Benchmarking initiatives seem to get criticised as often as they get praised. But the underlying concept of sharing information about common issues, problems and opportunities can’t be faulted.
What better way for FMs, for example, to obtain a fresh perspective or explore new ideas than from others who’ve seen it or done it already?
That’s a key principle underlying the Peer to Peer Club, which now has groups focused on the interests of UK FMs, European and global FMs, and FM suppliers.
For facilities management clients, membership in BIFM or the Building Futures Group has value; but for many, having a vehicle that enables them to interact exclusively with their peers across companies has a particularly high value. Sharing challenges, comparing ideas, discussing specific concerns with people who perform the same role in other companies and accessing researched material without the fear of being sold to – all in a confidential environment – is very desirable. The Peer to Peer Club addresses this desire.
Initially, the Peer to Peer Club was formed out of a request from a major utilities company to understand what other organisations were considering as their next step of development in FM, and which operating model they were seeking to purchase the next time around. Facilitated by Opale Management Services, an independent facilities-specific consultative practice, this request gathered together a forum of 15 major UK-based blue chip companies, which collectively decided that the forum should continue and develop.
The Peer to Peer Club has subsequently developed and now boasts 92 members and three clubs – one which is for UK FM clients only, another focused on European and global clients, and a third one that focuses on FM suppliers.
The constitution of the Peer to Peer Club drives the following core principles:
- The club is owned by its members (similar to a golf club)
- Matters of club governance rest with the membership
- All matters discussed are confidential to the club members.
- There are three key offerings to members:
- Unimpeded networking with real peers
- A confidential forum for debate
- Research and development (finding answers to questions raised by the membership)
- FM intellectual value generated and thought leadership provided by the club to be shared with the wider FM market (at the discretion of the membership).
Today, there is no cost to club membership. But as the administrative burden associated with the demand for membership increase, members may be charged an administration fee.
The offerings of the club are self-explanatory, but the buyers and sellers of FM services are separated so that one forum does not compromise the other. Perhaps the most unusual element is research and development, which is a particularly intriguing feature of the club.
Members meet quarterly for each interest area, usually hosted by a member, and each forum has an agenda which tends to follow the same process:
- Tour of the hosting member’s site
- Outcomes of the previous research and development request
- Topical debate
- Next R&D request.
During the topical debate the members discuss what they wish to do or learn, usually resulting in a request for a particular piece of R&D to take place. These requests can vary from surveys to specific FM technical, contractual or system development. Attending members agree on the topics for R&D. It then becomes the responsibility of Opale Management Services to undertake the R&D, which often involves the members‘ participation.
Originally published by i-FM.net click here to view the article.