Is a FACILITIES OUTSOURCING PARTNERSHIP “worth the squeeze” for your organization?

Every business is different.  And, every business should have a set of core values and a core purpose.  The whole point of your core purpose is to motivate and lead your people.  It’s the glue that holds your company together as it grows, expands and diversifies.

Life sciences companies dedicate their efforts to research, development, and commercialization of products to improve people’s lives. Retail companies work to increase sales by improving the shopper’s experience and developing their brand. Colleges and universities are constantly trying to find new ways to make education more affordable and improving campus life. Tech companies have historically worked to invent the next coolest gadget, while more recently investing in additional warehouse capabilities, cloud computing hubs and bringing their employees back to in-person collaborative work with new and improved facilities (think Apple’s recent investment in Austin and its new campus in North Carolina…apparently among a series of investments planned in the US over the next 5 years).

While these companies pursue their goals, they may find they are struggling with getting the most out of their facilities and occupant services.   Outsourcing facilities services allows organizations to more fully focus on its core business and what it does best.  And likewise, allowing facilities services outsourcers to focus on its core business and what it does best – facilities.

There are several reasons more and more companies are considering outsourcing their facilities services (which can include operations, maintenance, roads and grounds, janitorial, office and mail room, space planning and a host of other occupier services).  Developing strategic partnerships with facilities management experts can result in substantial savings while also leading to better safety performance, efficiency and innovation.

1.Reduction of costs and risks

As any company leader knows, the biggest cost of doing business is often labor, followed by the ongoing cost of operating and maintaining its facilities.  Facilities staff and facilities services don’t have to be one of the largest expenses. Through effective staff management, the implementation of best practices and new technologies, coupled with the ability to leverage purchasing power created by a larger spend, an outsourced facilities services provider can cut costs while improving safety, efficiency and innovation.

2. Access to expertise and a pipeline of talent

The skills gap is complex and widening every year – at an alarming rate.  In many cases, organizations struggle to acquire the talent and subject matter expertise they desperately need to provide efficient facilities services and to maintain their existing infrastructures.  An entire generation of baby boomers who have historically filled the roles of facilities leaders and skilled trades (such as mechanical, electrical, plumbing) are retiring every day.  It is estimated that 10,000 baby boomers leave the workforce every day; and only 2,500 workers enter the workforce every day.  Yikes!

Many organizations are large with multi-faceted facilities and many are experiencing growing deferred maintenance combined with the proliferation of advanced technology, building automation and energy complexity.   It is increasingly important that organizations have access to partners (whether it be employers, educators and/or industry experts) that are focused on building a skills ecosystem that can make an impact on closing the skills gap.

Facilities outsourcing partners, with access to national and non-traditional talent recruiting networks, multi-industry expertise and professional facilities training and development resources, can be ideal partners for recruiting and retaining top facilities talent and to support succession planning for your facilities team.

3. Improving safety, efficiency and innovation

The most important function of the facilities “department” is to ensure that the organization can continue its mission and achieve its goals.  Whether your facilities are properly functioning or not, can have a huge effect on the organization’s ability to achieve its core goals.

The role of the facilities leader is to provide value to the organization by delivering the highest levels of operational excellence; providing a safe and productive environment so that the organization can still “make widgets”.  And, the quality of the facilities processes influences this.

An outsourced facilities services partner has access to a team of subject matter experts who can ensure that all front-line facilities staff are implementing the best and most efficient practices; are trained in the latest safety procedures; and have access to best industry practices to improve reliability.  Access to executive-level facilities leaders can offer specialized facilities market knowledge that is not available within most traditional organizations. An outsourced facilities services provider has the expertise to stay abreast of best practices and can implement them with a practiced hand.

The facilities management field is changing at an increasingly rapid pace and it can be difficult to stay up to date with the latest innovations. An outsourced facilities services partner can introduce you to the latest innovations and technology trends; from the continued growth of IoT and smart devices to drone technology and augmented reality to robotic cleaners.

Outsourcing is clearly one strategy that can help your organization not only achieve its core goals, but to achieve operational excellence.  The only trick is that you have to use it properly. Like many business strategies, outsourcing facilities services requires a degree of organization, management and consistency; but the juice might be worth the squeeze!

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