Monash Facilities Management Benchmarking Review
How Grosvenor helped to transform the Monash University Buildings and Property Division
Australia’s higher education sector is undergoing a revolution. Changes to funding arrangements, increased competition for students, digitisation and the trend towards more collaborative industry relationships are presenting a challenge to traditional structures and service delivery models.
Monash University’s Buildings and Property Division (BPD) has experienced first-hand the impact of these changes.
“In an increasingly competitive and dynamic environment our structures, systems and processes need to be able to adapt quickly and effectively to change,” said Bradley Williamson, Executive Director of BPD.
With a $3.5b portfolio of land, buildings and infrastructure to manage, Bradley and his leadership team were keen to expand their understanding of best practice in facilities management. Their goal was to ensure they were focused on the right areas to overcome the current and future challenges faced by Monash, a major player in Australia’s third largest export market – tertiary education. In fact, Monash is Australia’s largest university in terms of staff, students, and researchers. It even has its own postcode.
To identify opportunities for change and advancement, BPD engaged Grosvenor’s property services expert, Kent Stuart, along with consultant Kristy Hornby, to conduct a best practice and benchmarking review of the Facilities Management sector and apply these learnings to current BPD operations.
BPD didn’t simply want advice about best practice Facilities Management. They required a plan to apply the theory into practice for transformation and improvement.
“Project success for us is implementing effective change and continuous improvement,” said Bradley.
“It was time to challenge ourselves, look outside the tertiary sector and learn what other organisations are doing to manage their significant corporate real estate portfolios. We believe we should be performing to the same, if not better, standard as commercial providers.”
Having completed a number of similar assessments, Kent and Kristy understood the complexity of Facilities Management in large multi-disciplinary organisations. They identified three key areas for further investigation.
- Explore how technology can be used in campus environments to improve the student experience
- Assess how Facilities Management providers can add value to their clients, and how investment in technology and systems can be leveraged to enhance BPD’s services
- Engage with Facilities Management executives from major institutions (including select universities) to identify challenges and areas of best practice.
Kent and Kristy embarked on a comprehensive benchmarking review. They examined BPD’s key structures, processes and systems, and critiqued these against other multi-disciplinary organisations including universities, government departments and commercial enterprises.
BPD’s performance was assessed through documentation reviews and one-on-one interviews with executives. A gap analysis was undertaken and areas for improvement identified. These included:
- Flexibility and agility
- Coordination and simplification
- Value for money
- Customer engagement and communication.
The review found that while BPD had recently progressed towards a more client-focused and strategic function, there was still room for improvement to performance when compared to best practice. The specific performance areas identified were in the areas of client engagement, strategic procurement, data management and strategic alignment to business needs.
The review equipped BPD with a comprehensive understanding of best practice in the Facilities Management sector, as well as the key challenges and opportunities identified by Australia’s leading Facilities Management executives.
Armed with these insights and areas for improvement, Bradley and his team are better equipped to support Monash and meet the challenges faced by Australia’s higher education sector. BPD has already commenced work on the most important opportunities identified.
“I’m now encouraged by the sense of clarity Grosvenor has given to our pursuit of better practice,” said Bradley. “The learnings Grosvenor provided can be used in other areas of our business, beyond purely Facilities Management.”
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