(Witten by Cathy Hayward)
Partnership and collaboration are somewhat hackneyed phrases in the real estate and facilities management sector, deployed with fingers crossed behind backs and suspicion in people’s minds. Which is why when you witness real examples of partnership, they’re all the more surprising and impressive.
Last week, I spent three days in the beautiful city of Cork, home to IT giant EMC, at the company’s annual real estate and facilities (RE&F) summit. We’ve worked with EMC for 18 months now, firstly putting together an award submission for the EuroFM Partners Across Borders award (which they won) and since then supporting the annual summit and promoting some of the excellent work done by the EMEA real estate and facilities team.
EMC uses around 13 major FM service providers across 50 countries throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), which support in excess of 12,000 people. The FM team itself is made up of around 300 people. Over the past two years, the EMC RE&F team across EMEA has transformed from a group operating independently, to a fully-aligned One Team where competitiveness is put aside to create the best possible outcome for the client and the EMC business. And that’s not just words. There were countless examples over the three days in Cork of individuals from competing organisations putting aside their individual P&Ls for the greater good of the client.
The term ‘FM business family’ is not only widely used but also demonstrated. One clear example was the nomination by two different people of Michael Lawlor for the Living the Values award – one of four categories in the annual Greftas, an internal award programme for EMC’s group real estate and facilities team. He’s considered a touch point for the One Team family, a ‘go to’ person. Another was during one of the sessions when an employee from one service provider stood up and offered to help another with a particular issue. Overall this One Team approach has saved vast amounts of money, and placed the EMC real estate and facilities team at the leading edge of the FM profession.
Three days is a long time to spend with your family. Most are at each other’s throats as the hangovers kick in on day two. But after three days in Cork, I felt I was one of the family and was sad to leave. I’m already looking forward to (hopefully) being invited back to the summit next year and seeing how far the EMC FM business family have come.