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Tune in to FM seminar series continues to address the FM issues of importance

FSI's latest Tune in to FM seminar, held at Harrods on Thursday 27th April, once again brought together impressive industry heavyweights, discussing such matters as Hard and Soft FM, Facilities Management and the Media, and Young People in Facilities Management.

Peter Middup, Publisher of PFM, opened the proceedings, discussing the role of the press in the FM industry, and what the press should be offering its readers.  PFM was the first FM publication, launched in 1986 and celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2006.  There are now 12 FM publications in circulation, and a vast array of titles available (nearly 9080 publications, a rise of almost 50% in the last 20 years).  Therefore, how do you distinguish the good from the bad?  Advice from Peter includes ensuring you only deal with ABC audited publications, and those with editorial independence from paid advertising.  Maintaining a good relationship with FM publications will serve to boost your company profile in the industry.  Awards are of particular importance and should be incorporated into your overall marketing and communications strategy, for not only do they add company credibility, but they provide both internal and external benefits to your business.  In the future, FM will have its own identity, and the marketplace will continue to grow, and be accepted as a profession.  The promotion of your company profile through the FM media should be at the heart of this growing industry.

Wilton Farrelly, Divisional Managing Director of Martin FM, discussed FM from the Contractor's perspective.  H&J Martin is one of Ireland's oldest companies, and has three main divisions: Construction, Fit out and FM.  As an FM service provider, they have a strong emphasis on the provision of 'hard' services.  H&J Martin have been successful for a number of reasons: by using a tried and tested CAFM system (FSI's Concept™ solution), H&J Martin have created an extensive supplier database, the successful management of data and organisation of resources, and solid performance measurement reports.  However, H&J Martin are willing to admit where they have made mistakes: using Concept™ to replace their accounts package, and the failure to use the system's event log to its full potential.  However, without admitting these mistakes, progression could not have been achieved.  Going forward, H&J Martin will further extend their progression, with the use of Workflow and eSQL in Concept™, and a link to an external accounts package.

Young People in FM is a hot topic, both in the industry and for the Tune in to FM seminar series.  Tune in to FM at the Natural History Museum in November 2005 addressed this issue, with John Davis, Managing Director of Facilities Recruitment Limited advising that 3,000 new FM staff are needed in the next 18 months, otherwise, existing FM professionals will need to work beyond 70, to sustain the current coverage, let alone the anticipated growth in the industry.  For the Harrods seminar, Rebecca and Victoria Bradley, members of the FMA Young Managers Forum, took up the mantle, giving a passionate presentation regarding the work of the organisation.  The FMA Young Managers Forum is an important initiative for the industry, meeting regularly to discuss ideas of importance for the future.  Members include representatives from clients and service providers, including the London Stock Exchange, TNT and ISS Coflex.  As well as providing a focus for young FM staff, trainees and students, the forum also actively promotes itself in schools, colleges and universities, where the next generation of FM professionals is to be found.  Other initiatives include networking, to ensure the profile of FM is both maintained and raised, hosting events of interest, and having fun!  For the future, the Forum will be in discussion with the BIFM, undertaking more networking opportunities, research into graduate programmes, on-going relationship building, and 'adopting' companies as mentors.

Finally, Aseai Zlaoui, Technical Systems & Energy Manager, and Gordon Vanderputt, PPM Technical Officer, at Harrods gave the audience a rare insight into their facilities management procedures.  Concept™ has been used at Harrods since 1999, and has revolutionised the Engineering & Building Maintenance department.  Do not be fooled into thinking that, as Concept™ users for seven years, they are content with resting on their laurels: an aggressive enhancement to their Concept™ system is planned, not only with an upgrade to the Concept™ 500 enterprise solution, but also including the introduction of Workflow™, eSQL, and the handheld solution. 

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 in February, followed by Harrods in April, with a further seminar planned for later in the year.

"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 Tune in to FM seminars, please contact:

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