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Getting Tuned in to FM with FSI, at the Natural History Museum

Developed by Concept CAFM developers FSI, the Tune in to FM seminar series was established in 2004 to promote dialogue between users and systems developers.  The free seminar series encourages the sharing of best practice between delegates from a wide range of industry sectors and brings to the fore the latest developments within the FM industry via a mix of formal presentations and informal networking.

The seventh Tune in to FM event, chaired by FSI's Vaughan Sparkes, opened with a presentation by John Davis, managing director of Facilities Recruitment Limited.  John drew on his wealth of experience to look at career trends in the FM industry.  Highlighting the near-critical skills shortage, he said there was a need to attract new blood into the industry and for existing FM staff to remain in their roles long past retirement age.  Recent surveys, he said, indicate that FM staff need to be offered a pay increase in the region of 15 to 20% to be tempted to move jobs, while 35% of London's FM's feel their jobs are unsafe.  He also estimates that 3,000 new FM staff will be needed in the next 18 months and said the skills set required of facilities professionals are changing, with financial management competence becoming more important as FM Contracts/budget sizes get bigger.  He concluded with a warning that as the available pool of potential employees shrinks, employers need to use more sophisticated techniques to ensure they employ the right staff; and they also need to actively market themselves to attract potential candidates.

Tuomo Komulainen, system manager for YIT, spoke on his company's use of FSI's Concept 500 CAFM system.  YIT is a construction and engineering company with over 20,000 employees based in Finland, with net sales of €3bn (2004) and an operating profit of about €1.35bn.  Its' clients are a mix of investment-led property owners, owner occupiers and tenants.  It is therefore vital, says Tuomo, that they have a good CAFM application to fulfil their clients' varying demands.  Concept 500 solution has been used at YIT since 1999, and is able to link seamlessly with its clients' systems, including reporting databases and mobile solutions.  Tuomo was able to give advice on the choice of system; the pitfalls to look out for during implementation; and importantly getting user and client buy-in.

Mick Dalton, marketing director at GSH and chairman of the BIFM, presented next, discussing his view of the global FM market.  He looked at how globalisation will continue in the FM industry, while multinational customers will continue to demand global best practice across all their operations.  There is a need, he said, for a centralised management and/or delivery of multiple-country FM operations.  To successfully meet the needs of the local/global industry, we must optimise local expertise, by offering support with global knowledge, and address any multicultural barriers in order to succeed.  A major part of the FM future is in Asia, but Mick warned we must be careful of the cultural, linguistic and geographic variables, while the lack of global standards and common definitions will continue to impede benchmarking and promotion of universal best practices.

Finally, FSI's Irenee Van Den Ende, implementation consultant and project manager at The Natural History Museum, discussed the FM function at the museum and the use of Concept at the site.  Irenee's presentation included a brief history of the building, and he explained how the estates department have to balance the management of three million visitors a year with the maintenance and conservation of the museum and its artefacts.  The museum originally installed FSI's Concept system back in 1996, and it is now used for call logging, room booking and as an eSQL self delivery function.  The Concept Asbestos module is used for their asbestos management, whilst the implementation of the Concept Workflow module to automate business processes in on the horizon.

Now in its second year, the Tune in to FM series kicked off its 2005 programme at the Ministry of Defence's headquarters in Whitehall in April.  Subsequent events followed at Anglia Polytechnic University in June and Airbus UK in Bristol in September.