1. More emphasis on environmental stewardship
The trend toward going green is nothing new in facilities maintenance and janitorial services. Experts project that by 2023, commercial building owners will invest $960 billion on greening existing buildings, according to the U.S. Green Building Council. But now facilities managers are also looking for ways to make their companies’ daily operations more environmentally friendly through recycling, waste reduction and the use of green cleaning products.
“Many recent studies have shown that clean buildings make for healthier, happier and more productive employees,” says John Larsen, Director of Business Development for PMUSA. “More and more often, retailers are looking for vendors who use green cleaning products and recycled paper, like PMUSA does.”
2. Move toward distribution centers
Over the past five to eight years, retailers have begun supplementing brick and mortar locations with distribution centers to serve their online shoppers. Larsen notes, “Distribution centers wouldn’t exist without those brick and mortar stores, so retailers have been looking to strike a delicate balance between the two.”
This presents some unique facilities management challenges.
For example, more retailers need facilities management vendors with experience not only in maintaining a customer-facing storefront, but also in distribution and logistics facility management. “That versatility is crucial for maintaining consistent high standards across all company locations,” says Larsen.
3. Preference for vendors with a national presence
Along with a move toward integrating distribution centers has also come a move toward building a national presence. The multi-unit, multi-region business is on the rise. That business model requires repeatability and sustainability, which affects aspects of the business such as facility and vendor selection.
To streamline operations and facilities management, companies with a national presence are increasingly turning to facilities management providers that operate on the same scale. They look for vendors who can offer features like PMUSA’s Cleantelligent system to track virtually every aspect of the facilities management process across multiple locations.
4. Further integration of technology
It’s no wonder that the most successful national retailers rely heavily on technology in their daily operations. This emphasis on technology will intensify, especially in the field of facilities management. Climate control, for instance, has become incredibly high tech in recent years. Seamlessly integrating various facility systems will certainly take precedence for cutting-edge facilities managers in 2016.
Technology will also continue to make its way into daily operations, mostly in the form of cloud-based software for managing everything from employee schedules to supply orders via tablet or smartphone. And as more companies move their operations online, they need vendors whose systems integrate seamlessly with their own.
5. Greater awareness of hygiene
We’re much more educated about germs, infection and cleanliness than we were a decade ago. Scares about H1N1, Zika virus and other public health threats have also made people much more sensitive to general cleanliness. In the past, a comprehensive restroom sanitation program was sufficient for most companies, but now employees and the general public often demand that companies go beyond merely killing germs.
That demand has manifested in the growing popularity for touch-free technologies and paperless hand dryers. Indeed, 2016 may be the year when your company decides to upgrade its facilities with hands-free hand sanitizer dispensers and automatic toilet flushers. Be sure that your facilities management vendor is well versed in maintaining and troubleshooting this new technology, along with implementing traditional comprehensive cleaning programs.