The Bachelor of Science in Facility Management program at Ferris State University, a leader in facilities management education, has welcomed support from Planon and FM:Systems, two prominent Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS) software providers. The products, along with visitation and lecture support, were designed to assist in structuring content for instruction in facility management technology. The collaborative goal was to introduce IWMS and demonstrate to the students how such a platform can contribute to the effective management of facilities.
“Planon is a powerful state-of-the-art IWMS platform,” said Tanzia Sharmin, an associate professor in Ferris’ Architecture and Facility Management Department. “The consistent structure of the user interface of Planon modules and the shared information in the integrated platform makes it user-friendly, as well as presenting opportunities for users to make better decisions.”
Christopher Ryans, a consultant with Planon, was a guest lecturer on the topic of Integrated Workplace Management Systems and their benefits. Planon staff also contributed knowledge and content to support an additional three lectures on IWMS technology. Through the series, the class learned how to navigate and use core aspects of an IWMS.
“We are proud to be asked to collaborate with one of the leading facilities management university programs in North America by assisting in the education of future FM leaders about facility management technology,” said Fred Guelen, president of North American Operations at Planon, based in Boston.
Sharmin said FM:Systems, based in Raleigh, North Carolina has provided a two-year license for Ferris’ use of their IWMS software, which includes six training modules, valued at $590,000.
“I also received three days of training from FM:Systems at their headquarters, prior to the start of the Fall 2019 semester,” Sharmin said. “I accomplished a great deal of learning, myself, which was very valuable support for my instruction with their software.”
Estimates indicate that more than half of today’s facilities management practitioners will retire in the next five to 15 years, which would create opportunities for younger generations to explore the world of facilities management and make it their career of choice. Research in 2017 showed that more of the Facility Management professional members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors are over 70, compared to the membership under 30, and less than 15 percent affiliated with the international organization are under 40 years of age. The International Facility Management Association faces a similar challenge, based on a 30 percent sample of its 24,000-plus members, which shows that the average IFMA member is 50.9 years old.