Everywhere a Strategy: Get Serious About Specification
Organizations are big on strategies these days, so maintenance and engineering managers are up to their eyeballs in them.
For every function or area of responsibility in institutional and commercial facilities, managers seem to have a strategy. There's a strategy for energy efficiency and another for regulatory compliance. You might have a strategy for technician training, and you're definitely on your way to having one for sustainability, if it doesn't exist already.
But do you have a strategy for spending money? More specifically, do you use a methodical, dedicated, proven process for specifying products and equipment, one that involves identifying product needs, researching options, understanding financial resources, and selecting the most appropriate, cost-effective option?
Maybe. But if you're like many managers, you use something that is more likely to be described as "seat of the pants." Consider this manager's comments in a discussion on myFacilitiesnet.com regarding the way he locates new products:
"Ninety-nine percent of the new stuff I try comes to me through distributors I already use. Either I call them looking for a product that does X, or I'm at the supplier and I spot something ... that solves a problem I have."
Obviously, that's a proven approach. For decades, managers have used something similar, relying on word of mouth from distributors, peers and manufacturers. But it's hardly methodical and dedicated. It relies on the tried and true but leaves a lot to chance.
These days, managers can't afford to leave anything involving money to chance. Budgets are tighter, technology is more complex, and the need for high-performance facilities is greater. Product specification demands a strategy.
Dan Hounsell offers observations about trends in maintenance and engineering management and the evolving role of managers in facilities.
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