When a client has that moment of realisation that they do not simply have a procurement function, but are actually asset owners, their obligation to preserve the value of their assets shifts from being not just about today, but about the future. Similarly, the days of in-house teams of 30+ people with clipboards managing the supply chain, are long gone, yet we still see it on a daily basis. FM companies need to be on their game too, as their demise can be equally quick in a saturated and misunderstood market.
If we can take a moment to look at the term asset management. It is not actually about spending money; it is about retaining and creating value. There is a fundamental link between the management and operation of a building and its value today, and even more so in the future in the same way the residual value of an elemental asset and its maintenance have a direct relationship.
Which begs the question, ‘why are clients so focused on getting the cheapest price from FM service providers?’ FM companies are currently killing each other to win new clients by claiming they can achieve the greatest value by getting the cheapest price and making additional savings on current budgets. Typically, the client’s FM manager and the contractor are essentially complicit in extremely short-term gains, creating marginal values over massive long-term liabilities. In my opinion, this clearly isn’t asset management, and I truly struggle to comprehend why any building owners would want this solution. This is definitely a topic for another discussion, but it seems that as a region we can’t move beyond it, and unfortunately, I believe it will eventually be our downfall.
So, what is next? As I alluded to earlier, the evolutionary step of the future is effective asset management, and both the asset owner and the supplier or contractor simply must evolve. With the fast onset of digitisation, remote monitoring, AI and machine-learning, the role of the asset owner can be significantly streamlined.