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Business Beneficial Systems Integration at the fore of FSI’s latest Tune in to FM seminar

FSI's latest Tune in to FM seminar, held at the Bank of England on Friday 24th February, brought together a mix of industry heavyweights, to discuss business beneficial systems integration.

First to present was Chris Scriven, Managing Director of Efficiency Direct Ltd.  Chris threw the spotlight on the technical integration within FM, from an Energy perspective, exploring the systems found in modern buildings that can integrate to improve the site's Energy Management.  These include Building Management Systems (BMS), metering and individual manufacturer's software.  Many organisations have received wake-up calls recently, with the sharp increase in energy costs.  Amongst the common energy management problems are: poor boiler combustion controls, incorrectly set controls, and heating fighting cooling.  Energy Management has a basic principle: if you can measure it, you can manage it.  Chris discussed how metering and sub-metering systems can take data from BMS, utility supplier information, and bespoke systems, for integration into a central package, to produce management reporting.  In summary, an integrated approach between BMS and Energy Management will reduce costs.  Government body The Carbon Trust (http://www.thecarbontrust.co.uk/) can also help.

Bernard Williams, Managing Director of Frisque Co Ltd, discussed the factors influencing facilities costs and the difficulty with predicting or estimating facilities cost ranges.  To eradicate this issue, Bernard discussed Facilities Cost Monitor (FCM), developed as a joint venture between Bernard Williams Associates (BWA) and FSI.  FCM is an intelligent decision support system for monitoring, planning and controlling the cost involved in the provision of facilities services in an infinite variety of site-specific scenarios.  Following a successful demonstration of the product to the audience, Bernard addressed what FCM can be used for: from a Client perspective, FCM can be used for preparing budgets, checking tenders and in-house service costs, benchmarking existing contract prices and preparing data for external benchmarking.  From an FM Service Supplier perspective, FCM can be used for preparing first estimates such as first-stage PPP bids, due diligence on their own contract bids, and justifying existing contract price levels (to avoid having to re-tender for work).  The data in FCM, drawn from BWA's records and experience, has been built up over 30-years of benchmarking consultancy.  FCM is reviewed on a quarterly basis to ensure its accuracy remains.

Facilities Management is widely regarded as the silent 'work horse' of an organisation, rarely discussed in media circles.  Anna King, Marketing Consultant and Grant Gibson, Freelance Journalist, advised the audience that the media is interested in all news, whether good or bad, from all sectors.  It is important to nurture relationships with the media, and respond quickly to their inquiries to minimise speculation.  Your organisation should have a key message for all to adhere to, and media communications for your organisation should be controlled from one central source.  Many opportunities are available for the promotion of Facilities Management in your organisation: from the use of your trade press through to entering awards.  Good press is not only beneficial for your organisation, but also for company morale.  Having good links into the media is a distinct advantage, especially when things go wrong.  Dealing direct is always the best approach, as the story arrives unfiltered, however, should you need to employ the services of a PR company, ensure they are unobtrusive, imaginative, and get their clients' point across without being pushy.

Finally, Peter Higgs, Head of Property Services & Security at the Bank of England, gave the audience a rare insight into their facilities management procedures.  Prior to the implementation of FSI's Concept™ CAFM solution at the Bank of England, their aims were to raise quality and efficiency of work, and deliver savings.  For the Property Services & Security division, there was no understanding of the Bank's requirements, a poor reputation for customer service, no management information, no service level targets, and the helpdesk used at that time was limited to property maintenance only.  Concept™ was introduced at the Bank of England in phases: phase one had its problems, including a poor specification of requirements from the Bank along with being under-resourced, poor business area engagement, and an over-reliance on FSI.  Phase two was a vast improvement on phase one, thanks to the Bank being better resourced, as well as having more realistic aims for the project.  The customer (Bank of England) was also involved from the outset, thereby ensuring their 'buy-in' to the product and project.  Services are now available online via their own intranet system, and any member of staff in contact with these services is asked for their requirements and feedback.

Developed and hosted by Concept™ CAFM developers FSI (FM Solutions) Ltd, the Tune in to FM seminar series was established in 2004 to promote dialogue between users and systems developers.  The free seminar series not only encourages the sharing of best practice between delegates from a wide range of industry sectors, but also brings to the fore the latest developments within the FM industry.  Now in its third year, the series kicked off its 2006 programme at the Bank of England.  Subsequent events will follow in 2006, including a seminar on 27th April at Harrods.

"The success of the Tune in to FM series has been phenomenal," explains Compton Darlington, FSI's Business Development Director. "Obviously we were acutely aware of the need for a specific platform to be developed; one that would not only promote a better understanding of asset management and transparency of FM services across industry sectors, but also allow the exchange of ideas, experiences and even frustrations to ultimately enhance working environments.  But we have been truly surprised at the levels of interest from prospective attendees."

Should you wish to attend one of the 2006 Tune in to FM seminars, please contact:

Sally Wotton
Marketing Executive
FSI (FM Solutions) Ltd
+44 (0)1708 251900 / sally.wotton@fsi.co.uk