A process leading to enhanced product delivery, reductions in operational errors and sustained customer satisfaction, strategic facility planning (SFP) involves facility managers developing and implementing a flexible plan that meets or exceeds specific considerations concerning the business.

The International Facility Management Association describes the SFP as having four processes: understanding (the company’s goals and values); analyzing (using SWOT analysis, or scenario planning); acting (taking actions delineated in the SFP and incorporating useful feedback); and planning (establishing plans that adequately address long-term needs and updating them when needed).

SWOT Analysis

An acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, SWOT helps facility managers develop effective strategies by analyzing internal strengths and weaknesses (location, reputation, operational systems) and external opportunities and threats (competitors, suppliers, costs). It can also identify core competencies existing within the businesses, establish objectives and understand what could occur in the future by examining past and current information about the business.

Scenario Planning

According to the IFMA, scenarios are tools that can be instrumental in anticipating changes that could impact your business. Considered as instructive simulations showing possible situations involving operational processes, scenario planning typically addresses potentially negative conditions arising from the neglect of some aspect of a company’s organizational structure. For example, scenario planning for a food facility might concern the consequences of a pest infestation being discovered only a few days prior to a federal inspection of the facility. What should be done? How would such a serious contamination condition be eliminated in time and could it have been prevented?

Food facility managers engaging in strategic facility planning processes can greatly improve and build on achieving effective results of SWOTs and scenario planning by integrating Assured Environments Total Assault initiative into their facility’s operational system, a pest management strategy created to meet four principles underlying SFP: sustainability, effectiveness, regulatory compliance and accountability.