2012: End of the World or Year of the Dragon?

Dec. 29, 2011
Industry outlooks for 2012 vary.  Which future will align with your facilities?

It’s the busiest season of the year for forecasters, but as usual, their views vary decidedly.

The Mayans believed that 2012 would be the end of the world — specifically, on Dec. 21, 2012. A cosmic cataclysm will engulf the earth and few — or none — survive.

A view from the other side of the globe is the Chinese calendar, which calls 2012 the year of the dragon, and not just any dragon but the water dragon. The colorful dragon is a symbol of energy, creativity, and fearlessness, but its irrepressible nature can lead to overreaching and calamity. However, the water dragon foretold for 2012 is said to have some of its more impetuous fire quenched, making it better prepared to make smart, patient and profitable decisions. As a result, 2012 should be a very good year.

You may be thinking that the likely outcomes for your organization in 2012 are not as stark as those of the aforementioned forecasts. But what exactly are your organization’s expectations for 2012, and how do they compare to those of the industry generally? You’ll find answers to the latter in BUILDINGS’ second annual survey of budget plans (click here to view).

Respondents anticipate more stable budget resources for the coming year. Fewer report further cuts to their budgets, but on the other hand, the percentage of those reporting increases has not grown since a year ago. The majority of respondents are in the middle, reporting budgets that are staying the same for the coming year. Nevertheless, those budgets still show the impact of a difficult economy.

“Staying the same” doesn’t necessarily mean standing still, and many FMs are determined to do more with less, including those who are planning sustainability, training, and energy investments that pay off down the road. Others sharpen their budget pencils by ensuring that requirements and risks of underinvestment are well managed. As John D’Angelo of the Cleveland Clinic points out (page 32), managing this element is the key to transforming FM from an expense center into a business unit. Those who take the initiative rather than waiting for a big economic rebound will surely be the dragons of the coming year.

Best wishes to you and your organization in 2012.

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