Navigating Internal and External Factors in Facility Management


Facility management (FM) professionals must anticipate and monitor both internal and external threats that could impact facility operations. These factors, although beyond the direct control of the facility manager, can significantly influence the performance of the FM organization. Adopting best practices to monitor the business environment and understanding their impacts is essential for successful facility management.

Monitoring Internal and External Factors

Internal Factors

Facility managers must identify factors impacting the demand organization and adapt FM practices accordingly. This may involve changes to service delivery, requirements, budgets, staffing, technology, staff capacity, FM organization skills, and more. Examples of internal factors include:

  • Organizational restructuring
  • Sales and profit changes
  • Labor costs
  • Demand organization product/service changes
  • Changes to the demand organization’s strategic plan
  • Upgrades or changes to technology and software
  • Updates to workflow or best practices of the demand organization

External Factors

External factors, while often considered threats, can also present opportunities for improvements within the FM organization. Examples of external factors include:

  • Industry, market, and competitive environment
  • Cultural and demographic environment
  • Social, legal, and political environment, including regulations
  • Economic environment
  • Technological environment

Facility managers must evaluate the success and implementation of the strategic plan continuously to ensure the demand and FM organization’s objectives are met. This includes:

  • Identifying and adapting plans to threats early
  • Staying ahead of potential changes to the FM organization
  • Adjusting strategic plans and projects accordingly

Monitoring the External Environment

Facility managers can monitor potential threats from outside the FM organization using tools such as SWOT and Risk Analysis. Risk Analysis helps identify and analyze potential threats that could impact the organization. Regular monitoring of the external environment is crucial, and facility managers should use various sources, including:

  • Industry journals, newsletters, and publications
  • Local and regional news
  • Organization and competitor annual reports
  • Change implementation or reorganization plans
  • Customer feedback and data
  • Educational enrichment activities
  • Industry networking and knowledge sharing

Failure to anticipate and monitor external threats can lead to significant consequences for the demand organization, such as delays or stoppages in work, missed business objectives, and negative impacts on the bottom line. For instance:

  1. Regulatory Changes: New regulations or customer expectations might introduce additional workflow steps for the FM organization.
  2. Economic Shifts: Major economic changes could lead to increased deferred maintenance, project delays, or staff downsizing.

Identifying and Pursuing Best Practices

Facility managers should continuously monitor internal and external factors by staying current on industry developments, current events, and new regulations. Best practices for monitoring these factors include:

  • Regularly reviewing the demand organization’s strategy
  • Conducting annual real estate and lease market reviews
  • Participating in organizational benchmarking studies
  • Attending industry conferences
  • Reading journals and articles on industry trends

By implementing these best practices, facility managers can ensure that they are well-prepared to adapt to changing conditions and continue to meet the objectives of the FM organization effectively.

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