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Fenugreek Facility Management Report

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FENUGREEK RESEARCH COMPANY LTD.
FACILITY MANAGEMENT REPORT
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This ten-page facility assessment report presents the findings from a three-week period of investigation in Fenugreek Research Company Ltd and relates recommendations both operationally and strategically which the Fenugreek management is advised to take to resolve the issues that surfaced during the period of investigation. Seven most pressing concerns coming from the Fenugreek staff were each dealt with in detail and suggestions for them were subsequently discussed for its feasibility. The findings of the investigation brought this Facility Manager to the conclusion that there is general dissatisfaction with the current working conditions of Fenugreek Research Company, which must be addressed individually in face of a period of uncertainty and change as the company owners look to float the firm and make it a public concern. The recommendations presented were judged for their practicability and immediacy of solution to the pressing concerns of the Fenugreek employees.
INTRODUCTION
Although facility management has long been practised by military, government and schools, it is a fairly new business and management discipline. As the role of the physical work environment on performance and productivity started to become more and more evident in studies, so has the field become more and more involved in a business context. In a compilation of over 40 studies of productivity improvement, changes in performance and productivity were shown for everything, from the reduction in glare to total facility redesign (Brill 1984). The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) defined facility management as “a profession that encompasses multiple disciplines to ensure functionality of the built environment by integrating people, place, processes and technology” (as cited in Rondeau, Brown & Lapides 2006:4). Atkins & Brooks (2005) claims that there is no universal approach to managing facilities, as each organisation – even within the same sector – will have different needs, so an understanding of those needs is the key to effective facilities management measured in terms of providing best value. In this light, the facility management department of the Fenugreek Research Company (FRC) conducts an investigation of the whole site to identify the weaknesses of the Fenugreek facilities before taking forward the management’s plans to float the company. After a three-week period of investigation, a number of alarming issues within the organisation was discovered, thus prompting for evaluation and bringing forth of recommendations, both operationally and strategically.
FINDINGS
Summarily, there were seven major findings in the three-week period of observation. Each finding will be taken individually and in order of urgency in the following sections, as a facility manager must determine the priorities for repair, renewal, and replacement projects based on need (Piper 2004). First though, there is a need to identify the issues’ stakeholders, as they will naturally be taken into consideration in the presentation of recommendations for the improvement of FRC facilities. Alexander (1998) claimed that facilities have the potential to contribute to productivity, service and quality through maintaining commitment amongst the stakeholders. After a careful analysis of the situation, the stakeholders who were largely affected by the issues identified in the investigation are: (1) the FRC staff; (2) the Fenugreek community; (3) the senior physicians; and (4) the FRC management. Their reactions to FRC facilities development will have a considerable impact to FRC’s bottom line, and with that in mind, this report sets out to present recommendations which will be satisfactory for all parties involved. According to one of the findings, the in-house security team are prepared to go on strike due to unsatisfactory working conditions. One of the major concerns brought out by the investigation is the wage increase, which the management has inadequately given attention to in the last three years. Although essentially, this is not part of facility management, it is considered to be the most pressing issue at hand. Another issue pointed out by the in-house security team is, coupled with the stagnant wage rate, their responsibilities have even increased, due to the resignation of the postman, who left with the same reason that the in-house security team is complaining about. They also have, in addition to the above, been found to be having problems with the foul odour that dead animals are emanating in their posts, the latter resulting from the yellow ‘sludge’ that have leaked into the site pond where the animals live nearby. Health problems are then expected to follow, due to the exposure to the smell.
Secondly, and in conjunction with the previously mentioned complaint of the in-house security, a few environmental issues have surfaced. On top of the list is the lack of a designated disposal area for clinical wastes. The said wastes are mostly dumped together with common garbage, which should not be the case. The number of staff reporting off sick with constant headaches, flu and minor respiratory complaints represent an expense on the part of the company in that core business activities takes longer to be done with the lack of staff around. These health complaints may be rooted to the fact that clinical wastes are not disposed of properly, which imposes hazard on the health of the staff. The third most pressing concern that the investigation found is the cleanliness of the public wards, which poses threat to the health and safety of the clinical staff. Ever since the task of cleaning the wards were outsourced to Abacus Cleaning Coy has the problem presented itself. In relation to the second and third findings, as Facility Manager, three of the component roles in operations are trash removal, hazardous waste management and correction of hazards (Cotts 1999). The health and safety role is a related job responsibility (Teicholz 2001) that cannot be taken for granted.
Fourth, with the matter of floating the company and making it public, the Fenugreek staff is very concerned with what would happen to them, worsen by the fact that information has been slow in coming from the senior management. This has affected the morale of the Fenugreek employees in the uncertainty of their standing in the research company if ever Fenugreek is indeed made public. The fifth concern is the constricted office spaces allotted for the senior physicians. With the constant expansion of the business, offices which were previously occupied by only one staff is now being shared by two to three staff at a time. Also, the musty odour of stale air will be distinctively smelled upon entering the main hub. Sixth in the list are the systems complaints from the staff, particularly the lack of an Environmental Management System (EMS) and the outdated Management Information System (MIS). Last in the list who is in grave need of attention from the management is the complaint of the general staff towards the performance of the in-house security members. This was placed last in the list, as it is expected that once the most pressing concern, which involves the in-house security staff, has been resolved, resolution of this last concern will follow.
CONCLUSIONS
The findings brought this Facility Manager to the conclusion that there is general dissatisfaction with the current working conditions of Fenugreek Research Company. The ‘working conditions’ in this report’s context means not only the physical environment that the staff is operating in, but the pay conditions of the employees and the attitude of the management towards them as well. In relation to this, Fenugreek has already considered the distinction between their core business and non-core business activities as part of the drive to achieve best value. The conditions that were deemed fit for both the core and non-core business activities are now starting to become unsatisfactory for the Fenugreek employees, in the face of a period of change and uncertainty as the owners of the firm look to float the company and make it a public concern. Since running costs account for a significant part of annual expenditure (Atkins & Brooks 2005), Fenugreek naturally looked for savings in core and non-core business areas. This is evidenced strongly by outsourcing the cleaning of their public wards to Abacus Cleaning Coy, delegating the responsibilities of vacated positions to existing employees and maximising office space by having staff share office rooms in the main hub. Although these measures were taken in good faith by the management in an attempt to decrease the organisation’s running costs, employees have felt that the repercussions to these measures have been detrimental to the working conditions within Fenugreek. There is therefore, a set of recommendations that has been prepared. These recommendations will naturally need to be maintained once they are carried out and in place. According to Magee (1988), the maintenance effort begins with organisational decisions concerning the desired level of maintenance. Policy regarding the source to be notified for the completion of the maintenance work must then be established. Next, the actual content pf the actual content work must be identified, work crews scheduled, and the actual work completed. Following are recommendations to the management which have already been judged for their feasibility and efficacy in providing the solutions to the most pressing concerns brought out in the three-week investigation.
RECOMMENDATIONS
As the single responsible individual to whom the top management looks to coordinate and control the efforts of all employees engaged in various facilities management activities (Lewis 1999), each of the subsequent recommendations are feasible solutions to the findings previously mentioned, in order of their urgency. As the Facility Manager of Fenugreek who is concerned with the attitude of employees towards their work influenced by the compensation that they receive, the in-house security team must receive proper attention from the Fenugreek management with respect to the consideration of a raise in their pay. This move is clearly justifiable, with the amount of responsibilities that they carry out, from patrolling day in, day out, issuing identification cards to new staff to planning for the car pool vehicles for company purposes. A facility manager, as a common function under the directing task, is also responsible for work scheduling (Cotts 1999). The observation found out that only three security staff works in a shift. With the extent of their current activities, another security person in a shift is called for. This addition will serve a two-fold purpose, the complaints of the general staff regarding the performance of the in-house security team will be solved, and the morale of the security members themselves will lift up, as an increase in the number of person per shift will somehow distribute duties more evenly. The internal postal duty is a different matter though. It is strongly recommended that a new internal Fenugreek postman be hired and measures be taken to ensure that the conditions of employment be mutually satisfactory to both the management and the new postman so that the case with the last postman would not have to happen again. The concern regarding the yellow ‘sludge’ coming from one of the research laboratories will be dealt with in the third item of the recommendations, as they are closely-related matters of environmental concern. Environmental issues are not only in-house concerns, but the surrounding community’s, as well. As the health and safety of the Fenugreek staff and the surrounding community is at risk due to haphazardly disposed of clinical wastes, certain measures should be taken to ensure that this problem ceases to exist. First that needs to be done is the designation of a disposal area on the site where the clinical wastes can stand by waiting for pick up from the city waste management department. From an observation of the company area, the most ideal disposal area would be a section of the asphalted road within the electronic barriers of the compound. There is a need to close off this section of the road though, for visual and hygienic purposes. The yellow ‘sludge’ observed by the in-house security team to be coming out from one of the research laboratories leaking into the site pond should be readily given attention to. There are two options for this concern: adopt a treatment technology for water, wastewater, and solid wastes or purchase an incinerator which would burn solid and sludge wastes. Both options will naturally incur costs, the former for research and development and the other for the actual acquisition cost of the equipment. But this should be viewed as an investment for the firm, an investment which would result in the fulfilment of a social responsibility and the avoidance of being legally sued for violation of waste disposal laws.
As for the internal working conditions of the buildings, the installation of new heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) units will be a costly project for Fenugreek. The recommendation therefore is to repair the existing HVAC units, as they have been found to be working still and a repair is all that is needed. Repair is cheaper than purchase, which the management will be sure to agree to. An observation of the internal air movement showed that the air within the main hub is stale with a musty smell. Upgrade of the HVAC installations will improve this condition. The building’s lighting is essential for better visual performance, as well as the noise level of a room for better concentration. These two facets of physical conditions should be adjusted according to the need of each individual room within the buildings of Fenugreek. There is therefore the need to install sound proofing devices or light-dimming apparatus for them. Outsourcing the non-core business activity of cleaning duties is understandably an indispensable move on the part of the management in their drive to achieve best value by lowering running costs. What must be done, in this area is to change the services provider, replacing Abacus Cleaning Coy as the outsourced client of Fenugreek. This action should be done in the soonest possible time, as the company is not only wasting resources in paying the current services provider while not getting value for their money, the health and safety, including the of their staff is also on the line. A bid should be open to those who want to engage a contract with the company, and the latter should pick from the bidders who among them will give the most value for their money. The fourth concern is relatively easy to remedy. A company-wide and exhaustive information campaign should be launched within the organisation to clear the questions that are in the mind of FRC employees regarding the upcoming floating of the company. Open forums should be scheduled from time to time, not only to keep the employees informed, but also to serve the purpose of complaints presentation and discussion. Since the lecture theatre is pretty large and is not functioning as that for the last ten years, the senior physicians should be set-up in that building to maximise building space and to allow more comfort in the movement of the staff which is restricted by the shared office spaces. An EMS should be adopted, considering that the company’s slogan is in an environmental context. Not only will it make handling of trash and hazardous wastes safer for everyone involved, it will also promote a better image for the firm to the outside world. Rondeau, Brown & Lapides (2006) noted that one of the related job responsibilities of a facility manager is telecommunications integration. An updated IMS should also be in place, a proposal for adapting networking to connect information to and from the main and the outlying buildings is called for. These suggestions will eat off a part of the company’s resources, but similar to the case of a waste disposal system, it should be viewed as an investment which will appear in the bottom line of Fenugreek as additional profits through more efficient data handling. The resolution of the general staff’s complaints regarding the performance of the security staff, once the first recommendation is followed, will ensue. An improved in-house security morale will result to improved performance. Thus, it is evident that working out the first issue will consequently lead to the resolution of the last concern, hitting two birds with one stone.
REFERENCE
Alexander, K 1998, Facilities Management, E & FN Spon, London.
Atkins, B & Brooks, A 2005, Total Facilities Management, 2nd edn, Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford.
Brill, M, Margulis, S & Konar, E, 1984, Using Office Design to Increase Productivity, vols. 1& 2, Workplace Design and Productivity, New York.
Cotts, D 1999, The Facility Management Handbooks, 2nd edn, American Management Association, New York.
Lewis, B 1999, Facilty Manager’s Operation and Maintenance Handbook, McGraw-Hill, New York.
Magee, G 1988, Facilities Maintenance Management, Construction Publishers and Consultants, Massachusetts.
Piper, J 2004, Handbook of Facility Management, The Fairmont Press, Georgia.
Rondeau, E, Brown, R & Lapides, P 2006, Facility Management, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New Jersey.
Teicholz, E 2001, Facility Design and Management Handbook, McGraw-Hill, New York.…...

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