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Strategic Facility Management: A White Paper

In the real world of facility management (FM), a plethora of activities fall under the facility manager’s responsibility, causing frequent lapses into a reactive mode in order to respond to all the requests, orders, regulations, deadlines and demands of the organization. Facility managers know that the need to become more proactive and strategic is important, but finding the time to devote to strategic planning is often a struggle. As Stephen Covey teaches, we need to prioritize what is important rather than simply urgent in order to gain maximum effectiveness.

Strategic facility planning (SFP) is a process that can lead to better, more proactive delivery of services from a facility management organization to its stakeholders. The time taken to carry out SFP is well spent in that it helps to avoid mistakes, delays, disappointments and customer dissatisfaction. It can actually allow facility plan implementations to run more quickly and smoothly.

Since SFP is not a daily task, many facility managers are unfamiliar with the best way to accomplish this type of planning, or perhaps have been asked by senior management to quickly provide a strategic facility plan and are not sure where to start. Facility managers may still be unsure how to initiate the SFP process and need to obtain information on methods and techniques useful for successfully implementing a SFP to correspond with their organization’s needs.

While every organization is different, all organizations strive to become more competitive, effective and provide the best workplace possible for its employees. This is the role facility managers fulfill and SFP is an exercise that is considered another tool to add to the “FM tool belt” needed for success. This white paper provides information on the SFP process, its requirements and benefits, and gives a facility manager the basic tools to launch and successfully complete a SFP for the supported organization. Definitions are provided in an appendix to help clarify terms quickly or for reference. A process model is also provided to support visual thinkers and learners.