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Part 1: Tripling Down On The Bottom Line: Facility Management Strategies
By Greg Zimmerman, Executive Editor
December 2013 -
It wasn't too long ago that "triple bottom line" wasn't much more than a catch phrase bandied about by over-caffeinated product managers and marketing folks. But increasingly, social, environmental, and financial responsibility (put another way: people, planet, profits) is the collective lens through which just about every action an organization takes is measured. For facility managers these days, measuring the success of sustainable operations means moving beyond traditional metrics of kilowatt-hours avoided or pounds of waste diverted. It means understanding how sustainability strategies fit within the triple bottom line. Increasingly, a successful facility manager is one who knows how to speak in terms of the triple bottom line.
Facility managers are already well aware the success of their department often depends largely on aligning their goals with the overall priorities of the organization. So as organizations continue to emphasize the triple bottom line, facility managers know that they need to, also.
"Find what's important to the organization," says Laurie Gilmer, vice president of facility services with Facility Engineering Associates. "The facility manager's job is to bring it all together and create a culture in which the FM is facilitating the right conversations."
The good news, though, is that, for a number of reasons, no department is better situated to work towards triple bottom line goals than facilities. But facility managers must work hard to press that advantage. They must understand how to frame their strategies and successes in the context of the triple bottom line. And they must be willing to work with other departments on organization-wide initiatives that may go beyond the traditional definition of facility management.
At TD Bank Group, senior manager, retail facilities, John De Benedictis says his facilities team incorporates five key sustainable strategies to show how operations help meet his organization's triple bottom line goals.
1. Green buildings: The facility manager needs to be at the table during design and construction of new buildings to help steer sustainable strategies and ensure that the gap is bridged between design intent and sustainable operations. It's also essential to ensure maintenance and operations standards are up to snuff.
2. Business deals: This means having an active role in discussions with landlords about leasing to ensure that lease terms are favorable to the company's environmental and triple bottom line goals.
3. Procurement: Work with other departments, including HR, IT, and design/construction groups to develop standards for products. Look at the entire supply chain, not just how a product performs once it's in a building.
4. Employee engagement: Support the development and promote the goals of company-wide green teams. Listen to their suggestions. Additionally, respond to employees and occupants in general when they provide feedback.
5. Vendor engagement: Maintain a strong network with vendors and work with key service providers on specific contract language that supports triple bottom line goals.
Part 2: Triple Bottom Line: Facility Managers Are Positioned To Lead Efforts
Part 3: Facility Managers Build Bridges To Achieve Sustainability Goals