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RICS conference discusses dealing with the risky business of FM  

In the wake of recent high-profile developments and continuing trends such as the impact of digital technology, this one-day conference – held last month in London and in partnership with IFMA – addressed the key risks faced by the sector. “We are working in disruptive times. We need to work to high standards whilst being transparent and clear about what we do. It’s not about the profit me make, but how we make those profits,” conference Chair Rory Murphy reminded delegates.

Delivering a session on procurement risk and best practices, Samantha Ulyatt, Strategy Director – Buildings, Crown Commercial Service spoke about the importance of consistency, transparency and maturity in terms of how professionals should operate.

This was soon counterbalanced by Trevor Pijper, Vice President – Senior Credit officer at Moody’s Investors Service. He cited inconsistency, and a lack of transparency, in relation to accounting practices when summarising key lessons learnt from Carillion’s collapse and the perpetuated ‘race to the bottom’.

In a panel discussion on the future of the profession, Lucy Jeynes, Founding Partner and Managing Director of Larch Consulting stressed that “in a time where the subject of outsourcing is very toxic,” partnerships such as the IFMA-RICS collaboration have a vital role to play in demonstrating how FM can bring strategic value to organisations.

“If we are going to change our industry, we need to change the way we operate and provide services,” added Ross Abbate, Group Managing Director of Mace Macro. “The competition comes from those who cut prices – which then drives everything else. We need to be brave enough to turn that around.”

Chris Keneally, Group CEO of Cordant Group also spoke passionately about some of the ethical decisions and behaviours needed to take the sector forward. “The power is with people,” he said. “I think the innovation comes from those stepping into this industry, they are the innovators and we need to provide the platform for them to grow.”

The conference ended with a masterclass from Danny Lemon, General Manager of the Shard. Lemon joined the FM profession after 20 years at the very top of the hospitality sector working for both the Savoy Group and Roux Brothers. He’s since applied the principles he learnt to how he manages the UK’s tallest building. “I run Shard Quarter like I would a Michelin Star restaurant,” he shared. “The service we offer has to seamless and exceptional. We have to be able to deliver this service consistently to make it special and remembered.

“This is the most challenging yet exciting and rewarding job I have ever had.”

There will be a full write up on the conference in the August issue of FMJ.


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