Expert Q&A: Why RM and Facilities Management are Working Together

TAB is seeing increased collaboration between facilities management and records management teams. Find out why and learn how they are finding synergies in this Q&A session with Janet Campbell, Vice President of Sales at TAB Canada.

TAB: Hi Janet and thanks for joining us. So what exactly is driving the increased collaboration between FM and RM?

JC: Facilities managers now recognize that records management directly affects many of their top strategic priorities, from aligning their programs with corporate strategy to emergency preparedness and meeting environmental goals.

TAB: Can you give us a specific example?

JC: Sure. Storage and efficient use of space is a great one. On average, 21% of facility floor space is devoted to some sort of storage—that’s a big chunk of real estate. And there are growing demands for records storage and access, both in the physical sense as well as electronic. In most facilities budgets, storage costs are second only to systems furniture on average, and IT storage spending is growing three-times faster than overall IT budgets.

The right records management program can have a significant positive impact on efficiently using physical and virtual storage, so it makes sense that FM would work with RM to achieve this.

TAB: Is their more to the collaboration?

JC: Absolutely. Detailed RM strategies are benefiting facilities managers in many different ways. Take the greater requirements organizations face around corporate governance, such as the classification and records retention. Working with records management can help facilities managers reduce the overall volume of records, identify security concerns, reduce cost—and it’s all in the context of bigger corporate imperatives around improving governance policies and procedures.

And then there are areas like storage equipment. Records management professionals can help facilities managers identify the storage equipment that’s best suited to the organization. Not only does this improve things like employee safety and accessibility, but if done right, this can help FM reduce equipment costs and space requirements, while still meeting the functional business needs.

TAB: An office move or relocation would seem to be a natural opportunity for facilities managers to tap into the expertise of records management. Is that a common starting point for collaboration?

JC: Definitely. At TAB, we have something we call the “SMART” process—for Streamline, Manage, Access, Retain, and Toss. It’s standard preparation for a corporate move, although it could also be done on an annual basis. From an FM perspective, this process frees up space for active files and staff seating. And when organizations are moving offices, it reduces how much material FM teams have to pack up and haul to the new location.

Also, facilities managers frequently have to organize file moves within an organization, and here records management can be a big help. Files are not furniture, and if they aren’t moved correctly this can have a significant negative impact on a business. So RM can help ensure the files are moved correctly while addressing security or privacy concerns. And similarly RM can contribute to mapping out a new floor plan, as well as ensuring business continuity and reducing the overall risk involved in any move.

TAB: How are you seeing facilities management assisting records management?

JC: It’s different in every organization, but the challenges that RM groups typically face are due to a lack of resources. So say for example an organization is moving. This is when facilities managers become aware of issues around document retention and the classification systems, and then raise those issues with the senior leadership. In this way FM helps RM get funding and sponsorship from executives.

TAB: So, it’s a win-win for both facilities management and records management teams?

JC: Absolutely, it’s a collaboration that enables both roles to meet their objectives.

TAB: Any advice on how the two can successfully work together, on getting the partnership started?

JC: It’s important to have senior management buy-in and a corporate mandate, just to get the right level of support in terms of budget and human resources. And the earlier that Facilities Managers include the RM group in the planning process, the better. This is important because together, they can demonstrate a stronger ROI to senior management, in terms of more effective use of storage space, achieving productivity gains, and reducing risks. It’s critical too that FM and RM groups jointly establish standards for their respective areas of responsibilities, and come up with ways to support the requirements of both.

TAB: What does the future look like for this partnership?

JC: I have definitely seen the overlap grow, and this will continue. Everyone has to do more with less, and the two groups need to rely on mutual collaboration to meet their own objectives. Every time an organization or department needs to relocate, RM is at the table with FM to help manage all the material that is stored—because in a lot of organizations, the storage situation is out of control. The more the two teams work together, the better it is for both departments.

Get in touch to learn more about how records management teams can support facilities management.