 70 / 30 Percent Return Work <5%
Unscheduled Maintenance Downtime <2% Mean Time Between Failures Trend
PM Schedule Compliance >95% % Failures Assessed: Root Cause >75%
CM Schedule Compliance >90% Maintenance OT Percentage 5-15%
Unscheduled Man-Hours <10% % WO Covered by Estimates >90%
WO Turn-Around Time Trend On-Site Supervisor Time >65%
Emergency Response Time <15 min.2 Stockroom On-Time Delivery >97%
Stockroom Service Level >97% Material / Part Performance >98%


This table represents only a fraction of the metrics available that can drive the FM organization toward operational excellence in the Process Management realm of the high-performance framework. The difficulty is in identifying and managing the list of metrics down to the few that are most meaningful in aligning with the mission and vision of the club.

Done well, and performed within the framework of solid leadership, planning, member focus, and workforce development, this will create an environment and culture of high-performance and operational excellence.

The Next Step – the Balanced Scorecard

The next iteration of this process is the development of a Balanced Scorecard that bridges the gap between the organizational strategy and the delivery of a high-performance O&M environment. The BSC is a performance management tool that allows the FM to develop initiatives, measures, and targets that are used to measure success around all of the elements of the performance management framework.

The purpose of this presentation was to allow the FM to establish a starting point for developing a high-performance FM organization around the basic building block of FM practices – Operations and Maintenance. The next step in improving operational effectiveness is the development of a scorecard to deliver a high-performance O&M system, and inclusion of the other key elements in the process – Leadership, Strategy, Workforce Development, Member Focus, and Measurement and Analysis.

Contributors: Kit Tuveson and Chris Hodges


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