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Second Roundtable Brings Further Focus to Discussions

     In an effort to directly address topics meaningful to facility managers, the Central Ohio IFMA Chapter kicked off the New Year by holding its second roundtable Thursday, January 11, at the Electric Trade Center of Central Ohio. 

     Facilitated by David Deal of Heapy Engineering, the session played host to about a dozen facility managers who began the session with a light lunch and some networking before moving into the noontime agenda. 

     Deal spent the majority of the hour giving those in attendance a 1,000-foot view of the best way to manage facilities and projects.

     “There’s some shared interest and common thought around energy management and preventative maintenance planning amongst Chapter members,” Deal said of the reasoning behind the newly-launched roundtable sessions.  “We work with clients all the time who are constantly in reactive mode because there is so much to do.  So, we try to help our clients think through, ‘How do we become a little more proactive in our management of our facilities?’”

     Using the Continuous Improvement Cycle is key, said Deal, to becoming proactive in not only managing projects, but mapping out a facility plan to better handle routine maintenance and planning for capital projects.  Continuous improvement, or Kaizen, is a method for identifying opportunities for streamlining work and reducing waste. The practice was formalized by the popularity of Lean / Agile / Kaizen in manufacturing and business, and is now being used by thousands of companies all over the world to identify savings opportunities. Many of these ideologies can be combined for excellent results. For example, Kaizen and Kanban can go hand-in-hand to facilitate continuous improvement.

     Deal shared the Kaizen model with Central Ohio IFMA Chapter members at the roundtable to give a good facility overview, sparking questions and discussions for later sessions.

     When following the Continuous Improvement Cycle, the first phase is Identify.  Deal advised identifying priorities based on interest from senior leadership and stakeholder engagement.  Facility managers should ask themselves, “Why are these items priorities? What is driving their importance?”

     Next, conduct a facility condition assessment as part of your planning process. 

     “This will serve as a baseline,” said Deal.  “It gives you a global view of your facilities and how each is performing.”

     Once that assessment is complete, its time to consider being more efficient with that information.

     “The next important question is how we get all this important information integrated into an online maintenance management system,” said Deal, “which is going to allow us to more effectively track our work orders, adjustments we’ve made and preventative maintenance performed.”

     Next, establish policy concerning responsibilities and priorities.  Using a well-thought-out process is important, reiterated Deal. 

     After looking at all the data efficiently and effectively, implement a preventative maintenance plan.  Once executed, then review your process to assess how the plan is working and to gage the effectiveness of changes. 

     Throughout the overview, Central Ohio IFMA Chapter members stopped to discuss various points related to the Continuous Improvement Process including the value of Energy Star ratings; RFP, RFQ and performance contracting; buy-in by employees during subcontracting; moving from a paper-based maintenance management system to an online system; asset management tools; APPA Facility Checklist; and the number of years a contract should last – or in other words, finding that sweet spot between going out to bid too often and being stuck with a contract that is not working. 

     “We’re throwing a lot at the wall today,” said Deal, who hopes to tackle some finer points in subsequent roundtables in the months to come.

     The Central Ohio IFMA Chapter hopes to hold roundtable sessions each month that it also conducts facility tours.  Members discussed tapping into the chapter’s own vendors to help facilitate subsequent roundtables, and hosting several vendors at one session with a sort of round-robin structure to allow for more detailed information and discussion at the manager level.

     Check the website for more information about dates and times of upcoming sessions.