Why organisations should out-source FM
March 19, 2013 | 3:47 pm| | | Start Conversation
In an ever changing economy, organisations look for ways to be dynamic in their approach to achieving business goals, creating the need for a well maintained working environment that can adapt to such changes. This desire has put the Facilities Management (FM) industry into the spotlight, with public and private sectors making the standard of their infrastructure a top priority.
However, there’s been debate on whether firms should outsource FM services or keep it in-house. It’s important for businesses to explore their options and get all the facts when thinking of outsourcing.
Achieving its business objectives is the first point an organisation should consider. At first glance, in-house facilities management seems to have financial benefits as many companies are often under the impression this would cut out the middleman and save costs. Although perceived as a good idea, managing FM internally can end up distracting the core activity of a business, especially during difficult times.
The process involved in implementing and delivering a successful FM strategy should not be underestimated as it requires time, management and FM experience which many business owners often do not have.
It is difficult to be adaptable and responsive in such a situation. An FM company can provide a level of flexibility that an in-house team would struggle to replicate. For example, an outsourced provider has the capacity to turn around an emergency quickly, taking last minute jobs in its strides.
Another consideration is making good investment that saves time and money while still maintaining quality. Usually with in-house FM, organisations can fall into the trap of paying a team of employees’ good salary for substandard work. If time comes to make cuts within a business, getting rid of underperforming in-house staff may be tricky whilst an underperforming FM provider can easily be given notice and the contract terminated based on breach of the Service Level Agreement (SLA).
In my experience, most in-house facilities managers rarely take time to check the quality of service because their knowledge of the industry is limited, and are saddled with demanding job roles and other priorities making it hard to make decisions on a project but a competent outsourced FM provider has the expertise to keep abreast of industry trends from new techniques to the latest chemicals and equipment including best practice therefore allowing methods to be implemented to suit clients.
Another consideration is the effective staff training which is important for maintaining quality and is often an indirect benefit when outsourcing. FM companies are invariably better equipped to train staff than businesses whose core activity sits outside of the FM industry. An external contractor can support businesses by offering quality FM training that staff often need but their managers fail to deliver.
Accountability is a major consideration that is usually overlooked when outsourcing FM. Good FM organisations rely heavily on their reputation so threats to that reputation is dealt with urgently. If a reputable FM provider receives a call to correct something or change a work schedule, action is immediately taken. On the flip side, in-house facilities manager will often take longer to respond due to other commitments and possible bureaucracy. When outsourcing, an uncooperative contractor would not be tolerated. In essence, FM companies, like other businesses, want to retain mutually beneficial custom and recognise the key to this is providing quality service.
It is clear that there are many benefits to outsourcing FM services, from quality and expertise to cost saving and flexibility.
Obileye is a UK-trained lawyer and CEO, Great Heights Property and Facilities Management Limited Email: Tundeobileye@greatheightslimited.com
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