Growth: Computer-Aided Facilities Management Promotes Efficient
Guaranteeing on-time delivery of more than two million
packages overnight requires the effort of more than 108,000
employees worldwide using more than 35,000 trucks and 484 airplanes.
Our operations take up 82 million square feet of leased and owned
facilities worldwide. In other words, it's like being responsible
for the payments, maintenance, periodic renovation, furnishing and
taxes for 32,000 2,500-sq.-ft. homes.
In 1987, FedEx began
implementing a computer-aided facilities
management (FM) system to help manage the way we use and maintain
our facilities. Then we hired an architect with FM expertise to act
as our consultant and get our system up and running.
Our FM architect's work isn't glamorous. Rather, by telling us
what facility assets we have, it serves as an executive
decision-making tool for increasing efficiency and productivity.
Many architects are familiar with the computer-aided design and
drafting (CADD) concepts we employ. CADD takes a floor plan and
converts it into a database that can show us how to optimize the
interior space in a facility.
At the time of the FM installation, we didn't have up-to-date
floor plans for many of our buildings, so these had to be redrawn
into the system. The task was enormous. Our in-house architect was
in constant communication with many different departments and levels
of our companyfrom the headquarters to the airport rampsto
determine their needs. He helped establish a team of FM
representatives who perform semi-annual field surveys of our
facilities. We use this information to update our floor plans and
report how our facilities are actually being used.
Before using the survey process, sometimes we found that the
company was preparing to lease new space for expansion, not knowing
that we already had usable vacant space. Our staff architect helped
develop a system that allows the planning staff to check which
buildings have space available. And the CADD floor plans show them
exactly where the space is located.
Our FM architect also helped develop standards for how our
facilities design would be representedfrom office furnishings to
Federal Aviation Administration ramp parking requirements for one of
our fleet of aircraft.
This standardization allows drawings to be shared by any CADD
system around the world. Now, our architects in Japan don't need to
have the same CADD system we use in Memphis to design a FedEx
facility in Tokyo. This expedites growth. Plus, standards make the
work environment more democratic. For example, now even cubicle size
is standardized so that everyone has adequate room in which to work.
FM is essential for a dynamic company today. It allows the
planning staff to be proactive with the company's growth. To do it
right, teamwork among managers and a qualified facilities staff is
requiredno one could handle this workload alone. From my
experience, an architect should be an integral part of the team.
Our FM architect's CADD training, combined with his understanding
of architectural possibilities, established the foundation of our FM
success. We continue to utilize his services because he has the
vision and expertise we need to make FM work.