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Management: The Top 2011 Facility Management Trends

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In today’s economy, facilities and building managers are under pressure to cut costs and do more with less.  But as budget belts tighten, requirements and requests for high-quality maintenance remain.  At the same time, there is growing awareness of the importance of using more environmentally-preferable products and facilities managers are looking to “green” their buildings and incorporate LEED strategies, while helping to improve the bottom line.
Economic challenges over the last few years have helped to significantly reshape the industry. Today’s facilities and building managers are retooling to meet the demands of a profession that has become increasingly visible within the procurement supply chain and are focusing efforts on their overall sustainability goals and cost-containment efforts.
As one of the only national cleaning and maintenance programs in the country through Staples Facility Solutions, Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples, Inc., offers a look ahead at what trends may impact facilities and building professionals in 2011. These include:
· Growing adoption of e-commerce technologies: A new breed of facility managers is emerging - many are professionals from other disciplines and operational fields, such as science and engineering.  These professionals are using their experiences with Web-based technologies to improve efficiencies within their facilities, drive automation and support green initiatives.  In the next year, the industry may see a significant increase in the number of facility managers adopting e-commerce systems to help drive down the cost of goods and services and streamline purchasing practices across locations.
· Greater awareness of the total cost of sustainability: As facility managers face continued pressure to do more with less, they are realizing that simply buying green isn’t enough. Many are starting to look at the product’s total cost as part of a more sustainable approach to facility management. This not only includes the acquisition cost, but also the cost of using and disposing of products over time.  A growing number of facility managers may start embracing sustainability as their cornerstone strategy in 2011 to help drive down the cost of operations and improve the health of building occupants with safer chemicals that last longer, impact the environment less and can be applied for multiple uses.
· Just-in-time inventory gains in popularity:  Keeping extra inventory on hand is a major challenge for companies that don’t have the warehouse space and are trying to reduce costs. The appeal of national suppliers that offer just-in-time delivery for orders of any size is growing in popularity.  Both facility managers and procurement departments also like the idea of being able to easily manage the purchasing needs of multiple sites with one supplier, who can deliver products on an as needed basis, regardless of location.