9 megatrends that every FM provider should know

Economic growth, globalization, technological development - here are a just some of the megatrends that are shaping the future of FM.

Some of the most important conversations surrounding the FM industry today revolve around trends that will allow us to future-proof our businesses. How can we structure our processes and society today, in order to withstand the impacts of tomorrow? By analysing trends and tendencies to create future scenarios. For years, megatrends have identified fundamental external driving forces that impact every level of society with a high degree of certainty. They have shaped the world and will continue to shape our future, but which megatrends will impact the global FM and services industry towards 2020 the most? Here are nine important megatrends and two FM and services industry-specific trends to consider.

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1. Economic growth

Global economic power will likely continue its shift eastwards. The FM and services industry will experience consequences when most construction activities move towards emerging markets. Increasing competition coming from new players in emerging markets will force companies to search for greater differentiation, and to be innovative in how they adjust their business models and deliver extra value to clients.

2. Globalization

Globalization makes us more alike; at the same time, it makes us more aware of local differences. A growing number of multinational companies have therefore begun to adapt their products and marketing to local markets. This is commonly referred to as the “Glocalization” strategy. Companies that are able to navigate between emerging markets and different cultures, can look forward to a prosperous future.

3. Demographic trends

Attracting, recruiting and retaining the best possible workforce will be increasingly complex and challenging for companies around the world, as the interests and motivating factors for workers from various generations are different. In Europe, the US, Japan and China, the fourth-generation workplace will become increasingly common. It will be an essential factor
for all FM and services industry companies to understand the motivational factors for each age cohort.

4. Sustainability

Global warming will be one of the main sustainability challenges for the coming century. To become more energy- and carbon-efficient, societies around the world may be forced to restructure their economies and infrastructure. Sustainability challenges will have a number of consequences for the FM and services industry in the coming decade, affecting supply and value chains as well as building design, management and maintenance. Systemic design will become more important.

5. Technological development

Technological progress increases productivity, leads to the development of new industries, income growth, and reduced poverty. Towards 2020 we expect to see major progress in intelligent technology, such as near field communication (NFC) sensors, smart surveillance, security applications and smart robots, which will enable automation of more activities. Technology will take over more domains and functions as robot technology improves in quality, prices for advanced technologies decline and labour costs increase.

Technological development is squeezing low-quality labour out of the market and creating new demands for skill sets. Cleaning, for example, is no longer an issue of “elbow grease”. Security is much more than a pair of eyeballs. New technologies require that people work in more intelligent ways.

6. Growth of knowledge society

New reporting, collection and control technologies are creating a mountain of data that needs to be collected, stored and analyzed. The successful FM and services industry companies towards 2020 will be the ones that can efficiently collect, store, secure, analyze and operationalize data to generate value and maximum benefit for customers.

7. Individualization

Individualization will continue to impact organizations and social relations, especially in low- and middle-income countries. People and organizations expect tailored products, services and solutions. Companies expect their FM and services industry providers to supply individualized services that maximize their value proposition. Additionally, companies will experience increasing employee turnover. Individualization will be prominent as employees and customers increase their demands for individual attention.

8. Focus on health and well-being

Over the coming decade, an increasing focus on health will permeate more aspects of private and business life. More lifestyle-related disorders and diseases will emerge. The focus on health and a better life will lead to artificial and technologically enhanced human capabilities, creating major impact on the global FM and services industry. In Europe, over 30% of integrated FM revenue is generated by the healthcare sector. As budget cuts in Europe affect service provision, governments will likely outsource more activities. The doubling of the prevalence of lifestyle-related diseases, like diabetes, will lead to new incentives in building designs to promote healthier and more productive lifestyles among company employees. Buildings will be assessed and designed to promote more active, comfortable, and productive lifestyles.

9. Commercialization

Commercialization means faster competition, shorter product lifecycles as well as increasing specialization, differentiation and innovation. FM and services industry companies will have to find ways to help their customers stay competitive and maximize value. To do this, managers will have to understand the key business indicators that promote value in an organization; and how FM and services industry can help their customers improve performance. This could be achieved by understanding their strategic plans and objectives. It could also be achieved by employing lean management techniques to cut waste and use six-sigma strategies to increase quality.

Trends and tendencies specific to the FM Industry

a) New Ways of Working: Corporations are implementing alternative workplace practices and new ways of working to promote corporate identity and foster more efficient collaboration, knowledge sharing, flexibility, speed, innovation and productivity. The traditional workplace will become the alternative workplace. FM managers will increasingly have to make use of online facility reservation and management tools that also pinpoint underutilized facilities, leading to better facility management and eventually better building design.

b) Preparedness and populations at risk in densely populated urban areas: According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), climate change and rapid urbanization occurring in middle- and low-income countries will expose the FM and services industry to new challenges and lead to a greater emphasis on contingency and continuity planning. The next wave of urban development will occur in areas already prone to natural disasters. FM and services industry managers should prepare contingency and continuity plans for a number of challenges.

While these nine megatrends frame our understanding of future scenarios, they should provide as a roadmap to consider how to mitigate your business towards 2020. And while there are nine on this list, look at them as parts of a whole; megatrends crossover domains to interact in unpredictable ways, while influencing each other’s developments. Get more information about each of the nine megatrends with an in depth analysis of the consequences for the FM and services industry from the ISS Vision 2020 whitebook.

This blog post is based on the ISS 2020 Vision whitebook.