Facility Management Outsourcing companies have expanded into huge organizations, managing large portfolios of facilities for small and large corporations with local and even international portfolios. There is a reason they are successful in getting the attention and the business from large sophisticated corporations who entrust them to manage their Facility assets.
While their success is based on some very specific advantages that are hard to reproduce in smaller Facilities departments, if you aren't thinking of outsourcing, there are a number of practices you can introduce into your Facilities department to improve your service delivery, improve efficiency and reduce costs.
Almost always part of outsourcing contracts focuses the outsourced provider's priorities and resources on the things that matter to you. An effective performance framework can also be applied to in-house delivery or subcontracted services.
First, establish your organization's primary objectives (the ones your Facility department supports) and design performance measurements (Key Performance Indicators) to support those objectives. Translate these to the activities and services you deliver and establish measures, targets, reports and review processes. Use the results to spot trends or missed performance and implement changes to address problems with staff or subcontractors. Build these measures into your next round of procurement.
While some Facilities outsourcing companies are ISO certified, you don't need certification to apply the principles of quality assurance to your internal services or subcontractors. Start by learning the basis of QA, which includes documenting processes and procedures, identifying inputs and outputs, key process elements, tracking and reporting, adherence to procedures and auditing. Apply these principles to your staff and subcontractors for improved results.
Quality Assurance itself doesn't ensure you are doing the right things, but once you establish best practices, it ensures they are followed. The best QA implementations enable innovation by your staff and promote continuous improvement of your processes.
Customer Service and Satisfaction
A benefit to outsourcing to a Facilities Management company can be a new and stronger supplier/customer relationship to replace internal culture not usually focused on customer satisfaction. The satisfaction of internal business units and occupants is important to ensure they are efficiently and effectively contributing to your company's core business.
To change internal culture, implement change management with your staff. Educate them on the importance and reasons for customer satisfaction, train them in techniques, provide them with tools and processes to deal with customer issues and measure customer satisfaction results with the purpose of introducing improvements. Maintain this focus as a constant initiative, otherwise it will fade away.
Policies and Procedures
Outsourcing companies use policies and procedures to reduce management and administrative costs while focusing on higher value initiatives. This isn't simply documenting what you do, it's assessing all aspects of the service delivery and developing procedures, tools and even systems that support efficiency, consistency and quality.
Since outsourcing companies operate large portfolios, this is critical to their success. To achieve these benefits, look closely at what you do and make changes, implement processes, add tools and train your staff.
Facility Software Systems
Outsourcing firms have an economy of scale you can't match for CMMS, CAFM, IWMS systems, but you can prioritize and address key systems for more effective management of your services and assets. One solution for smaller organizations is web based applications, reducing IT support and hardware costs.
Implement a single solution or individual modules for work order tracking, space management, lease administration, preventive maintenance, capital planning, etc. Research implementation and ongoing maintenance cost of these systems and then establish priorities to keep costs down.
Centralized Services / Specialized Expertise
Outsourcing companies have the volume for centralized services and expertise. They hire subject matter experts who provide assistance and guidance to field staff who can then focus on their direct service delivery requirements. This includes energy, environment, project delivery, systems, call centers, quality assurance, compliance and health and safety, for instance. Your corporation may have expertise in some areas, but they are usually focused on the core business, not FM related issues and requirements.
Apply the principles creatively. For small organizations, identify existing individuals with the right background or aptitude and train them in the specialty. Keep them current and back fill a portion of their existing responsibilities. Tap into existing specialty consultants or companies with standing offers and retainers or join forces with colleagues at other organizations to share specialized expertise.
Saving money and improving services through procurement is something almost any organization can do. Strategically procure services in larger volume packages to benefit from economies of scale. Bundle different services together to increase the volume in combinations the market will respond to.
This saves resources needed to procure and manage the contracts while reducing your provider's costs, which are passed on to you. You also get more consistency and improved services when combined with performance management, QA and effective contract management.
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