FMA chief calls on industry to adapt to changing workforce

The future of work is collaborative, with the facilities management industry urged to be “more agile and responsive”.

The future of work is collaborative, with the facilities management industry urged to be “more agile and responsive” in order to keep pace.

Speaking at the FMA’s national conference Ideaction, the national facilities management conference and exhibition, in Sydney this week, FMA CEO Nicholas Burt said the facilities management industry relies on “collaborative effort”.

“Facilities management needs to be agile and responsive as the future workforce recognises the importance of collaboration,” Burt said.

“The industry is characterised as highly competitive in the marketplace, and it is. But in reality…. collaboration is used to create opportunity.”

Burt told delegates in his opening address the future workplace will be the ability to drive innovation and productivity.

He said there is a growing focus on issues such as wellbeing, while energy management and sustainability continue to remain core parts of the sectors. Burt added the use of data to help shape future strategy is also transforming the future of the industry.

Outgoing chairman Kristiana Greenwood said the facilities management industry needs respond to the needs of the changing environment.

As an industry we need to embrace the future and move to respond to the needs of the changing environment. We need to ensure we’re able to deliver the value that is expected.”

Keynote speaker Louise Monger, head of property management, office and industrial, AMP Capital, also called for more collaboration between user groups in the asset life cycle.

“There’s a disconnect between the design and construction process…and the operations team that manage the building, and this impacts the end user.”

Monger said the end user extends beyond the customer to also include facility managers, maintenance contractors and operations team.

“There’s not enough collaboration between user groups which has a impact on the end user.”

Monger’s suggestions to improve project development included implementing processes that support all user groups, using technology to document management and establishing trusted partnerships between all users groups in the asset life cycle, “working in collaboration but with speed and throughout”.

Technology trends shaping FM 

Keynote speaker Dr Jordan Nguyen spoke of how science and technology is influencing business.

“We’re living through the fastest rate of change we have ever seen. But it also might be the slowest rate of change we’ll ever see again,” Nguyen said. “It’s a really exciting time, but it can also be a bit scary.

“So many jobs that exist today won’t exist in the same way in the future. At the same time, many jobs that will exist in the future don’t exist now. We need to see how science and technology shapes the landscape so we can recognise what’s coming next and how we can plan for it.”

Nguyen also spoke of the application of new technologies beyond their core industries such as science and medicine.

“The reason this is relevant is because these types of technologies are advancing in their own fields, and they’ll continue to advance in those fields until they hit a point when they will start to spread across different industries and sectors.

“The late Stephen Hawking said intelligence is the ability to adapt to change. And this couldn’t be truer in this day and age.

Nguyen encouraged delegates to “look outside their bubble”.

“You have to look outside the bubble to find out what’s going on out there because it’s going to affect you in your own business, sector and life.

“Look at advancements in areas like research, science and medicine which have brought things like artificial intelligence into the spotlight globally which is starting to affect every industry and sector you can think of.”

“Technology is just a tool that can help us achieve our dreams. When you set your purpose on how you’re going to utilise technology, you have to think about how it will improve lives and the world around you.

“Nothing is impossible.”

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