Signing up a new facilities management provider can be hugely exciting. Done right, outsourced FM can drive immediate cost savings, process efficiencies and free up internal resource to concentrate on strategic decisions. It can grant your business access to a far greater spread of skills and experience than you might otherwise be able to sustain in-house, and consequently mean that difficult projects are undertaken far more easily.
Nevertheless, choosing a facilities management provider can be a fraught business. There is a huge amount of choice out there, and many providers seem to offer similar things. Which factors should affect your final decision? Here are our top tips.
Align outsourced FM with your business goals
Facilities management might be a support function rather your core business production, but it is still an essential part of the day-to-day running of your business. To be most effective, it needs to work towards your overall business objectives and strategy, not just alongside them. As such, you should select a facilities management provider with a serious focus on understanding your business, and particularly where your business wants to be in the years to come.
Collect baseline data before you begin
Measuring the success of any FM contract depends on knowing accurately where you were before deploying the contract. Before you even get to that stage, measuring the scope of any FM quote depends on knowing accurately how much resource you are currently allocating to the different tasks they are taking on. Time spend gathering quality baseline data now will be invaluable throughout both the procurement process and the contract itself.
Look for total FM capabilities when selecting a facilities management provider
Total or integrated facilities management – the outsourcing of every aspect of facilities management to a single provider – might not necessarily be what you need today. However, many organisations choose to outsource additional FM disciplines as they grow and evolve. This is made much easier if your existing provider (assuming you are happy with them) can pick up the additional disciplines, rather than you ending up with multiple different suppliers and a complex internal management task.
Understand your KPIs
All good FM providers should set very clear parameters for performance, and check that you understand them. Remember that outsourced FM is meant to decrease your internal management burden, not add to it. As such, the onus should be on the provider to report on their performance in the best way for you. If you don’t understand the metrics being proposed, or want a different reporting framework in place, ask for it. The provider should work around you and should be happy for their success to be measured along the way.
Be committed – and expect commitment
Typical outsourced FM contracts are for three to five years, with many lasting longer than that. To really reap the benefits of an outsourced solution, you need to be thinking long-term – and your proposed provider should be too. Do ask questions around their succession planning and their track record of long-term contracts, as this is one of the best ways of understanding their commitment to growing with you. Once you are working with an outsourced provider, look for ways to foster a culture of partnership and joint striving towards the success of your business.
Trust above all else
However, don’t lose sight of the fact that signing up an outsourced FM provider is supposed to result in less work for you internally, not more. You need to feel that you can totally rely on your provider to understand your culture, work towards your goals, and complete work to the same standards you would achieve yourself – but you need to feel that this will happen even with a very light touch from your management team. To enable this shift, you need to establish the roles and responsibilities of both your FM provider and your internal managers from the start – and then step back and let go.