Today my post today is in recognition of World FM Day which this year falls on the 13th July. World FM Day is a Global FM initiative to celebrate the importance of the FM profession. It aims to raise the profile of FM around the globe, promoting facilities management’s ideals, not only within the profession and industry, but also among governments and the general business community. The theme for this year ‘Empowering people for a productive world’ is about highlighting how FM enables people across the globe to achieve positive results and enabling business to deliver high quality business performance.

Facilities Management is represented in South Africa by the South African Facilities Management Association (SAFMA)  of which I am a past Vice Chairman and whom my Company Tsebo Facilities Solutions proudly sponsors. SAFMA is one of the global FM associations that will be celebrating World FM day and are actively encouraging our growing membership in South Africa to do so as well.

Tsebo Facilities Solutions CEO Dr John Wentzel will be celebrating the day with the Minister of Basic Education Mrs Angie Motshekga by sharing the SAFMA Award for excellence won by the Tirasano consortium for the Public Private Partnership Project at the Department of Basic Education headquarters in South Africa’s capital city Pretoria.

I on the other hand will be spending World FM day meeting with a new prospective client from a large mining house, who has shown interest in a unique commercial model that we have instigated for a client in a similar industry sector. We will be meeting up on a site approximately 200 km outside Johannesburg where we will be showcasing a solution around the accommodation and housing of workers that we have developed for the local industry leader in the oil and chemical industry.

The ramifications of the horrific massacre of 41 miners at Marikana in 2012 as well as recent changes in the Mining Charter in South Africa have meant that employers in the resources industries need to provide better accommodation, security and nutrition to their workers. This was a groundbreaking opportunity for us as facility management providers to offer our expertise in the areas of maintenance, security, catering and cleaning to offer a unique and innovative commercial model that flexes both with the roller coaster, cyclical nature of the industry as well as the seasonal occupancy of the Client’s business. This is just one way in we have been able has been able to gain traction in the notoriously insular and somewhat bipolar resources industry.

We hear the cry from our clients about the lack of innovation in the services sector and perhaps the way in which we innovate is less obvious than the step changes we see from our product cousins, but it is not impossible. Step change innovation in the services sector changes can be achieved by focussing on the commercial model and how this enables our client’s business and its key drivers.

We do ourselves an injustice as an industry by describing ourselves as mere service providers, a descriptor that is wholly inadequate, conferring an operational outlook that is extremely limiting. The evolution of FM over the past decades has seen it develop from being just another service provider to being upgraded as a business enabler. FM has become significant to all kinds of organisations, as an emerging service that can support and enhance their business value. An efficient facilities management service is a contributing factor to the total success of any organisation. By ensuring alignment of a workplace solution with the key business drivers of our clients, we can focus on value creation, innovation, cost as well as service excellence and establish our credentials as a formidable business enabler.

In conclusion, FM holds a key role as a business enabler. It supports organisations not only from the operational side, but underpinning business continuity together with both short and longterm organisation goals and success. FM brings organisation to the strategic way forward, and the role should be integrated into all business and strategic plans to offer an added value to the organisation itself. The recognition of this strategic role will give FM the opportunities to contribute to business success and the business enabler badge it richly deserves.