Running a property portfolio is complex, especially when each site can vary in age, specification and location. There’s a myriad of factors that go into creating a holistic FM strategy and all too easily, delivering this strategy can become overly-time consuming and challenging to get ahead of.
The ability to outsource FM services is nothing new, however, the drivers that make it a strategically savvy decision have. To begin with, outsourcing is no longer seen as getting someone else to do the dirty work. It’s about bringing on board a strategic delivery partner with the expertise, capability and knowledge to drive cost-savings and efficiencies alongside improved service delivery.
Added to this is the leap in innovation that has transformed FM, taking it from a handyman-type role with a bucket and screwdriver through to a sophisticated business enabler utilising advanced data, proactive measures and whole-lifetime building planning approaches.
The benefits of outsourcing are significant, from enhanced flexibility and reduced risk through to increased compliance and access to a skilled and mobile workforce on-demand. It can be challenging to position FM as a strategic contributor to success but the clever use of data alongside a well-articulated strategy of what future success could look like is difficult to argue with.
Stakeholder opinion counts
It’s important to present a thoughtful and well-evidenced business case to support the bid for outsourcing to ensure that all stakeholders are aligned in the decision. There will be many benefits that will be of importance to the business, such as freeing up time to focus on new developments or benefiting from a better geographical spread of skilled manpower. There’s also the art of the possible such as how a new partner may be able to bring better reporting capability or expertise in a specific building type.
Future cost savings may come at an up-front price
It’s important to analyse and understand the full financial impact of fully-integrated FM outsourcing versus in-house arrangements and to have explored where there may be immediate cost implications to gain longer-term efficiencies. It’s not always as simple as assuming that an outsourced provider can do exactly the same as is being done currently but at a lower cost as it could be that the specification for outsourced work may be slightly different or investment may be required in buildings or technology to maximise the future potential of an outsourced partnership. Getting this right, however, including learning curve costs and some risk/incentive pricing guidelines, may show that initially, the true provider costs are equal to or greater than performing the services in-house. It is likely, however, that in the longer-term outsourcing FM will save an organisation money.
Step by Step Guide to Switching Facilities Providers
Keep in mind what matters to the users of your property portfolio
From a flickering light in the lift to a dodgy toilet that just won’t flush, building tenants have little tolerance for the basics that just aren’t right, especially if future major works are planned. There are also increased expectations of what a building will offer, such as high-speed wi-fi, energy-saving fittings and increased security. A strategic partner will understand the importance of your occupant experience and be able to advise you on the right approach to develop your portfolio in an efficient manner whilst still delivering on appeal.
Know how success will be measured
With the increase in smart technology and reporting capability, facilities managers are becoming increasingly knowledgeable about the optimum performance of their buildings and therefore how to link service expectations around quality with reward to an outsourced partner based on performance. Targets can vary across operational, financial and satisfaction categories but increasingly a balanced scorecard model is being adopted as an indicator of performance. These provide a continuous link between controlling costs whilst delivering successful facilities management services.
Strategic outsourcing is not a compromise. It’s a business decision to bring in the strongest possible business support in the same way legal or HR expertise is utilised. And as with any service that is being procured, it’s fair to expect that the highest quality of service delivery will be achieved alongside controlled or reduced operating cost without one being at the expense of the other. Therein lies the beauty of outsourcing facilities management.
In 2014 an FM Buyer Behaviour Survey of Facilities Managers reported that 40% of customers were dissatisfied with their current Facilities providers and looking for new ones. However, 70% were put off approaching new suppliers because of the lack of information about the sales process. These trends continue in 2020.
Speak to the Property Experts...
FAQ about Strategies to Make Outsourcing Your FM Simpler
Q: What is outsourcing FM and why do companies do it?
A: Outsourcing Facilities Management (FM) refers to the process of hiring an external service provider to manage and maintain a company’s facilities, such as buildings, equipment, and utilities. Companies outsource FM to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and enhance their focus on core business activities.
Q: What are some strategies for making outsourcing FM simpler?
A: Some strategies for making outsourcing FM simpler include:
- Clearly defining the scope of work and desired outcomes in the contract
- Establishing effective communication channels with the service provider
- Conducting regular performance evaluations and audits
- Providing clear expectations and guidelines for service delivery
- Ensuring that the service provider has the necessary skills and experience to deliver the required services
- Providing adequate training and support to the service provider
- Establishing a contingency plan in case of unexpected issues or challenges.
Q: What should be included in the contract when outsourcing FM?
A: The contract should clearly define the scope of work, expected outcomes, performance standards, payment terms, and duration of the agreement. It should also include provisions for dispute resolution, termination, and confidentiality.
Q: How can effective communication be established with the service provider?
A: Effective communication can be established by setting clear expectations for communication frequency and channels, assigning a point of contact on both sides and ensuring that both parties are available and responsive during scheduled communication times.
Q: How often should performance evaluations be conducted?
A: Performance evaluations should be conducted regularly, typically quarterly or semi-annually. They should assess the service provider’s adherence to performance standards, quality of work, responsiveness, and overall satisfaction of the client.
Q: How can training and support be provided to the service provider?
A: Training and support can be provided through onboarding and orientation sessions, ongoing training programs, and access to resources such as manuals, guidelines, and tools. The client should also provide regular feedback and coaching to help the service provider improve their performance.
Q: What should be included in the contingency plan?
A: The contingency plan should include procedures for addressing unexpected issues or challenges, such as equipment failure, natural disasters, or labour disruptions. It should outline the roles and responsibilities of both parties, communication protocols, and steps to ensure continuity of service delivery.