– Tom Willie and Ken Sinclair
Tom Willie, CEO, Blue
Centralized Facility Management (CFM) Work For You
There are a number of issues at play today when it comes to
economically and reliably managing core facility-based operations.
Centralized Facility Management (CFM) aims to address operational
challenges by gathering performance data across all facilities to
foster better decision-making.
Why should Facility Managers look
to Centralized Facility Management (CFM) to manage their operations?
There are a host of issues facing today’s facility managers. The
pressures to ensure that facility-based operations are managed reliably
and economically are challenged by budget reductions, rising energy
prices and an aging infrastructure. In addition to aging electrical and
mechanical facilities, facilities-management personnel are also nearing
retirement and their extensive knowledge base will be lost—more than 50
percent of facilities management personnel are expected to retire
within the next 10 years.
On top of aging infrastructure, the sheer number of vendors and
equipment to manage can be daunting in these types of facilities.
Statistics like these underscore the breadth of the challenge and
affirm the necessity for CFM to improve resiliency and energy
reliability, which is critical for ensuring systems don’t fail, money
isn’t wasted and lives are not put at risk.
What facilities can benefit the
most from CFM?
Any multi-site facility can benefit from centralizing their facility
management, however large, geographically distributed facilities—such
as universities, hospital systems and military institutions—are leaders
in adopting this technology. Simply put, the organizations that
benefit the most are the critical and complex facilities where bad
things happen when the lights go out.
As facility managers explore
technologies to manage their operations, what should they consider?
The most critical element to consider is a vendor-neutral platform.
With facility managers focusing on cost savings, the fact that most
vendor-specific technologies lock you into proprietary systems negates
one of the main benefits of CFM. A change of equipment to match
specific platforms also doesn’t allow you to integrate the
best-of-breed solutions for your industry.
Also of importance is the amount of time it takes to implement a
program. At Blue Pillar, we provide an open platform that allows
you to ubiquitously connect facility energy equipment, regardless of
asset type or vendor—at a fraction of the time and cost of legacy
offerings. Our approach results in a 75% faster implementation.
How would you recommend a Facility
Manager go about implementing a CFM strategy?
Before implementing your CFM strategy define the benefits that you and
your organization want to obtain. From there, the implementation path
to CFM typically follows a four-step process. First, organizations
migrate budget decisions from the local to the corporate level to allow
for enterprise-wide capital prioritization based on critical need.
Second comes a technology implementation where the organization
(ideally) deploys a secure, vendor-neutral and scalable visualization,
monitoring and control, software-based platform. Third, corporate
management uses that platform to run analytics to surface operational
data that can improve best practice score-carding and enable more
efficient staff deployment across sites. Lastly, organizations
virtualize certain aspects of energy consumption, including enacting
remote facilities management and automating load shaping and genset
What tools does Blue Pillar provide
that can help facility managers meet CFM goals?
The Blue Pillar product suite can help facility managers at multiple
product allows you to connect to local equipment and gather
and control data, acting as an equipment-agnostic Internet of Things
platform. In short, you are able to connect to your existing
equipment to collect and control data. Aurora also can work with
whatever data management software program you choose to use. But if you
choose Blue Pillar, our Avise
™ software offers local facility
energy management software that provides energy efficiency and
Blue Pillar recently launched a platform called Avise
platform allows you to gather a deep level of insight into specific
assets and performance trends across geographically dispersed
The ideal platform will have specific functionality to aggregate
facility energy and operational information, health, state and
readiness, compliance status and reporting, and other facility
operating conditions and performance trends into a single and
centralized dashboard and control interface. By ensuring these
capabilities are offered, organizations can centralize decision-making,
enable system-wide operational oversight and compliance, execute energy
efficiency programs, and support budgeting and asset planning processes.
Mr. Willie joined Blue Pillar in 2013.
Tom brings a highly successful 15-plus year start-up, technology and
smart grid history to Blue Pillar, including a proven executive
management track record. Mr. Willie, a native of Indianapolis, was most
recently CEO of Current Group and had also served as CURRENT’s Chief
Product Officer and its Chief Operating Officer since December 2003. He
also served as the Vice President/Vice Chairman of PRIME Alliance
AISBL, a nonprofit industry trade group focused on the development of a
new open, public and non-proprietary smart metering and smart grid
communications solution. Prior to joining CURRENT, Mr. Willie served as
Vice President and General Manager of Siemens/Efficient Networks. Tom
has also held strategic worldwide marketing management positions at
Texas Instruments and National Semiconductor. Tom Willie obtained his
Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University.
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