How a centralized approach can benefit facility management

Many benefits exist for facility managers who centralize their maintenance and engineering activities, and cost saving is just one of them. However, their success will depend on their ability to gather the needed resources and implement a strategy that addresses consistent long-term performance.

Effective maintenance is critical to the success of any organization as they minimize operational costs and maximize the value of facilities. The process of centralization of these activities might not be easy, but considering the benefits, it is well worth the effort – according to FacilitiesNet.

Cost considerations 

Managers can obtain cost savings from centralized activities through lean concepts, such as waste elimination, efficiency improvement and standardization. A centralized team can also streamline processes and negotiate better rates with vendors, resulting in cost savings.

Furthermore, a centralized approach can help to optimize equipment, space and personnel. A centralized department can identify and prioritize maintenance activities based on the criticality of assets and the availability of resources, which can help to reduce downtime and minimize costs.

Centralizing maintenance and engineering activities also allows managers to develop standardized policies and procedures ensuring that facilities are managed and maintained consistently and efficiently to the same high standard.

Beyond the bottom line 

Centralizing maintenance and engineering activities have potential benefits far beyond the bottom line – as Darrell X. Rounds, senior manager of global workplace risk mitigation with General Motors Co. writes for FacilitiesNet.

Resource coordination. When activities are decentralized, each department or location is more likely to have its own staff, and the result can be duplicate efforts and inefficient use of resources. By centralizing activities, managers can better coordinate the deployment of staff and equipment.

Technology. If activities are centralized, organizations can invest in technology that is designed for collaboration and can be used across the organization. In this scenario, a centralized view of the data from building automation systems and CMMS can help teams respond more effectively, leading to better data management, improved analytics and more effective decision-making.

Communication. Facilities are often managed by different departments, such as operations, finance and human resources, which can create silos and communication gaps. By centralizing activities, managers can create a structure or team that serves as a liaison among departments and stakeholders. This approach fosters collaboration, communication and transparency, and it helps managers improve decision-making, reduce conflicts and improve outcomes.

Asset management. Most organizations have limited resources, and centralization allows them to evaluate the needs of their entire portfolio and establish and implement plans that ensure assets have the greatest impact. Under a decentralized approach, each unit has to make the case for investment. Centralization takes emotion and subjectivity out of the process.

Data management. A centralized facility management team can implement a standardized system for data collection and analysis, allowing for better insights into facility management operations and making it easier to identify areas for improvement.

Emergency response. Centralization improves the organization’s ability to respond to emergencies. A centralized team can ensure that all departments are aware of emergency procedures and can coordinate efforts to respond quickly and effectively.

Strategic planning. When facility management activities are decentralized, different departments may be working on their own projects without considering the bigger picture. A centralized facility management team can develop a comprehensive facility management plan that aligns with the organization’s goals and objectives, ensuring that all facility management activities are working towards a common purpose.

Work environment. By centralizing activities, managers can ensure facilities are regularly inspected, maintained and repaired, which can prevent accidents, reduce downtime and improve the overall quality of the work environment. This approach can address concerns raised by employees and stakeholders and contribute to their satisfaction and well-being.

Challenges to face

One of the main challenges is the need for a centralized structure and leadership to oversee and coordinate these activities across different facilities. This effort might require significant investment in human resources, technology and infrastructure, which can be a barrier for small or decentralized organizations. Centralizing also might require changes in the organizational culture, processes and policies, which can be met with resistance from employees. 

To overcome these challenges, managers need to develop a comprehensive strategy that considers the specific needs and constraints of their operations.


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