The Facilities Management Association (FMA) describes itself as the United Kingdom’s only trade association representing the facilities management sector on the grounds that its membership is limited to corporates. FM Magazine asked Chief Executive, Chris Hoar, whether his organisation’s membership structure confers any significant benefits.
FMA member companies employ more than 500,000 people across the United Kingdom and generate a collective turnover in excess of £40 billion annually. Does your membership differ significantly from those of other associations representing the facilities management sector?
We are often compared to other trade associations, but the FMA is the only association that looks after corporates and offers an environment for members to do business together. We actively encourage our members to know one another and discover potential business leads through networking opportunities.
Are there any pre-qualification requirements for FMA membership?
The only pre-qualification we require from our FMA members is that they work within the FM sector. We are open to all potential members as long as their business and experience is relevant to the facilities management industry.
You have developed strategic partnerships with several industry associations including The Facilities Management Forum and The Facilities Society. Why didn’t you simply invite their members to join FMA instead?
Our members benefit from being part of an association that has strategic partnerships with other organisations. Strategic partners can offer joint benefits in addition to the opportunities that our association already provides. The FMA feels that works incredibly well for our members and our partners.
Your stated objective is to “support member companies in their pursuit of ever-increasing standards of service and value on behalf of their clients and to assist them in improving their trading positions through innovation and thought leadership”. How successful have you been in this endeavour?
The FMA has been very successful. We have doubled in size in the last 3 years and have many positive testimonials from our members. The profile and recognition of the organisation within our industry has continued to grow and develop, which is reflected in our membership growth.
Is there anything the FMA might do better?
One of the benefits of being part of the FMA is the fact that we provide opportunities for members to meet, network and do business together. Our networking events are currently fairly London centric and I think we could improve our offering if we were to branch out, holding events outside of London, on a more national scale.
The drive for energy efficiency and new building management technologies will require facilities managers to develop competencies in areas historically served by mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) contractors. Do you believe this will result in all facilities managers becoming MEPs or is it more likely that MEP’s will simply transform themselves into integrated service providers?
As the facilities management market evolves, there will undoubtedly still be opportunities for single service providers such as MEPs as well as total facilities management (TFM) providers. Currently though, the trend remains in favour of TFM.
You recently entered into an exclusive partnership with the organisers of next year’s Facilities Show and stated that the FMA has no plans to support other facilities management exhibitions in 2014. Why?
The Facilities Show is certain to be a great event, developed with the aim of showcasing our amazing industry. We are extremely pleased to be supporting the Facilities Show as it is extremely important to be part of publicising the industry to other sectors and the rest of the world.
You have held senior sales and marketing positions with construction materials company, Saint-Gobain, Vinci Construction (formerly Norwest Holst) and foodservice and support services company, Compass Group. Are facilities managers as successful at marketing and selling their services as companies operating in other built environment industries?
Facilities managers are very successful at selling their services to clients internally, but could improve on selling externally. Key factors to consider in this process are those of FM organisations ensuring that they are approachable to prospective clients. They also need to publicise their success, as public image is crucial in securing bid tenders.