In episode 106 of Asset Champion, host Mike Petrusky talks with Michael J. Zucchero, Head of Technical Services for North America, ISS Facility Services, PE, CEng, CFM, MIET, LEED GA, about his many years of experience in the industry and the current challenges facing facility management professionals. Zucchero shares how technology tools can help leaders bridge gaps in talent availability today while also controlling costs. 

Agenda 

  • Challenges and trends in the facility and asset management industries 
  • State of talent availability in those industries, especially in skilled trades 
  • Role of technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI) 
  • Importance of and need for strong leadership 

What you need to know: Facility and maintenance takeaways 

Takeaway 1: The talent gap in skilled trades is critical  

As the industry ages, there is a noticeable loss of talent availability. The result is a three-way competition between service providers, owner-occupiers, and the construction industry for skilled trades. 

“The current generation is not as willing to choose that route. So, what it’s caused is this contraction of talent availability. [But] the demand is still there. In fact, the demand is growing,” explains Zuccoro. 

The solution: Offering a clear career path. “If we can lay that out for them, and show them how we’re going to bring them in and train them and develop them and motivate them … and they know what it’s going to be like 5 to 10, 15 to 20 years from now… I think that’s a good way to attract talent,” he explains. 

Takeaway 2: Technology can help optimize asset management 

With the increasing demand for cost reduction, technology has become a key player in optimizing asset management. Advances in AI and machine learning can help facility professionals predict and prevent potential issues, while technology platforms can assist in maintaining asset registries and work order management systems. 

However, Zuccoro encourages caution, pointing out: “The way AI is advancing, it’s really just pretty phenomenal. You hear it daily or weekly, at least on the news. And I think we’ve got to be careful with how quickly that advances.” 

Takeaway 3: It’s important to maintain connections in the profession and for leaders to set an example 

Social media and professional associations can provide helpful connections that support success. 

“Stay connected to others in the profession … Information is power,” Zuccoro says. 

He also encouraged leaders to lead from the front and always try to set a good example for those that report to them. The right kind of leadership creates loyalty. “Set the example for those in your charge, and they will do anything for you. That would be my key [takeaway] for the day.” 

Asset management insights  

  • Because younger generations are less interested in entering the trades, talent availability is becoming an issue. 
  • Technology, particularly AI and automation, can be one part of the solution as they help optimize asset management and keep costs down. 
  • Staying connected with others in the profession and using professional associations are important sources of valuable information and insights. 
  • Good leadership, particularly leading from the front and setting an example, is crucial for the industry to develop and grow. 

Listen to the full podcast here

Go deeper. Dive into more episodes of Eptura’s Asset Champion podcasts.