Creating Buy-In for Maintenance: Writing the Report

Making a successful case to building owners and executives for financial support

By Darrell Rounds  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: By the Numbers: Creating Buy-In for MaintenancePt. 2: Norms, Goals and Priorities: Creating Buy-In for MaintenancePt. 3: This PagePt. 4: By the Numbers: Report Outlines Problems and Goals, Tracks Results

Top executives in any organization have many numbers and data points to sift through, and long commentaries are not the way to go in presenting your case. Managers needs to format the data so that executives can access and understand it easily. If allowed the opportunity to present your data in person, I recommend using the A3 one-page format (see Part 4 of this article). This reporting format came from the Toyota production system, and it helps managers achieve these seven goals within the context of their challenge:

• establish the business context and importance of the need of investment to address the facilities concern
• describe the current conditions of the problem and the impact it has on the overall business leveraging the gathered data
• identify the desired outcome as it pertains to the overall business objective
• analyze the situation to establish root cause by leveraging the gathered data
• propose countermeasures if the desired outcome is met
• prescribe an action plan for addressing the issue
• map out a follow-up process.

The A3 one-page format helps facility managers tell the story to executives clearly, succinctly and quickly. Visit for an example of a one-pager that includes these elements.

Once managers have formatted the information and are ready to present it to executive leadership, how should a facility manager communicate the need and present the argument in order to generate buy-in? Managers must realize that they are the expert on the issue in question, and thus, should speak to the subject with authority and precision.

Using the format of the A3 can help managers guide the discussion of the issue. It streamlines the discussion and keeps the conversation on topic. Executive leaders don’t have a lot of time, so avoid getting bogged down in unrelated issues. Keep things objective, and channel your emotions only as necessary — for example, when speaking with passion about a need, that if not addressed, would impact human health and safety. Managers need to make sure that leaders clearly understand the impact of the decision to fund or not to fund the need .

Managers are responsible for efficiently, cost-effectively operating and maintaining facilities that house the processes critical to the profitability of the enterprises they serve. They need to continue to show that their departments’ activities are integral to the enterprise. I hope that executive leaders adopt this sentiment and that they recognize the investment in facilities management continues to be an essential contributor to the organization’s bottom line.

Darrell Rounds leads electrical and mechanical engineering for General Motors’ facilities organization, Sustainable Workplaces. Rounds has more than 21 years of facilities management and engineering experience, and he has led operations and maintenance activities for facilities with more than 53 million square feet and $7.2 billion in asset replacement costs. He earned a Facilities Management Administrator (FMA) designation from BOMI International and the Certified Energy Manager (CEM) from the Association of Energy Engineers, and he is a member of the commission that developed the ProFM facilities manager certification.

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  posted on 1/28/2020   Article Use Policy

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