In our final blog on Total Facilities Management, we’re going to share our 4 best tips for businesses looking for a new Facilities Management partner.
We’ve already discussed the changing FM market, and what the best type of provision for your business might be, but how do you find the right partnership?
Is partnership really that important?
It’s natural to focus primarily on the cost and delivery that a given contract offers, but the most efficient and efficacious FM contracts are built on effective partnerships.
In our recent webinar (which you can watch here), Jeremy Campbell, Director of Marketing and Business Development for EMCOR, provided his perspective as an FM provider:
“We recognise mature opportunities when we engage in deep dialogue - collaborative in nature - that is open and transparent, with the ultimate objective of finding those win-win positions between ourselves as a provider, and our clients and customers.”
Here are our 4 top tips on how to find the best FM provider for your business:
1. Determine your needs, but start with a blank sheet
The first step to take is to determine your needs. However, don’t get caught in the trap of doing what was done before.
Considering your business goals and needs from a fresh perspective is crucial, as Lucy Jeynes explained in our recent webinar on TFM, there are some unhelpful mindsets that you need to avoid:
“There are things that, at the start, are the wrong approach: We did this before and we didn’t like it, so we don’t want to do that again; We had a big supplier [A TFM contract] and we didn’t like it, so now we want to unbundle; we want to go back out to tender and we already know what we want… we’re going to do everything the same but expect a different outcome.”
With that in mind, start an open internal dialogue about the strengths and weaknesses of any previous contract, what the business is going to need in the long term and whether a novel approach is required.
Finally, you should seek some advice from an outside perspective, whether through conversations with FM companies or a consultant.
2. Talk to some providers
Don’t send that tender out yet!
Once you understand your needs and objectives, you can engage FM companies that have a good track record and expertise to get a clearer picture of what’s possible.
As Jeremy Campbell, Director of Marketing and Business Development at EMCOR (An FM company), explained:
“With some clients and customers, we engage with them before they go into competitive tender. They are probably doing that with a number of different facilities providers and consultants to understand the market drivers, to understand what’s out there, and to understand what’s on offer.”
Of course, normal web research has its place: reviews, case studies and comparisons, but early dialogue can be far more informative and crucially, it will give an early indicator of those providers you would work best with.
3. Evaluate their capabilities
Make sure that the facilities management provider you choose has the necessary resources and expertise to handle your needs.
This might seem like an obvious point, but the poor-performance-devil is in the details: Try to understand the strengths of the individual arms or companies the provider manages, and what they can deliver for you in the long term.
Look for providers with a strong team of professionals and the latest equipment and technology – this shows a willingness to provide expertise and embrace innovation.
Consider their approach to safety and environmental sustainability, as well as their communication and collaboration skills.
4. Consider the long-term
It might be tempting to choose a provider purely on the price, promised output or the range of services on offer, but there are longer-term considerations to take into account.
If your working partnership with your provider is poor, you are unlikely to see good value for money, regardless of the upfront price tag.
Look for providers that have the same long-term goals as you, whether it’s a focus on sustainability, community work or digital transformation.
Ideally, you want an open, transparent and constructive partnership that benefits both parties. This is the secret to a great FM contract.
There will always be problems, but if you work with your FM provider, rather than against them, you have a much better chance of tackling them.
The Perfect Partnership?
Finding the ‘perfect’ facilities management provider takes time and careful consideration. By following these steps and doing your research, you can find a provider that will help your business run smoothly and efficiently.