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Hooray, it’s World Facility Management Day 2024!

Explore the impact of facility management with George Schmidt, who talks about the evolving roles of FM professionals, the integration of AI and sustainability practices, and the future trends that are shaping this critical industry.

Q2 2024
In celebration of World Facility Management Day, Area Development Magazine sat down with George Schmidt, Global Head of Soft Services at JLL, to discuss the crucial role of facility management (FM) in maintaining and enhancing operational efficiencies. With a diverse background that transitions from military service to leading global initiatives in FM, Schmidt provides deep insights into the advancements in technology and sustainability within the industry. This interview highlights the significance of recognizing the often-unsung heroes of facility management—from those ensuring the lights stay on to the teams making our work environments more sustainable and efficient. Join us as Schmidt shares his expert perspective on the current challenges, technological innovations, and future trends in FM, underscoring the vital contributions of facility managers worldwide.

ADM: What is the significance of World Facility Management Day?
George Schmidt: World Facility Management Day is about honoring the individuals who contribute to FM, often behind the scenes—housekeepers, electricians, and those in data centers. It’s about recognizing everyone who ensures facilities operate seamlessly.

ADM: How has technology, especially AI, been shaping the FM industry?
George Schmidt: We leverage AI for predictive maintenance to prevent equipment failures and ensure continuity. AI is also used in places like restrooms to monitor consumables. We're even using robotics for cleaning tasks, which allows staff to focus on more critical areas like sanitation. Internally, we also leverage JLL GPT to simplify tasks and increase productivity.

With over 20 years of experience in Integrated Facilities Management (IFM), George leads is the JLL’s Center of Expertise and Global Subject Matter Expert Network as well as Global FM & Soft Services. In his role, George supports new business pursuits, renewals and expansions; account recovery; new and existing product lines; supplier relationships; and Sustainable FM.
ADM: Can you discuss the role of sustainability in FM?
George Schmidt: Sustainability is central to FM. We have a growing sustainability program focusing on low-cost solutions to influence areas like engineering, technical services, and soft services. It aims to establish a sustainability baseline at each site, educating FM teams to pursue more sustainable objectives.

ADM: What are some current challenges in FM?
George Schmidt: Cost of services is a significant challenge. We’re using technology to predict occupancy trends, which helps with staffing and identifying savings opportunities. We explore various savings categories, such as increasing productivity through technology, changing service specifications, or, if necessary, reducing workforce.

ADM: How does JLL spotlight and communicate the value of FM workers?
George Schmidt: We spotlight individuals and have days like World FM Day to highlight the efforts of FM professionals through social media and internal channels. It’s about raising awareness and celebrating those who champion their roles and contribute to a productive environment.

ADM: What are JLL’s plans for celebrating World Facility Management Day?
George Schmidt: We plan social media posts and host brief meetings where leaders can invite teams to discuss innovations, sustainability, and other themes. It’s a way to break routine and celebrate achievements in FM.

ADM: Looking ahead, what do you think the future holds for FM?
George Schmidt: The future of FM will likely focus more on technology and innovation, with a more global community approach. Technologies like AI will play a significant role in enhancing communication and operational efficiency, even across different time zones.

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