5 ways of improving facilities management performance
Outsourcing facilities management is proven to deliver real benefits to organisations in terms of reducing costs and allowing them to focus on their core business. However it is an extremely competitive and fast-changing market, meaning that facilities management companies need to be continually improving their performance in order to win and retain contracts. Quality of service is crucial – 71% of companies terminating outsourced contracts cite poor service as the main reason for changing supplier, according to research from Deloitte.
So how can facilities management companies ensure they remain competitive and build strong relationships with their customers moving forward? Here are five areas to focus on:
A recent report by the National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee called for greater transparency of supplier performance in order that the public sector receives the best, most effective service when it comes to outsourced facilities management. This trend is equally prevalent in the private sector, as organisations want to know more about how suppliers are performing against service level agreements and the standards that have been set.
In order to provide this transparency, facilities managers need to change how they monitor and report on activities. Many still rely on paper-based checklists and spreadsheets to log performance, meaning they cannot provide a real-time view of what staff on the ground are doing, and that regular reports are time-consuming to create and supply, as data needs to be rekeyed manually.
Digital work management technology, involving interactive checklists accessed on handheld units, helps deliver greater transparency. By uploading this data to the cloud in real-time, facilities managers have an instant view of operations, and can supply reports and updates quickly and efficiently to clients as required.
A facilities management contract often involves a large number of staff, spread across multiple locations. Ensuring that they are all aware of what they should be doing, and when, can be difficult, particularly as managers are often based off-site. Sometimes the first that a company knows about a problem is when the customer rings to complain.
Switching to digital work management technology provides greater control for facilities managers – they can see exactly what tasks staff have carried out as all reporting data is automatically uploaded to the cloud. They can view who did what, and when, and any issues are flagged in real-time, enabling them to be swiftly fixed. This greater control also provides the opportunity to be proactive – managers can analyse data and spot opportunities for improvements, allowing them to suggest them to clients and potentially add value and open up new revenues.
The bottom line reason for outsourcing facilities management is normally to reduce costs. Therefore suppliers need to ensure that they are operating as efficiently as possible and delivering value for money to the customer. At a time of rising costs, such as the new National Living Wage, companies should therefore look at improving productivity, without impacting service. Using automated wireless sensors is one way to reduce costs – monitoring data is supplied instantly to managers, without staff having to spend time checking it manually.
4. Embrace technology
The rise of digital technology has the power to transform facilities management. Smart buildings can increasingly monitor themselves, Internet of Things-equipped devices can send proactive messages when they require servicing or have a fault, while cloud-based monitoring improves control over operations. All of these technologies are here now and can deliver enormous improvements in service and productivity. As digitisation increases, even more new opportunities are likely to be unlocked, so facilities management companies need to embrace technology and to improve operations and change how they work.
5. Partnership approach
To build long-term relationships with their clients, facilities management companies need to be seen as knowledgeable partners, delivering value rather than just meeting the minimum standards set out in the contract. This involves working closely together, sharing information about performance, highlighting issues before they develop and continually improving operations to meet customer needs. Achieving this is much easier when managers are armed with comprehensive information and can see exactly what is happening in real-time. Data collected from digital work management systems and automated monitoring is easily accessed and viewed through cloud-based dashboards, enabling managers to be more proactive and work together with the client to meet their needs.
Facilities management is continually changing and becoming increasingly competitive – the companies that thrive will be those that focus on the five areas above, now and in the future.
Find out how Checkit can solve these issues; reducing your costs and improving efficiency and quality of service – providing you with a key competitive advantage.