Another successful PRSM conference in the books! Here are a few things that made this PRSM National Conference stand out from the rest.
Daymond John gave a terrific keynote presentation, speaking about his personal journey, from starting a company in his mother’s house to gorilla marketing with LL Cool J to being a star on the hit TV show Shark Tank. Daymond also had the crowd of retailers chuckling a bit when poking fun about how big retailers can make or break a small clothing company.
A Facilities Manager Changing of the Guard
The days of a facility manager or contractor stereotypically being a middle-aged man are behind us. This year's PRSM conference was an even split between men and women, and the age of the average attendee feels like it's dropped ten years in just the past few conferences. This has long been a goal of PRSM, which understands that involving younger members is the only way to ensure a healthy organization for years to come.
PRSM has a firm grasp on the fact that our field of facilities management has been, and will always be, based on strong relationships. With the Baby Boomers only a few years from leaving the workforce and the millennial generation beginning to take the industry’s leadership roles, managing relationships between co-workers and customers has never been more important.
PRSM had a few sessions surrounding building strong relationships with your peers and partners including their very successful “Retailer2Retailer” exchange, “Get Along with Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere” with Arnold Sanow (who also lead a terrific webinar hosted by yours truly), and “The Constant Client” with Tim Wackel.
But there’s always room for improvement. What were some of the topics that we felt were missing from this year’s conference and should be more of a focus going forward?
Analytics - Where Have You Gone?
Where were the big data analytics discussions? At PRSM’s previous conference, “Analytics” was the entire theme; this year it was missing entirely. ‘Big data’ basically became ‘no data.’
The power that big data analytics can bring to a retailer’s facilities organization is no longer a secret; it’s driving operating efficiency, allowing people to manage by exception and benchmark against themselves and their peers. This is not a future issue; any facilities manager on top of his game today needs to be on top of his data - and analytics and reporting is how that’s done.
Retail facilities managers still have a lot of work ahead to establish industry standards to make for efficient benchmarking, including things as simple as standardizing trade names to provide for common measurement. PRSM is in a great position to be a leader in this initiative and the conference is the perfect place to do it. I hope they include this next time in the form of a workshop or committee, and include people from all major organizations.
Where Have You Gone, Facilities Management Technology?
Again, this has been a common theme in PRSM conferences in the past but was virtually non-existent here. There have been a lot of new technologies, tools and apps that have been created that make the lives of the facilities manager better, like those allowing contractor location check-in via GPS, contractor-initiated work orders for pre-approved types of work and mobile site audits. Unfortunately, with the continued advances in FM software and related technology, there was clearly a content gap due to a lack of sessions on this missing topic.
PRSM 2015’s Greatest Value
At the end of the day, if you ask me what I thought the most valuable thing about PRSM was, it will be what I say after every PRSM conference - connections and relationships. Nothing beats retailers being able to meet with contractors, and getting a chance to share ideas. Our firm continually benefits from speaking with our own customers face to face, to explore long term goals and share future plans. Whether you’re a retailer, vendor, contractor or system provider, there’s nothing better than having the chance to get out of the office and engage with everyone across the FM ecosystem. We can all learn a lot from each other!