Control is good, trust is better — new approaches to facility management

22.03.2017 — Bayer Real Estate GmbH is responsible for the Bayer AG real estate portfolio in Germany. The real estate experts provide a suitable working environment for each employee.

The company is one of the largest real estate owners in Germany. Bayer Real Estate (BRE) was founded in 2008 and manages most of the Bayer AG real estate portfolio in Germany. Around 100 employees purchase, sell, rent and lease real estate; they develop properties into modern working environments. For Leverkusen und Dormagen they are responsible for the operation of the tenanted real estate. They are involved in the life cycle from start to finish.

The skills of the German managers are needed all over the world and international experience and intuition are as important as professional knowledge. What is good for the team in Denmark may differ substantially from the needs of the Indian colleagues. BRE managers in Leverkusen collaborate closely with those responsible in each country and real estate is developed according to the functional requirements of local employees as well as the high environmental and health & safety standards prescribed by Bayer.

Always something new

Over the past years, Bayer has invested consistent effort into becoming a global life science-company. The independence of the material sciences division and the planned acquisition of the global agricultural company, Monsanto, are the most prominent examples. These strategic decisions present very real challenges and a great deal of additional work for the professionals at BRE: New teams are being formed and as a result, new work environments must be created.

The less spectacular developments, too, require short business cycles and demand flexibility from the BRE team, even from those members of staff who are especially well-informed about company developments and planning; the five year plans for the various sections provide only a rough estimate of the accommodation required in the coming years. Often, a combination of skill and intuition is necessary to maintain a balance between the differing interests of the owner and the user. “Real estate is not just a business resource. It is employees’ daily working environment and often, they spend more time there than at home” Frederic Krabbe, an employee of the department Operational Excellence at Bayer Real Estate, elucidates the challenges involved. BRE determines the conditions for modern work place concepts which encourage creative, productive work: from space management to furnishings and lighting.

Their work is never done; with almost 117,000 employees across the world, there is always a relocation or construction project going on somewhere. For example in Wuppertal-Elberfeld—a BREsupervised project for production of factor VIII medicines, essential for patients suffering from hemophilia A.

A new approach to facility management

The real estate experts at Bayer are also exploring new and innovative approaches to facility management with the ultimate goal, amongst other things, of transition to integrated facility management i.e. contracting a single provider for all facility services. The provision of individual services is newly examined and reviewed. “Most companies give their FM providers exact instructions concerning the what, when and where of service provision. Everything is specified” says Krabbe. But ultimately, it is the result that matters. Bayer’s new approach to facility management is to leave to the provider how the contract and the service specification are implemented. The client then checks whether they are fulfilled.

A partnership

The Dussmann team is happy to take on this responsibility. In January 2016, it commenced provision of a wide scope of services at the Bayer sites in Leverkusen and Dormagen. The benefits of the approach are apparent during peak periods: if someone or something is missing, resources can be quickly reorganized. The agreement also passes more responsibility to the individual Dussmann Service operatives; if the frequency and times of foyer cleaning are not prescribed, the operative must decide when to deploy the cleaning trolley.

The concept is demonstrated in building K56 in Leverkusen where 1,000 Bayer Vital GmbH employees work. BRE has outsourced all FM tasks which are not directly Bayer core business activities. Dussmann Service employees receive guests and provide conference services. Designated meeting points on the floors promote communication and are available for short meetings. The Dussmann team keeps the meeting points clean and tidy and the coffee machines functional. It issues office materials, coordinates mail distribution and there are two janitors on call to help out when an office stool wobbles or a picture needs hanging. The cleaning team has been working here for 10 years. More than 100 Dussmann operatives keep K56 and many other buildings in Leverkusen und Dormagen meticulously clean. In some cases, premium cleaning services are applied. In some sensitive areas where access is limited, a reactive cleaning operative is on duty all day.

infrastructural facility management at Bayer Real Estate and his colleagues perceive the partnership with their service provider as key. “At the end of the day, we want them to provide a good service at an appropriate price. Dussmann operatives are happy in their jobs, you can tell by looking at them— and by the quality of their work.”

A good partnership includes being able to communicate well. Following the initial four weeks of service provision, BRE carried out the first implementation audit in cooperation with Dussmann Service. “We believe that it is better to discuss misunderstandings and errors right at the beginning before they become ingrained and lead to frustration on all sides” explains Krabbe. The results were not malus-relevant to encourage open exchange. “Working according to the function and performance model is a very innovative approach and we are happy to participate” says Christian Brüggemann, the branch office manager at Dussmann Service Cologne. Good communication has borne fruit: the internal audit in July 2016, one of those carried out regularly by auditors from headquarters in Berlin, awarded the operations here grade 1.
Michaela Mehls

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