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Successful Mobilization is a Key Milestone Towards Sustainable Facilities Management

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I have always advocated to Facilities Managers about the critical need of mastering the art of mobilization in order to build the foundation of a sustainable service delivery model and successful contract performance. All stakeholders in contract management must fully understand the dynamics of mobilization, which is the key transition stage of any contract. Successful mobilization is an absolute necessity for stakeholders’ interests. This is needed not just for the service delivery organization but for the client organization too, as it is an essential prerequisite.

Successful mobilization is crucial in the lifecycle of any facilities management contract engagement as it can make or break the relationship, and subsequent consequences can be disastrous. In fact, the fundamental need is for both the service provider and client organization to agree on a clear responsibility matrix to ensure seamless project mobilization. Teamwork and collaboration are essential during this phase to mobilize and muster requisite resources within a specific timeline. This is the first milestone that has critical dimensions in terms of project management principles and, therefore, needs absolute precision and engagement with effective communication management. Fundamental tenets such as client engagement, resource deployment, planning and establishing systems, communication protocols and processes must be aligned before a new contract begins. This requires a competent team profiling by mapping their relevant skills and resilience suited for the contract, specific service quality specifications, risk management, and overall contract performance governance in line with the contract specifications.

In FM contract engagements, key aspects of mobilization and the steps to ensure their success are as follows:

Understanding Contract Requirements

A primary mobilization component in facilities management contracts is ensuring a thorough understanding of the contract requirements, including the scope of work, performance standards, and key deliverables. This comprehensive understanding enables the facilities management team to plan and allocate resources effectively to meet the client’s contractual needs. This review process should involve not only the operations team but all the stakeholders in the transition team.

Contract Risk Management Reviews

Establish an operational risk assessment plan to identify and manage various operational aspects, contractual obligations, assets, and potential hazards from disasters. The risk assessment process entails documenting the identified risks in a risk register, followed by analysis, evaluation/prioritization, treatment, and management. In this assessment, site preparedness and operational risk assessment are vital components of due diligence, as often many surprises in the offing act as deterrents in a smooth transition, more so in new projects where the ongoing handover process from contractors often creates future problems.

Project Handover and Takeover

To start, it is essential to review documentation such as site drawings, O&M manuals, asset registers, testing and commissioning reports, utility consumption bills, ongoing project details, tool and equipment handover, insurance requirements, and statutory and regulatory compliance tracker. A critical step is to address any outdated or changed information proactively. For instance, adjustments such as an increase in occupant headcount or the inclusion of new rooms or facilities that were not part of the initial discussions must be promptly communicated. All changes in information from the tender stage to the commencement of operations must be reviewed. This ensures that any project scope modifications are properly accounted for and integrated into the planning and resource allocation.

Part of the preparedness includes a technology review in addition to the operational evaluation of the site and assets. This helps establish requirements for CAFM system deployment, IT assets, servers, CRM/helpdesk process workflows and any third-party integrations as applicable.

CAFM Setup and Integration of Technology Platforms

The CAFM setup for the contract should be completed as soon as possible after validating the scope, asset registers, and performance criteria. This will lay the foundation for digitalizing the next steps of the mobilization process, wherein a robust and established tool will ensure the right steps are followed across the various stakeholders who will start engaging in the mobilization process.

Conditional Assessment

Initiate an assets condition survey as per the scope of work and provide a report with eventual quotations for addressing the findings through using the asset registers and audit tool in CAFM to ensure data of existing assets is mapped to the current condition review. Conducting a comprehensive conditional asset survey helps set the foundation for hassle-free and long-term cost-effective maintenance. It identifies and evaluates the condition of various assets, providing useful information about their current state, performance, and potential issues, which helps improve service quality, increase longevity, and reduce operating costs, including utility bills.

Asset Validation and Tagging

Asset validation is an essential step in reconciling the asset register with the collected asset data on-site to identify gaps or discrepancies. Any gaps identified will be presented to the client for further action. Asset tagging at the mobilization stage ensures that all assets are accounted for from the start, enabling efficient management and tracking throughout the contract duration.

Resource Planning and Allocation

Mobilization demands meticulous planning and allocation of resources, including management and supervision of manpower, appropriate skills, requisite equipment, materials, technology, and other shared services support. The calculations for resources can be supported by the CAFM planner with the right data set to ensure historical trends and performances are considered when mapping priorities for ensuring deliverables are met. This may include planning for management of legacy staff, new staff recruitment, staff training, equipment procurement, logistic arrangements, integration of shared services, and establishing supply chain networks for service delivery. The use of effective project management tools is vital in this perspective to accomplish effectiveness.

Adapting Operational Processes

Adapting and streamlining existing business and operational processes according to contract dynamics and global best practices to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery. This includes setting up maintenance schedules, implementing safety protocols, developing communication channels and engagement and escalation matrices, and creating reporting mechanisms vetted by clients. Standardizing operational processes from the outset ensures consistent and high-quality service. The finance representative in the mobilization team is responsible for ensuring the operational budget is prepared and approved.

Supply Chain Organization

Procurement teams must understand contractual requirements in terms of performance management KPIs relevant to supply chain scope, client preferred/pre-approved subcontractors, if any, and identify requirement for tools, equipment, PPE, consumables, and materials in advance to ensure on-time delivery. With reference to subcontractors, they must ensure the finalization of terms with subcontracting vendors based on agreed SLAs, establish clear KPIs for their performance management, and set a timeframe to mobilize resources and start PPMs. It is also critical that supply chain secure necessary condition audit reports from the scope being outsourced and align these with client reports to ensure that these risks are addressed at the initial stage rather than creating distrust between the partners at a later stage. To meet contract materials and consumables needs, the organization of stores is an absolute necessity, ensuring adequate support for automatic replenishment by registering sites and contracts with the requisite support, such as store vehicles and heavy equipment logistics that are needed from time to time. Staff logistics, especially in terms of multiple site deployments, is yet another vital component: ensuringthe availability of required vehicles, drivers, and approved passes for transportation, as well as accommodation arrangements. Often, for PPM team movements where materials are required to be in line with established standards, all such specifics must be factored into the mobilization planning stage itself.

Stakeholder Engagement

Successful mobilization requires active stakeholder engagement, including clients, subcontractors, vendors, and regulatory authorities. Effective communication and strong stakeholder relationships ensure alignment with the client’s goals and expectations. Regular meetings and updates during the mobilization phase help resolve issues proactively and build trust among all parties involved. Fostering transparency and merit-based discussions to resolve conflicts is essential. Client endorsement of the agreed mobilization plan and a regular communication protocol are critical.

Health and Safety Compliance

Health and safety considerations are paramount in facilities management contracts, and mobilization efforts must prioritize compliance with relevant regulations and standards. This involves conducting risk assessments, implementing safety procedures, providing staff training, and ensuring the availability of necessary safety equipment. Creating a safety culture from the outset sets the foundation for a safe working environment throughout the contract.

Sustainability Considerations

Focusing on sustainability during the mobilization phase is crucial to effectively implementing the sustainability strategies outlined in the technical proposal. This early attention prepares the groundwork for operational effectiveness aligned with these commitments. From the outset, access to energy consumption data allows for effective planning and establishing sustainability measures. It’s essential to review the planned sustainability measures to ensure that all necessary resources, such as supplier agreements, sustainable materials, and equipment, are in place. Developing detailed implementation schedules and checklists is essential, and these should be fully integrated into the workflows and standard operating procedures. This integration sets the stage for comprehensive employee training and the setup of tools for data collection and monitoring, ensuring that sustainability initiatives are tracked and managed effectively throughout the project lifecycle.

Go-Live Workshop

The Go-Live Workshop, organized with all stakeholders completed at least three days before Go-Live, is the most critical event during the mobilization phase. This workshop marks the transition from planning and preparation to full operational readiness. It ensures that all stakeholders are aligned and that the planned people, systems, and structures are in place before operations commence.

End-user Orientation

As part of change management, end-user orientation involves educating and familiarising the facility’s end-users with the facility management services. This includes health and safety briefings, security and access protocols, emergency procedures, any scheduling changes, communication channels for reporting issues and feedback, points of contact, and sustainability practices within the facility. This process is essential to ensure safety, efficiency, and user satisfaction.

Many times, FM managers soft peddle in giving mobilization its requisite importance. They must know that smooth mobilization sets the sustainable foundation for contract delivery; it lays the groundwork for efficient operations and long-term stakeholder benefits. Addressing key areas can enhance mobilization impact and contract readiness. By paying attention to the critical aspects discussed earlier, facilities management providers can establish a strong foundation for meeting stakeholder expectations and achieving operational excellence across the built environment. Effective mobilization in terms of people management also demonstrates professionalism, readiness, and commitment to delivering quality services, ultimately leading to successful outcomes for all parties involved in the contract.

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