Embracing New Technology: Challenges for the Facilities Services Industry

Obstacles In Technology Adoption For Our Industry And How To Overcome Them

Obstacles In Technology Adoption For Our Industry And How To Overcome Them

Exploring different challenges facing the Facilities Services industry in technology adoption.

The Facilities Services industry plays a pivotal role in ensuring clean and smooth operation and maintenance of buildings and infrastructure. However, traditional mindsets may sometimes present challenges in an era where rapid technological innovations and its rate of adoption are already transforming various sectors profoundly. In this blog, we will look at some of the challenges faced in adopting new technologies in the Facilities Services/commercial cleaning industry, and discuss ways for overcoming these obstacles to drive innovation and efficiency within the industry for improved efficiency and service delivery.

Resistance to Change

Providers entrenched in traditional practices can face significant challenges in the adoption and implementation of new technology and innovative practices. This could be attributed to several factors, including a reliance on established processes, fear of disrupting familiar routines, and possible lack of awareness regarding the potential benefits of new technologies. Many facilities services players have established tried-and-tested methods, and could understandably be hesitant to explore alternative or new solutions.

Lack of Technological Awareness

A major and significant challenge hindering the adoption of new technology in the industry today is a lack of awareness. Education is the key to fully understanding the potential advantages emerging technologies can offer, or productivity and efficiency outcomes that might come with working alongside the latest technology and tools. Limited exposure to innovative solutions1 and a lack of training and education initiatives can also impede the integration of new technology, but this can be overcome with training, strong internal communications and integrating a culture of adoption.

Complexity and Compatibility

The complexity and compatibility of new technology with existing infrastructure pose significant challenges and will present inertia for change, as systems built over time using disparate software and hardware could make integration with new technology a daunting task due to the size of the integration project or fear of potentially doing away with traditionally effective systems. The absence of standardised platforms and interoperability exacerbates this challenge. Investing in complex integration processes is also a big decision, due to perceived disruption and additional costs involved.

Cost Considerations

Arguably one of the biggest challenges in technology adoption is financial commitment. As providers often operate on tight budgets amidst high costs, especially in labour and manpower, implementation of new technology can sometimes prove prohibitive, with initial capital outlay required potentially deterring adoption. Stakeholders buy-in of ROI and demonstration of tangible benefits becomes paramount, and measurable, quantitative matrices such as percentage of improved operational efficiency, rate of reduced maintenance costs, and enhanced occupant satisfaction through feedback and surveys, are post-implementation priorities.

On this note, Collaboration between technology providers and industry professionals is crucial to develop comprehensive business cases highlighting measurable benefits and cost-effectiveness of integrating new technology. It is also imperative that successful technology implementation largely depends on the examples set and decisions made by a leadership team2. GJK, for instance, has established set channels and control over technology implementation projects through years of evaluating, executing and measuring project success, and this approach is key to reaping technology’s greatest benefit.

Cultural Roots and Mindset

The traditional nature of the commercial cleaning industry can sometimes be attributed to deep-rooted organisational cultures and mindsets. Hierarchical structures, and deep-set cultures within organisations can present significant challenges to the adoption of new technology. Transforming the industry requires a shift in mindset, fostering a culture that encourages experimentation, continuous learning, and openness to change.

Risk Aversion

The fear of investing in unproven solutions and the potential for implementation failures is a challenge facing many industry players today and can often hinder progress. Overcoming risk aversion requires a phased approach, pilot testing of new technologies, and establishing clear success criteria. Proving the effectiveness and reliability of new solutions through small-scale deployments can alleviate concerns and build confidence among stakeholders.

Vendor Selection and Implementation

Selecting the right technology vendor and ensuring a smooth implementation process are critical to the successful adoption of new technology. In this regard, players in the industry often face challenges in vendor selection, such as due diligence in having to evaluate multiple options, assessing compatibility with existing systems, and identifying trusted partners. Implementation projects can be complex and resource-intensive, requiring careful planning, effective change management strategies, and robust communication channels to ensure seamless integration and user adoption.

Although the industry faces significant challenges in adopting new technology due to some of the highlighted concerns, addressing complexity and compatibility issues head on, while at the same time effectively communicating, tracking and measuring ROI are all crucial steps towards embracing technological advancements. By promoting collaboration, facilitating education, and emphasising the benefits of innovation, the facilities services industry can then unlock the full potential of working alongside new technologies and innovative ways of delivering service excellence. Embracing change will not only improve operational efficiency but also enhance sustainability, customer satisfaction, and future-proof the industry as a whole.

 

References

1 Digital Transformations and Automation for Facility Management: https://medium.com/geekculture/digital-transformations-and-automation-for-facility-management-6b81421dfd8f

2 Successful Facility Management Technology Implementation: The Invaluable Role of Leadership: https://entouchcontrols.com/facilities-management-technology-implementation/

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