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What Can FM Learn from F1?

Rogier Roelvink, Customer Strategy Director with Oracle Construction and Engineering, explains how processes and technologies from Formula One motorsport can accelerate performance in facilities management.

Formula 1 is a sport often described as being driven by data; teams are obsessed with analysis and minute details that could give them a competitive advantage on the track. It’s commonly accepted that technology already has or will have a significant role to play in facilities management (FM), turning the industry more and more into a data driven industry where decisions can be made using the latest data and technology.

What can you take from Formula 1 that accelerates performance in facilities management?

Formula 1 races are won or lost on the smallest of margins, where every tenth of a second counts with a high reliance on data and technology. I have identified three fundamental aspects for accelerated performance:

Making informed decisions

Formula 1 teams have two cars, each generating enormous amounts of data on every lap on every track. The latest technology is used to make sense of all this data to allow teams to understand what is happening with their cars and the circumstances.

The built environment, its assets and systems with the facilities services also generate large volumes of data. I will briefly explore how technology can help you keep the data connected and organised to make sure everyone has access to it and can use the data.

Single source of truth

The pace of Formula 1 means there is no time to look for where the relevant data is stored. A single source of truth where data is accessible by all who and when they need it, is critically important for Formula 1 teams. Facilities management teams can equally benefit from a single source of truth to synchronise data and processes for enhanced productivity, eliminating duplicate data stores and providing everyone access to the right data to do their jobs.

Predictive intelligence

Formula 1 races are not just won on speed alone. Strategy plays a critical part in achieving success. Having access to machine learning and AI predictive capabilities provides teams with deep knowledge and insight to make the right call at the right time.

Using machine learning and data analytics to help predict what might happen with the assets and systems in your facility still might be a bit of a dream for facilities management; nonetheless, technology and AI can provide access to deep knowledge and insights previously unimaginable.

Technology accelerating performance

The same principles and philosophy of the technology used by Formula 1 Team is available to you.

Formula 1 teams are always looking to accelerate their performance; facilities management, for the last decade or so, has also been chasing performance improvements. There is a school of thought that facilities management is lacking the use of technology. The lack of adoption has been exacerbated by the need and opportunity to accelerate performance because of market consolidation, talent shortages, economic pressures, facility and systems complexity, and decarbonisation.

All these factors drive how we need to rethink every aspect of facilities management and service delivery. In retrospect, more than 20 years ago we started this digital journey with point solutions serving individuals and departments. These solutions include building management systems for energy use, helpdesk systems for service provision, asset register databases and planned preventative maintenance plans. Those solutions drove performance gains, removed pain points and standardised processes within individual disciplines. They also created digital silos between contractor teams and companies, and a plethora of extra emails and files as team members attempted to transfer data between silos. 

Today, the facilities management industry is at a stage where first-generation platforms can allow companies to integrate point solutions and adopt cloud-enabled platforms to connect teams and facilitate collaboration. Applications on these platforms share data and connect across specified workflows. These platforms better connect teams, improve collaboration, speed up decisions, and reduce errors as teams share information. Still critical data and insights are locked up within specific apps and proprietary formats.

The next leap forward in this industry’s performance demands an intelligent platform that unlocks valuable data and metrics to drive deeper analytics and process automation just like Formula 1 teams use for their performance analytics. Organisations can use an intelligent platform that leverages AI and machine learning to empower every go-forward decision so that they can learn from the past to continuously improve the future. A platform that enables a highly responsive ecosystem, with every partner application and member of the supply chain automatically adjusts to every occurrence, change or activity.

The smart platform

In my view, a smart platform facilitates the much sought after accelerated performance where owners and their service delivery teams work together to accelerate performance for all stakeholders. The backbone of the platform is a common data environment (CDE). The CDE brings together data from applications, unlocks data to create a single, holistic source of information across facilities, assets, systems and portfolios. A linked ecosystem of applications makes that data easily accessible to team members, with the appropriate permissions, at all levels across organisations. 

AI and machine learning algorithms leverage this holistic data to deliver intelligence that empowers decisions and predicts outcomes while there is time to mitigate risks and take corrective action. Much like in Formula 1, and how teams aim to predict the optimum number of pit stops and when in the race to execute them. Innovative analytic techniques constantly inspect every workflow and micro-process providing insights unique to each business, so that processes continuously improve.

Together, this highly responsive ecosystem connects teams, empowers the thousands of individual decisions made every day, and synchronises every step of the facilities services processes. As a result, a digital twin for every asset is dynamically created and maintained throughout its lifecycle.

In Formula 1 synchronising data between teams located on the circuit, in the garage, team quarters or back at headquarters, is critical to success as the race unfolds. In facilities management, improvements are driven by data and the information synchronised between on- and off-site teams, allowing decision-makers to make informed decisions based on reliable data.

Today, most synchronisation happens manually – adding delays, missing opportunities to optimise and introducing errors. To accelerate performance, those manual synchronisation processes should be automated, eliminating the need for manual decisions where possible, orchestrating the arrival of resources just-in-time, and continuously adjusting scheduled activities to progress smoothly without delay across the supply chain.

Connected teams with access to synchronised data empowers informed, proactive decisions and continuous improvement. A recent McKinsey report stated: “significant value can be created by developing analytics and insights platforms that leverage the growing pool of inter- and intra-company data. These platforms will enable more proactive, data-driven management.”

That is exactly what the smart platform with its CDE and AI, ML, business analytics applications are designed to deliver. Knowledge is power, as is often seen in Formula 1. If the right decisions can be made based on information combined with predictive analytics, teams become unbeatable.

F1 to accelerate FM

Performance is not a single destination – an organisation needs to constantly evolve and increase its performance, otherwise the competition will catch up and overtake you just like it does in Formula 1. A smart platform’s ecosystem continuously monitors every workflow and micro-process, providing insights unique to each business so that processes can become smarter and faster over time. This reduces the load of larger improvement initiatives (which can fail), creating the continuous “1% improvements.” This keeps the needle moving in the right direction while minimising friction within organisations and creating a distinct competitive advantage over time.

With the right technology partner, a smart platform ecosystem you can help facilities management teams:

  • Make informed decisions using large amounts of data by being able to connect and organise the data to make sure that everyone who needs it has access to it.
  • Have a single source of truth to store all relevant data accessible by all who need it, when they need it, by synchronising data and processes for enhanced productivity eliminating duplicate data stores and providing everyone access to the right data to do their jobs.
  • Use predictive intelligence, machine learning and data analytics to start predicting what might happen, empowering you to make the right decision at the right time.

The same principles and philosophy of the technology used by Formula 1 teams is also available for your facilities management service provision.

CAMFIL HVAC Filtration Solutions

Rogier Roelvink

Rogier Roelvink is a Customer Strategy Director at Oracle Construction and Engineering. He supports clients in digital transformation throughout Asia-Pacific. Rogier has extensive asset and facilities management advisory experience and a passion for informed decision-making. He is actively advancing the facilities management industry as chair of the FMA’s Digital Technology & Innovation Special Interest Group.

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