Anyone who manages Facilities Management and has run a business understands how taking the entrepreneurial path leads to you becoming a jack-of-all-trades, whether you like it or not. At one point or another, whatever your particular skills and background, you are bound to get your hands dirty mucking in with accounts and finance, marketing, supply chain management, even overseeing the upkeep of your premises.
Stockport based Fairhurst Estates explains more
All of these areas, facilities management included, can involve a steep learning curve. And while you are trying to get to grips with Health and Safety Regulations, maintenance protocols, waste disposal, cleaning routines and more, your attention is being diverted away from other things, such as running a profitable and successful enterprise. Even if you delegate responsibilities for facilities management internally, you are asking people to take on tasks outside of their main areas of expertise.
Increasingly, facilities management is being rightly viewed as a specialised area in its own right, which is leading to a surge of interest in outsourcing to external service providers.
Jason Burke, Head of Facilities at Fairhurst Estates, explains four key reasons why outsourcing makes sense.
“This is by far the most important reason for outsourcing your facilities management,” said Jason. “Facilities Management providers have the experience and knowledge to effectively manage your statutory obligations and will be up-to date with current and changing legislation. They will carry out a range of duties to ensure due diligence and to help support a strong Health & Safety culture in the workplace.”
Health and safety compliance in facilities management is not just a case of carrying out your duties, it is also a matter of keeping appropriate records. Professional service providers will take charge of obtaining and verifying relevant paperwork such as risk assessments, method statements, permits to work and service certification on your behalf. They will also vet contractors to ensure they have the correct insurance, training and accreditation to carry out work on your premises.
“These are all important steps that will decrease risk for work activities,” said Jason. “Quite often some of these duties are overlooked due to lack of knowledge or a resource issue.”.
Jason says the most common reason companies are persuaded to outsource their facilities management is that they realise the potential cost savings.
“Service contracts usually work out cheaper than hiring directly, and you have access to multiple resources – more people, more expertise.”
“Additionally, most providers operate Computer Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) systems that can be tailored to suit your exact requirements. Any costs for updates and advances in technology to the CAFM system is absorbed by the facilities provider but it means that any internal systems you may use can be stripped out completely, getting rid of both a capital and operating cost from your business.
“Lastly, one of the cost savings that is often overlooked is that facilities providers will be able to agree better rates with contractors due to their buying power. The biggest contractors will work on thousands of properties, meaning cheaper rates can be negotiated directly with the provider. These cost savings are then passed onto clients. Everything is transparent.”
Responsiveness, quality and management of works
Jason suggests that another reason businesses become unhappy with how their facilities are managed is slow response times, delays in the completion of works and patchy quality of service. These problems are usually caused by mis-management because of resource issues, system issues or time constraints. A typical problem is that a work ticket is created and then forgotten about until chased again by the caller because there aren’t tools in place for the effective management of instructed work.
Specialist service providers offer an obvious contrast to this state of affairs.
“Facilities Management providers are on-call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and will work to an agreed service level agreement with set turnaround times. This ensures quicker fixes and can make all the difference when things go wrong. The facilities management provider will create reports detailing performance of each activity showing first fix and on-time rates versus jobs completed late.
“Part of the service is to ensure effective communication throughout and in most cases providers should be able to provide access to the live CAFM system to as many people as required. They should use experienced and vetted contractors which ensures work is completed to satisfaction. If you are getting complaints about the quality of work, this is a sign that you may want to make a change.”
Time and resource savings
This follows on from cost savings but is an equally important consideration for improving efficiency and quality in how you handle facilities management.
“Your facilities provider will be able to progress matters more efficiently than an internal team due to experience and knowledge of best practices,” said Jason. “They are better placed to prioritise work and allocate resources effectively, avoiding delays caused by trying to deal with jobs as and when they come in, or focusing too much time and effort on smaller tasks which drag resources away from higher priorities.
“A specialist facilities management provider will implement strategies for compliance management, planned preventative maintenance and more which will avoid lapsing into an ad hoc approach which ultimately wastes time and resources.
“By outsourcing your facilities management, you also free up internal resources to focus on their core business activities which will result in better productivity all round for your business.”
Outsourcing your Facilities Management
Fairhurst Estates has a dedicated team for Facilities Management, ready to take the stress and strain off you today.