The concept of quality has different meanings for different organizations and many facility management quality programs available make it difficult to determine which facility management quality program is right for your organization.  Some quality programs provide overall guidance relating to operating your business or facilities management organization.  Other quality programs are project oriented or are focused on incremental improvement of your facility management program.  Many quality programs  implemented in the facility management arena fail for any of a number of reasons including:

  • The cost of implementing and operating the quality program exceed the benefits derived from the program.
  • The focus of a particular quality program is not appropriate for the quality program needs of the facility management program and the program is abandoned.
  • Some facility management quality programs require specific certifications that may be difficult to keep up because of  employee commitment or turnover.
  • Many facility management quality programs take a significant amount of time and an employee’s commitment and involvement in the quality program  may interfere with his or her  regular job duties.  In these cases, the quality program may suffer as the employee needs to be focused on his or her primary duties.
  • Results and deliverables from the facility management quality program may not be acted on and this may have a negative impact on the motivation of the personnel involved with the facility management quality program.  In these cases, the quality program deteriorates and is abandoned.

To get started in your determination as to what is right for your organization, these are some useful steps you can take to determine the correct facility management quality program:

Programs For Smaller Facility Management Programs

  • The size of your organizational unit determines the extent of resources you may have to implement a quality system for your facility management program.  Smaller facility management programs can use simple key performance indicator programs that measure key performance areas that must go right to achieve success. Make sure that these key performance indicators relate to the quality performance areas that are deemed important by management.  Once you determine what these key performance areas are (examples are responsiveness, environmental responsibility, safety, cost effectiveness), determine how you can measure success in these areas from  such sources as your work management system, informal reports, customer satisfaction surveys, and benchmarking.
  • In your facility management program, develop an inspection program where supervisors can systematically inspect work and report issues and successes.
  • For certain preventive maintenance work orders, add inspections into the task list so the worker can inspect his or her own work as it is completed.
  • Implement a proactive quality program where supervisors and managers have periodic responsibilities to inspect buildings and infrastructure and to generate work orders to prevent issues and customer dissatisfaction.

Programs for Larger Facility Management Programs

The larger facility management organizations can implement some of the features for smaller programs but also have the resources to implement more formal programs in place to improve work quality.  Here are some facility management programs that lend themselves to larger facility management programs:

  • Six Sigma.  This  is a program  that requires the organization to identify work areas that are candidates for improvement and to use the Six Sigma process to make improvements.  Personnel involved in the program go through a certification program (e.g., Green Belt and Black Belt Certifications).  Improvement is made by continuously identifying and completing projects for improvement to improve facility management performance.
  • Kaizen.  This Japanese (Kaizen means “good change” in Japanese) program is primarily a continuous improvement program built into the culture of the facility management program from the head of the organization to the lowest level worker.   By improving standardized work processes, the program eliminates waste and adds value.   Constant improvement is made over time.
  • Malcolm Baldrige.  This is an overall management program that uses 7 criteria for improving organizational performance including the following excellence criteria overall areas, (1)leadership, (2) strategic planning, (3) customer focus, (4) measurement, analysis, and knowledge management, (5) workforce focus, (6) operations focus, and (7) results.  The program was developed by the Federal Department of Commerce and a number of State excellence programs use the criteria to make excellence awards to organizations that comply with the criteria.
  • ISO 9000.  ISO 9000 is a program that uses eight criteria for achieving excellence.  When implemented in a facility management organization, the program requires a strong process documentation program that the facility management organization uses to “say how and what they are going to do”.  The ISO 9000 Certification program examines these documents and determines whether or not the organization “is doing what they say they are doing”.  The program is primarily used  in facilities management programs that must comply with government regulations and law. This program uses standard operating procedures to govern facility management activities.

Implementing and continuing any quality program will result in improvements in your facility  management organization.  However, be mindful that these quality programs take continuous commitment from your organization.  Once you implement a program, report the results and improvements to management.  Facility management programs have the tendency to “do the work” and not report the successes achieved.  Management must know of these facility management successes which, results in trust and improved credibility within the organization.  Good luck implementing your facility management quality management program!