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Facilities Management (FM) may be defined as “….the integration of processes within an organisation to maintain and develop the agreed services which support and improve the effectiveness of its primary activities…..encompasses multidisciplinary activities within the built environment, and the management of their impact upon people and the workplace”.
a) Why, therefore, is the concept of FM particularly relevant in terms of the operation and management of hospitality and service businesses? Briefly discuss five key reasons.
Going by the definition, facility management becomes relevant as operating costs for such businesses form a substantial part of expenditure, hence the need to realize savings with non-core business areas will necessitate this approach.
Such businesses have a direct impact on customer satisfaction in terms of service delivery, which includes the environment where such services are provided. Thus, FM gives a holistic approach to the management of work places.
FM approach helps businesses to clearly identify their core areas and the supportive area as a way to provide competitive advantage to the core areas.
FM is a way of helping businesses to deliver effective and responsive services.
FM approach embraces both the financial and human resource management; thus, it helps to create the organizations’ culture and image.
b) The scope of FM is becoming increasingly broader and more diverse. Briefly discuss five common FM activity areas.
Real estate management – encompasses the management of the buildings to accommodate and support a wide range of services while taking into consideration competing needs.
Financial management – involves effective managing of the investment, maintenance and operational expenditure.
Change management – taking into account needs for change and use of space in the buildings and impact on service delivery.
Human resource management – supporting of people in their work activities and other areas to enhance their well-being and efficiency.
Health and safety management – ensuring safety specification within the building and environment is adhered to.
Contracting out is “the process by which a user employs a separate organisation (the supplier), under a contract, to perform a function which could, alternatively, have been performed by in-house staff [if they or the equipment were available, or if so preferred by management]”. Within the context of a conference centre considering contracting out the maintenance and support of its computing and property management systems:
a) What would be the key considerations in deciding whether to contract out this requirement or retain it in-house? Briefly discuss five examples of such considerations.
Priority and flexibility of responses, especially where emergences occur, where an organization has adequate in-house capability to perform the task or, otherwise, hire specialized service providers.
Managing capability and indirect cost involved should be looked into if it is cost effective or not to have the service in house.
The scope and standard of service delivery is equally important, especially if such conferencing impacts directly to customer satisfaction relating to the core business.
Comparison of direct cost of handling the service in house as opposed to contracting, including factors like having a dedicated team for the task.
Having control over the method of procurement and contractual relationship is equally essential.
b) If it were decided to contract out the requirement, briefly discuss five potential advantages of such an arrangement.
There will be no or minimal operation headaches and worry as that responsibility is transferred to the contracted party.
It is a good way to overcome internal shortages of skills and specialized equipment required for the task.
The organization will be better placed to concentrate on its core business; thus, it will increase its competitive advantage.
General cost reduction by maintaining the right size of staff necessary for core functions.
Reduces management burden and improves efficiency in core business areas.
Technology has evolved rapidly over recent years and, as a result, has had profound impacts upon the operation and management of property and facilities. Within the context of a hotel operation:
a) Briefly discuss four ways in which the emerging technologies are facilitating the more efficient and effective operation and management of buildings.
Technology, like the use of computerized systems, has created efficiency of managing, storing, securing and retrieving of data crucial for the operations.
Building management has been enhanced, in terms of security, for example, by the use of surveillance cameras and automated alarms.
General monitoring and connectivity by the use of Wi-Fi and wireless technology create conducive environment for businesses in such connected buildings.
Access to buildings is effectively controlled by new technology like the use of biometric sensors installed at the gates or doorways pre-programmed to allow only authorized personnel.
b)Briefly discuss four impacts that new technology has had upon the guest experience, citing one relevant industry example of each.
Hotel guests can easily make reservations and bookings online, thus the use of technology is time saving and cost effective.
Online access to hotel information has improved international tourism as guests can clearly choose facilities of preferences and pay for what they feel comfortable in their taste.
The connection to the Internet and Wi-Fi systems in hotels adds value and experiences to their guests as they are empowered to access World Wide Web from their hotel bedrooms.
Security experience has increased in hotels as access to guest rooms is performed by control cards or secured codes allocated to the authorized guest. This ensures guest peace of mind and privacy.
Safety and security is becoming an increasing concern for everyone in today’s often unstable and troubled world. Within the context of a large city center hotel:
a) Describe four critical success factors for an appropriate and effective safety and security policy.
The four factors are:
- use of technology to collect critical guest information for the purposes of improving customer satisfaction and overall security;
- embracing new technology to effectively maintain clients’ privacy; for example, using data inscription methods;
- observing strict standard operating procedures and restriction of access to certain areas within the hotel facility;
- having notification and warnings regarding localized activities or perceived threats to hotel guests as a cautionary measure; for instance, cautioning against free interaction with unknown people outside hotel environment.
b) Briefly discuss four potential effects of implementing an overly visible and restrictive security policy.
Such policy may deter potential threats both to guests and some customers who may feel they are overly protected and may seek alternative places for staying. For example, this may happen if the hotel’s rules are too strict and do not allow their residents to receive external guests.
Such policy will clearly improve overall security and safety of customers within the facility.
Some clients may feel they are not given adequate privacy if, for instance, every hotel room is fitted with surveillance gadgets. This may lead them to opt for other facilities.
An overly visible security arrangement may, in turn, be more costly to operate and sustain, hence create internal diseconomies.