Archive for October 2008

What can we learn from the Financial Crisis that can be applied to Facility Management?

Shortly after I post the earlier writing on “Financial Crisis and FM”, I receive queries about “how then can learning from the causes for the financial crisis be applied to facility management?”

Great! That’s challenging and sets my mind thinking….I will briefly share my opinions

The banks / financial institutions were “narrow” in their strategic plannings. I believe they felt that by being lenient in lending (even >100% loan) will attract more customers, thus thought they will earn from the interest. You know as well as I do that one main reason that caused the collapse was that the people (lenders) cannot make payment as such caused the system to collapse. That’s simple.

Lesson learnt:

The banks – financial institutions:

  • took a narrow views on the potential gains from charging interest.
  • did not consider CONSEQUENCES! Were the customers QUALITY customers?
  • did not consider long-term for the people, their organisations, effects on its own country & globally.
  • greed took control – now they are not able to digest what they “consumed” from the leniency of loans.

What about that which can be applied to FM?

  • when selecting service providers or vendors, think CONSEQUENCES. Qualify if they are reliable vendors / contractors. Not appointing them just because they are the lowest quotes.
  • Qualify the QUALITY of the vendors / contractors. Verify their people’s abilities, skills, experience, behaviour, etc, besides their financial capbilities…
  • Low cost does not necessary equal to value add.  Ascetain clarity as ambiguities may lead to variation costs, rework, overrun of schedule-resources.
  • Do risk identification and analysis.

In situational planning, consider always the 4-legs of enterprise: Productivity, Innovation, Quality and Safety. These are reasonable and practical guides to ensure effective and value added services provided by facility management.

To Your FM Success!

Making a Difference in Facility Management……

Current Financial Crisis and FM?

What we are seeing now in the market is a PANIC! People who were experiencing their stocks’ value drop by 50% or more cannot take it and are just selling at whatever price they can. So everyone is SELLING SELLING SELLING at whatever price they can get.

On the other hand, many people with cash are skeptical and cautious about the crisis situation dare not to buy anything for fear that it can go lower.So what happens when you have got millions of sellers and no buyers? Stock prices plunge!

When fear and panic happens and people sell irrationally, fundamentals and intrinsic value are thrown out the window.  This is when good companies get dumped together with the bad. ( This is when people sell 20,000 square foot bungalows that worth $5m for $1m).

We all know from history and common sense that the market will eventually recover and go to even higher highs. So, why do people still sell when the market is down? Well, because EMOTIONS always overcomes LOGIC in life, even in the markets.

The most important thing is to focus on fundamentally strong stocks that got hit by the collateral damage and avoid the ones that really got hit i.e. Financials. The market will probably not rebound very fast immediately, it will take months or even years for it to climb back up so no rush.

What then can FM now take advantage of the current situation to add value to its organisation (be it as internal or external FM service provider? Hmmm…..something that we can think about in time of finanical crisis, Think FUNDAMENTAL and LOGIC. Not emotion. :

  • How FM can be a business advantage to our own organisations? 
  • Are we now faced with resources constraints eg manpower, budget,etc?
  • Do we lay off good & experience staff because they are “expensive” to keep?
  • With lesser activities, what to we do in planning for the”rain”
  • Are there any works or planning that can be done now to prepare for future?   
  • Are there costly works that can bring forth now to take advantage of better bargain prices and works
  • etc

In any adversities, there may lie opportunities. Just as any success or crisis may leave clues.

To Your Success!

Making a Difference in FM….

Asia Pacific Health, Safety & Environment Conference 2008

I was invited to speak on “FM in relation to HSE” at the Asia Pacific HSE Conference 2008, 16-18 October 2008, at Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur.

Majority of the participants were from the Oil & Gas industries, from Asia. Only one participant from Singapore plus myself as the Speaker. Majority were from the Middle-East, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea, etc. You may wonder, hey Steven, you were not from Oil & Gas industries then why are you there? Yes, when I was invited, I told the Conference Producer but he mentioned that he BELIEVE that Facility Management Concept is beneficial to that industries.

Imagine, as I was sitting through those speakers before me, I hear & see “stars”. other than the overview of petroleum, oil & gas process, I can hardly appreciate the detail of the process and the terms used in HSE.  Standards such as IOC, NOC, 29 CFR 1910, 119, CSB, EPA 40 CFR 68, OSHA 1910 119, etc. were some of the terms and language that these professionals use. Well, I get to learn & appreciate better. These industries have alot of good practices, due to the critical facilities, focus on corporate social  responsiblities and the need to focus on HSE & fire safety.

If you want a copy of my paper on “Facility Management in Relation to HSE”, do drop me a line and I will send you a copy. True enough as what the Conference Producer had said about his believe in facility management concept (he did a research on FM), my presentation had challenged the participants to review their challenges that they faced back at work and the added value if facility management concept can be adopted and HSE can form partnership with FM. I did a quick survey, through the raise of hands, majority HSE function and FM function are two different departments.

Below is a dynamic speaker on “An integral Approach to Safety: A New Tool and A New Perspective”. I’m surprised that he is not a HSE practitioner. He is a coach and facilitator, with a well known consultancy firm that work on change management ( The company has helped many companies and among which Chevron case study was used to demonstrate how through coaching & facilitation can help to reduce injuries and incidents / accident rate. 

 Conference held at KL – JW Marriott Hotel

I’m impressed. What I learnt was that as FM practitioners, being “Specialst Generalist”, can adopt such methodologies to apply FM concept and processes to add value to our organisation.

Fellow FM practitioners, let’s do our part to promote the awareness of Facility Management and I believe with the visibility we can be viewed as professionals in line with the engineers, architects, etc.

“Making a Difference in Facility Management”

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