AFFLINK, which provides sales and marketing solutions to more than 300 distributors and 250 supplier organizations in North America, finds that the most pressing concerns of facility managers in North America today can be broken down into five distinct priorities.

The following, in no specific order, are the five key priorities of facility managers:

1. Building managers are concerned with finding ways to analyze costs throughout the entire supply chain, not just the price of individual items.

2. Image. High on the list was how building users and visitors as well as the community perceive a facility. Image is important because it helps brand a facility for marketing purposes.

3. Productivity. Facility managers want to make sure that their facilities enhance worker productivity.

4. Hygiene. A very high priority for facility managers is to have programs in place that ensure their facilities are clean, healthy, and safe.

5. Sustainability. Sustainability issues are high on the list of building managers. Plus, most use the three-pronged definition of sustainability, which includes the social, economic, and environmental impacts of a facility.

These key priorities were determined through interviews with the organization's member distributors, as well as with manufacturers serving the professional cleaning industry.

AFFLINK also analyzed feedback from users of its ELEVATE process, a free online resource that helps managers operate their facilities in a more efficient and cost-effective manner.

"We were looking for the big issues facility managers are concerned about," says Michael Wilson, vice president of marketing for AFFLINK. "Instead of such things as dealing with contracts and day-to-day building operations, we wanted to uncover the 'big picture;' the key objectives facility managers have for their buildings now and into the future."

He adds, “Some of these priorities are higher for some managers than others. But we found these five priorities to be key objectives for most all facility managers."