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In search of the competitive edge: ThinkFM conference 2015. By James Sutton, COO, BIFM

17-03-15, 11:15

James Sutton, COO at BIFM talks about how delegates at ThinkFM will go in search of the competitive edge.

"Whether you are a private organisation, a public service or a charity; you'll have set yourself some form of target and will look at what you can do to reach that. Find any rower or cyclist who was part of any Olympic side and you'll hear talk of 'marginal gains', the idea that hundreds of small improvements can combine to create a profound impact on performance.

What is it that can push organisations that little bit further up the league tables, steal consumer spend from competing organisations or simply improving on last year's achievements.† There are quite a few things really. You could look at the marketing mix which includes things like products, price and promotions. It might be the quality of your service or your cash balance. However, an area we think is sometimes overlooked is the workplace. The 'place' provided, the services within it and tools supplied can be the difference between achieving your aims and being an 'also ran'. An amazing statistic from the Leesman Index shows that only 53% of those surveyed (upwards of 80,000) believe that their workplaces allow them to be productive. Another 29% said that it didn't and worryingly 18% said they didn't know. It's a concern when you consider that people and place are often the top two spend lines on any budget and this appears, in some cases, to be totally wasted. How do we ensure that the investment in the environment is best placed to get the most from the investment in your talent; you can't look at the two in isolation.

When we sat down to look at how we follow up on the success of last year's ThinkFM we decided that we wanted to explore the idea of how workplaces can get organisations that edge. We wanted to learn from those that were at the heart of the projects that have made a significant impact; this isn't just about good FM, this is about how the FM teams have worked alongside their colleagues as part of a concerted effort to improve organisational performance.

The speakers we are working with will help paint that picture. David Coplin, Chief Envisaging Officer at Microsoft, will talk us through how organisations are coping with the digital deluge. We'll hear from Munish Datta, Head of Plan A and FM at Marks & Spencer, on how their sustainability programme was applied to their property and what impact that has had on achieving their aims. Jim Hood, Director of Customer Services Wellcome Genome Campus, will tell us how his team have made sure that are meeting the needs of science now and in the future, Frank Van Massenhove, Chairman of the Board of Directors at FPS Social Security will discuss how to motivate employees and convince them that they can decide for themselves when and where they work and Monica Parker, the Founder of HATCH will give a session on 'ROE'-Return on Emotion and Engagement, examining the importance of the human element when looking to create value from a workplace transformation.† And there is more to come.

Every organisation is different. They have unique aspirations and different market conditions to operate in but what is consistent is that the way that they approach the workplace could be the difference."

> Book your place now for ThinkFM ? early-bird savings end on 20 March.

James Sutton: COO BIFM

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