Facility Management | August 25, 2021

What's Turnkey Program Management


Today, building owners and operators are often concerned with facility management, environmental impact, and smart operations. They are on a journey to technology-enabled solutions and sustainable best practices, but struggle to find the next step while protecting their bottom line. It’s a set of challenges never seen in the built environment and one that in-house teams, despite their best efforts, can struggle to outpace. This challenge – in short – is why we’re defining what turnkey program management means for companies that are striving for optimal facility operations today and tomorrow.

Beyond brick and mortar, the complex mechanical and technology systems that have become a part of our daily business lives would have been considered science fiction just a few decades ago. With these vast and interconnected systems comes an array of vendor relationships and skill sets that can bog down even the savviest of facility managers. 

How does a facility manager stay ahead of the game?

Let’s be honest. Facility managers are on their game. From racking up continuing education units at industry events, to reading up on groundbreaking methodologies in the latest journals, the people who own and operate buildings are doing their part. But things get tricky when there’s a set budget and with organizational commitments to work-life balance. Sometimes there’s too much new information or too many tasks for an in-house team to stay on target.

We’re finding more and more that building owners are looking to augment or even outsource the complex, portfolio-wide program management tasks to experts and enhance what their team can accomplish with each of their building systems.

The Facility Manager’s Dilemma

Here’s an example: Ann is an engineer. She knows more about pavement than anyone in her county. But Ann sees her power bill go up month after month and knows that a new LED lighting system could start improving her buildings’ efficiency.

Ann has a few options:

  1. Get another degree in lighting engineering
  2. Hire someone who knows more than she does and take a hit on her P&L
  3. Quit her job and work for a paving company
  4. Find an independent managed facilities services consultant

Ann likes her free time, her tidy budget, and her job, so she goes with number four. What does it garner her?

An independent consultant can manage programs

An independent program manager isn’t looking at a single project or even a single fiscal year. Their job is to be an impartial advocate for a core aspect of their client’s business or even an interconnected array of core facility programs. That’s where turnkey program management comes in.

Turnkey Program Management refers to a pre-built program in which everything needed to perform a certain type of task (e.g. roof asset management or an LED lighting retrofit) is put together by the consultant and sold as a bundle.

This approach to facility solutions makes the most complex of solutions attainable to smaller teams, frees up time for large organizations, or simply broadens the scope of a project from a single project to something comprehensive and inclusive of numerous operational goals.

Roofing as an example of Turnkey Program Management

In the old paradigm, a facility manager might contract with one firm to assess their roofs, another to build a repair plan, and yet another to provide design or construction management to see the plan through. That’s a lot of vendors for one facility program. Start adding HVAC, lighting, pavement, and building automation to the mix and suddenly there are a lot of throats to choke. Managing those vendors becomes a full-time job, let alone all the other things a facility manager should be doing.

The complex, evolving landscape of Facility Management

Facility managers are responsible for the delivery of various support services required by their organization pertaining to their buildings. It’s a big job requiring at least a functional knowledge of a wide range of disciplines in the built environment.

Benefits of an independent turnkey program management provider

An independent program manager provides a turnkey solution that significantly augments and/or expands a facility manager’s in-house capabilities. These experts:

  • Close the loop on data collection
  • Provide thorough analysis and benchmarking
  • Support in-depth budget planning
  • Ensure any work gets designed and done correctly.

With an outside consultant like this, the facility manager can continue to focus on the critical aspects of their job, but they now have a team of experts to guide them through the decisions where they wouldn’t otherwise have the time, the budget, or the experience to do so themselves.

As the demands of facility management increase, the development of concepts like Turnkey Program Management will continue to evolve. How are you finding that crux where the reality of onsite management must align with your strategic goals?

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