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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Building FM productivity through knowledge management
This first issue of the sixth volume of JFM encompasses a diverse yet interrelated range of themes within the facilities management (FM) industry as we focus on the relationships between knowledge management (KM), the importance of performance, and the impacts of productivity within an organisational setting. Pathirage et al. firstly provide a case study investigating the concept of KM, an extremely important yet still relatively unexplored area within FM. However, as the realisation to focus FM as a strategic tool that requires future investment and insight, organisations are increasingly becoming more sophisticated in their role as the informed client. We often talk about the “information age” of industry, however the actual processes we attempt to deliver in order for information to be effectively managed, is often complex. The research of Pathirage et al. has provided valuable insight into the application of KM, recognising its strategic importance to FM by developing a mechanism to manage knowledge effectively within an organisational setting.
Closely linked to the achievement of effective KM is the measurement of performance, in which Liyanage and Egbu have developed a performance measurement framework (PMF) within healthcare FM. Liyanage and Egbu's research shows how systematic and effective performance information is vital to the control of healthcare associated infections, and how it can be effectively structured and prioritised through the use of a four-stage PMF. We then shift our attention towards productivity in the workplace as Haynes provides insight into the impact of office comfort on workplace productivity. The intangible nature of office comfort means that research and subsequent measurement is not straight forward, as Haynes explores its complexity. Through an expansive literature review Haynes contends that it does have a direct impact on productivity, which one hopes will now provide the ignition for future investigation within the FM industry.
The final two papers focus on the specific theme of heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. In the first instance, Gopalakrishnan and Chandrashekaran unravel a risk reduction methodology by introducing a facilities condition assessment tool, based on their study on cooling towers at West Virginia University, USA. Roelofsen then provides an alternative viewpoint surrounding both productivity and comfort in the workplace in his practice paper on HVAC systems in The Netherlands. Both papers increase the awareness of the impact intelligent building processes and infrastructure can have on the working environment through calculated planning and investment decision making.
Finally, whenever possible JFM aims to acknowledge the most current and newly released books applicable to the FM industry and in this issue we review Building Maintenance Management by Chanter and Swallow. This second edition revitalises an increasingly prominent field, adding new depth with its close comparisons to FM to explain and discuss the changing context in which building maintenance operates.