Problems Of Facilities Management In Corporate Organizations

Project and Seminar Material for Estate Management

Problems Of Facilities Management In Corporate Organizations


Facilities management in Nigeria is still in an early learning cycle when compared with the situation in Europe, USA etc where the practice has been on since the 1980’s. Some corporate organizations are increasingly embracing the need for efficient facilities management. Like any new venture, facilities management practice in Nigeria is expected to also have its commencement problems. This study examines the role of the facilities manager and highlights the problems that constrain effective facilities management.

The research adopted both survey and case study methods. The survey was used in data collection while the case study was based on an intensive study of six selected drug, beverages and textile manufacturing industries in Lagos. The sampling technique used was simple random sampling. The sample of 240 respondents was drawn from the population parameters through Taro Yamani model. A total number of 200 completed questionnaires representing 83.3% of the distribution made were recovered and used for statistical analysis.

The hypothesis of this study postulates that facilities management problems do not have significant effect on efficient productivity in an organization. The data collected were subjected to an inferential statistical test using chi-square technique. The major problems identified include poor funding and maintenance, bureaucracy and unavailability of skilled/right professionals. The result of the statistical analysis obtained is shown as follows: X2cal = 157.08 and X2tab = 7.82.

This shows that the null hypothesis should be rejected in favour of the alternative hypothesis, based on the decision rule to reject the null hypothesis if the calculated value is greater than the table value. This work concludes that facilities management problems have significant effect on efficient productivity in an organization. Benchmarking, safety and security provision, good communication, continuous training programs, adequate budgetary provisions, value-engineering application among others are recommended.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of Study

A lot of erroneous meanings have been ascribed to facilities management. These misconceptions have arisen because of the dictionary meanings which people have identified the word facility with. Even professionals in real estate, construction industries and professionals in other sectors are likely to think that facilities mean those special infrastructure such as water, electricity, road, telecommunication equipment etc that are important to the use and enjoyment of a property. According to Odiete (1998) the early set of people who came in contact with what is now referred to as facilities and their management have always taken a restricted view of the discipline as relating only to space management as against the other aspects.

Very few people perceive facilities management to be the management of such machines and equipments that provide special services to the building such as power generator, lifts and elevators, water reservoirs, water treatment plant, air conditioning systems etc. All these are correct to the point that they just form a portion of the overall facilities management process. Facilities management involves the entire building as a whole, its structure, fabrics, components, services, space dimension, storey height and its special attachment from substructure to the apex of the super structure. (Nutt, 1999)

Recent development and research into the discipline particularly since the late eighties has however revealed a wider and more embracing scope. International Association of facilities management, the umbrella organization for all facilities managers all over the world has defined facilities management as involving the tasks of design, construction, maintenance and management of the physical environment as it relates to and the work process(Brian and Adrian 2000).

In practice, facilities management can cover a wide range of services including real estate management, financial management, change management, human resources management, health and safety and contract management, in addition to building maintenance, domestic services (such as cleaning and security)and utilities supplies. It has equally been seen to entail the coordination, control and management of the support services necessary to maintain business operation and allow it to achieve its corporate goals.

These widened views have become important as at today, because the operation of business has become highly articulated, sophisticated, more complex and constantly evolving (Hans 1996).Facilities management can therefore be summarized as creating an environment that is conducive to carrying out the organization’s primary operations, taking an integrated view of the services infrastructure, and using this to deliver customer satisfaction and value for money through support for and enhancement of the core business. We can develop this definition to describe facilities management as something that will:

  1. Sweat the assets, that is make them highly cost effective
  2. Enhance the organization’s culture and image
  3. Deliver effective and responsive services
  4. Enable future change in the use of space
  5. Provide competitive advantage to the organization’s core business

Moreover, facilities management has grown beyond the shell of managing the office premises but has found application in several industrial and non-commercial environments while retaining its initial relevance within the commercial world that operates from the office (Gilleard Yiqun, 1999).

The basic principle of facilities management is to know the policies, practice, and procedures guided by an organizations mission and its available resources (Sanni, 1998). Organizations may not be aware of the extent to which value for money in facility management can be improved. This suggests that it is not the outcome that needs to be looked at closely, but the decision making that leads to it. There are common approaches to facilities management, regardless of the size and location of buildings, although these may not necessarily result to common solutions to problems. In some cases, estate- related and facilities services are outsourced (contracted out) and in others retained in house for good reasons in each case. There are also many organizations that operate what might be described as a mixed economy, where some services are outsourced in some measure as well as being retained in house.

In view of the above, this study is to critically examine the problems of facilities management practice in corporate organizations (manufacturing industries) within Lagos state and proffer solutions to them.

1.2 Statement of Problem

Facilities management in Nigeria is still in an early learning cycle when compared with the situation in Europe, USA etc, where the practice has been on since the 1980’s. Some corporate organizations are increasingly bracing the need for efficient facilities management. Like any new venture, facilities management practice in Nigeria is expected to also have its commencement problems. It is these problems of facilities management that this study intends to find out.

1.3 Aim and Objectives

The aim of this research is to examine the role of the

facilities manager and to highlight the problems that constrain effective facilities management as well as providing solution to the identified problems.

The objectives of the research include the following:

  1. To give a comprehensive insight into the field of facilities management, its functions, scope and relevance.
  2. To establish the professional inputs of facilities management team and its role in corporate organizations.
  3. To determine the problems which militate against efficient and effective facilities management in corporate organizations.

1.4 Scope of Study

Facilities management is a broad subject hence this study was restricted to facilities management as it pertains to corporate organizations within Lagos state, sampling a selected number of manufacturing industries while proffering solutions to some of the identified problems.

1.5 Method of Research

Research data was obtained through:

Primary Data:

Information and statistical background were obtained by means of interviews, questionnaires and field observations. Observations. Interviews were conducted with management personnel and facilities managers within selected corporate organizations (manufacturing industries) in Lagos state.

Secondary Data:

These were obtained through an extensive review of seminar papers, textbooks, internet materials, journals, magazines and recent works on the subject.

1.6 Statement of Hypotheses

  1. H0: Facilities management problems do not have significant effect on efficient productivity in an organization.
    H1: Facilities management problems have significant effect on efficient productivity in an organization.
  2. H0: Resources allocated for facilities management are not adequate.
    H1: Resources allocated for facilities management are adequate.

1.7 Significance of Study

This study will help to articulate the philosophy behind the idea (concept) of facilities management as an emerging field of study and area of specialization. The study will bring to bare unforeseen problems on this emerging field presently and those that are likely to spring up in the near future. It will also prepare the minds of future or prospective facilities managers of the problems inherent in the field.

1.8 Research Questions

  1. How effectively are facilities being managed?
  2. To what extent do the facilities compliment their basic function?
  3. To what extent is the management functional in terms of finance, modern automation etc?
  4. To what extent are the resources allocated for facilities management adequate?
  5. To what extent are the facilities users requirements satisfied?
  6. What are the major problems encountered by facilities managers and how can they be solved?

1.9 Brief History of the Study Area

Metropolitan Lagos covers an area of about 1,086 square kilometers. It covers Ikeja which is the capital of the state. It is the centre of the nations commercial and industrial activities. It is bounded on the south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the East by part of Lagos Lagoon and on the north – west by the Lagos State boundary with Ogun state.

The growth of metropolitan Lagos in the last fifty (50) years has been tremendous, exerting great pressure on the suburbs and fringes of metropolitan areas. The population rose from 126, 168 in 1931 to about 3.8 million in 1978 and 6.5 million in 1991 (National population commission 1991). Presently, it is estimated to be about 15 million. With this rise in population, greater pressure is exerted on infrastructure and facilities which are disproportionate to the population using them.

Lagos is the most populous city in Nigeria, the largest country in Africa. The metropolitan area, an estimated 300 square kilometers is a group of Islands endowned with creeks and lagoons. Lagos is projected to be one of the world’s five largest cities by 2005.The dominant vegetation of the state is the swamp forest consisting of the fresh water and mangrove swamp forests both of which are influenced by the double rainfall pattern of the state which makes the environment a wet land region. Generally, the state has two climatic seasons: Dry(November-march) and wet (April- october).The drainage system of the state is characterized by amaze of lagoons and water ways which constitutes about 22% of 787sq kms(75,755 hectares) of the state’s total landmass. The major water bodies are the Lagos and Lekki lagoons, Yewa and Ogun Rivers. Others are ologe lagoon, kuuramo waters, Badagry and Omu.

Based on a UN study (1991) and the state’s regional master plan, the state is estimated to have above 12 million inhabitants. The rate of population growth is about 300,000 persons per annum with a population density of about 1308 persons per sq kilometer. In the built up area of metropolitan Lagos the average density is 20,000 persons per sq kilometers. In a UK study (1999), the city of Lagos is expected to hit 24.5 million population mark and thus be among the 10 most populous cities in the world by the year 2015. Lagos state has 57 local government areas in order to bring governance, development and particularly democracy nearer to the people.(

Chapter Five

Summary of Findings, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Summary of Findings

Having presented and analyzed the data extracted from the questionnaires, interviews and personal observations, some principal findings, conclusion and recommendations could be made.

The facilities compliment their functions at a very low extent. The facilities used for production are either sub – standard or performing under capacity thereby reducing the quantity and quality of products, which is one of the reasons consumers, opt for foreign commodities. The basic facilities provided are either out of use or performing poorly, these include the air – conditioners, telephones, generators/plants etc.

Though there is an above average affirmation of facilities management in the selected manufacturing industries, but a further probe into the effectiveness of management showed a very high degree of poor facilities management. Further enquires made during the oral interviews revealed that effective facilities management depends on the overall maintenance policy of each manufacturing industry. Besides, there is poor or lack of good maintenance culture in Nigeria, organizations are reactive instead of proactive .

Some other interviewees mentioned inadequate finance, Lack of modern automation and skilled personnel as reasons for poor facilities management.

Data analysis confirmed that resources allocated for facilities management are inadequate. This data was used to test hypothesis I, which proved the inadequacy of resources allocated for facilities management. Due to lack of adequate funding, machineries and resources for routine and miscellaneous duties are often over looked and the quality level of products and services provided suffers.

Facilities users (production staff/machineries operators, distributors and consumers) requirements are not satisfied. Most requests are not met and bureaucracy often stands on the way of facilities users requirement satisfaction efforts. It also has a direct effect on attitude to work and level of production.

Most of the manufacturing industries sampled affirmed that their facilities are not fully modern automated. modern technology is not being used in all production stages. There is still a high degree of manual operation. Interviews conducted revealed that some of these manufacturing industries sometimes import sophisticated machines to improve production but due to Lack of competent professionals to operate them they pack up and are abandoned.
Oral interviews revealed that most organizations that have facilities management in place make use of in-house maintenance which is handled by technicians. Further enquires showed that they opted for in – house maintenance because they felt it is cheaper and would minimize cost in the long run. Those who make use of in-house/outsource said they use the latter when the former fails or when complex maintenance works that needs special professionals need to be carried out.

Management personnel interviewed mentioned poor funding/maintenance , bureaucracy, unavailability of skilled/right professionals, safety/health, difficulty in materials procurement, modern automation, environmental effects and inflation as facilities management problems which were constrains to efficient facilities management .Based on this data, hypothesis II was tested and the result shows that facilities management problems have significant effect on efficient productivity in an organization.

5.2 Conclusion

Facilities management as a discipline has stood its test and gained ground in the developed western world and is most likely to succeed in our economy. It is most required now to correct our present poor maintenance culture. An effective facilities management policy is indicated by the extent to which the requirements of the users, staff and owners are met. These are reflected on the physical, aesthetic condition of the facility, its functionality in performing its basic services and the ability of facilities maintenance or management team to overcome challenges that constrain them. Facilities management need to be proactive, flexible, adapting to changes in a continuous changing world. There is need for all the various professionals relevant in facilities management to work together to handle the enormous task ahead of them instead of engaging in inter – disciplinary wars for who is the right profession to handle facilities management.

5.3 Recommendations

Having concluded that problems of facilities management constitute constrains to effective facilities management in manufacturing industries the following remedies are recommended.

1. Adequate Budgetary Provisions

An organizations management should have clear goals and objectives and must plan to operate within its budgetary limits. In order to ensure that maintenance operations are not held up by shortage of funds, budgets must be made with due consideration given to contingencies for unforeseen problems.

This goes a long way in reducing down – time effects. In replacement of outdated and dysfunctional facilities and equipment, funds must be expended prudently. There should be no room for corruption and sharp practices. This helps to ensure that budgetary provisions are sufficient.

2. Skilled Personnel

The staff strength of the maintenance crew and engineering departments should be strengthened to enable them cope with the work of keeping the facilities in good shape.

This should be backed up with engaging services of special facilities management consultants when the need arises to handle special or complex facilities. Management should invest in staff training and sponsoring programs, which will contribute to competence in executing tasks. All the maintenance staff must be proficient and professionals in their different fields.

3. Material Procurement

The procurement of materials for facilities maintenance might entail importation of components from abroad. The facilities and equipments might also be so out-modeled and obsolete that it would be impossible to get spare parts of the components. In designing facilities all these should be taken into consideration.

Alternative equipment with readily available spare parts and components should be installed so that maintainability is enhanced. Design and maintainability should be the watch word right from inception.

4. Level of Automation

Investment should be made in computers and software packages that are relevant to space and data management. This will enhance management performance and introduce modern technology in tackling facilities management problems. Automation aids the evaluation of performance and monitoring of control operations. It will hasten response to facilities problems and save labour – hours thereby reducing operation costs.

5. Continous Training Programmes

Continuous training programmes and refresher courses should be offered to employees. Also the emerging trend of demanding continuous upgrading of company services should be echoed in the demand of individuals for more focused facilities management training.

6. Safety and Security Provision

Facilities managers should be concerned about the safety and security of staff and customers. They should also ensure that government and industrial standards concerning safety and welfare are adhered to.

Efficient security system should be installed at strategic locations to forestall, pilferage and vandalization of installations. This will also help in detecting breakdowns and monitor sophisticated equipments. The facilities premises should be kept clean and accident free. The use of signs, digital displays and audio systems should be employed in crowd control on how to use facilities and precautions to take in the event of mishaps like fire outbreaks.

7. Bureaucracy

The management of facilities and quality of services rendered is usually a reflection of the policy source, ie board of directors. For a well balanced facilities management, top quality management objectives should be put in place comprising of seasoned professionals who have a stake in the operation of the facilities and public representatives to represent the interest of users at board level.

There should be autonomy in taking maintenance decisions so that delays in action are eliminated and savings in down – time of broken down components are achieved.

8. Inflation

Inflation has an effect on the cost of materials and components of facilities. This can be reduced by stocking materials that are recuringly maintained or replaced in advance. This way the organization can benefit from bulk – purchase instead of buying on a need – arisen basis. Inflation can also be reduced by making allowance for it in the budgetary provisions. Components pricing is not stationary, so efforts should be directed towards updating the prices from time to time.

9. Benchmarking

Benchmarking should be employed to help identify trends and the changes you need to make to be more competitive or to more effectively support the mission of the overall organization. Benchmarking will help to identify the gaps between your current practices (where you are now) and best practices(where you want to be).Benchmarks may be established for operating cost and environmental performance standards, or they may document the practices and costs of your toughest competitors or industry standards, and those of leaders in any industry performing similar functions. Benchmarking facilities performance involves looking at the best companies and finding out what they are doing better than you are. Facilities managers should use benchmarking to measure their performance and obtain data for targeting opportunities for improvement.

10. Value Engineering

It is imperative to make value engineering a standard practice in managing facilities. Value engineering is a multi- disciplined team approach to identify and remove unnecessary costs while improving quality and customer acceptance based on the analysis of functions. Value engineering studies can be employed as a tool for identification and elimination of unnecessary facility design, operation and maintenance costs, and for the development of facility performance benchmarks. The best place to apply value analysis is where the most facility funds are being expended. Applications for value engineering studies of buildings and facility issues may include: To define project functions, define project scope, minimize life cycle costs, prolong equipment life, improve reliability and reduce operating and maintenance costs, identify opportunities for reducing waste and energy consumption, reduce building volume and floor area requirements, determine the best use of existing space etc.

11. Good Communication

Communication is a basic skill that is needed to establish and maintain productive relationships. A high percentage of the friction, confusion, frustration, disputes, and inefficiencies in our working relationships are traceable to poor communication. Facility management work is especially susceptible to communication problems because of the broad and overlapping areas of responsibility, and the multidisciplinary and sometimes complex nature of facilities-related projects. Facilities managers must be aware of the importance of communication in a building services environment to ensure people are working together effectively to meet organizational objectives. And, of course, facilities managers need to develop better oral and written communication skills themselves. They should instruct their staff to listen carefully, be succinct, and follow through by taking the appropriate action after communicating with the right individuals in a timely fashion.

5.4 Suggestions for Further Studies

Studies can be carried out on the evaluation of facilities life cycle in order to be able to make needed preparations for renewal or replacement of components. Studies can also be carried out on the need to be flexible in adapting to the changing needs of user and to keep ahead of competition especially in the area of information technology.

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