Total Facilities Management (TFM): a comprehensive, all-in-one facilities contract, has long been seen as the best choice for most businesses looking to outsource their whole FM provision.
Whether it’s managing a single building or a large organisation with multiple sites, TFM is designed to reduce the customer’s management burden by giving them a single point of contact for their maintenance, cleaning, security and other services.
But is this really a one-size-fits-all solution?
What are the benefits of Total Facilities Management?
For any business that needs FM services, managing individual contracts is a huge management burden.
Most FM providers are specialists, so you might have a separate company for security, cleaning and catering, or hard FM services like building fabric and maintenance.
These contracts all require monitoring, reporting and feedback. TFM has remained such an attractive approach because it reduces this management burden and, hopefully, means you get a more consistent service overall.
Are there disadvantages to TFM?
On paper, it’s hard to dispute TFM as anything but the best solution for most businesses, but there are a few disadvantages which have driven many companies to break their FM contracts down into ‘bundled services’ or even individual provisions:
- TFM procurement is a large, complex process that can take years to complete, and isn’t easy to back out of.
- Making these contracts a success requires a lot of resource to foster effective partnerships.
- Complacency on both sides of the partnership can become a serious problem – the provider might only be aiming to pass the low bar of 'not being bad enough to force you back into procurement.'
- The provider may have taken on many smaller companies without true integration in terms of data, organisation and working practice.
- You might see big differences in quality between different arms of the provider and even regionally.
- The cost of the contract is typically far higher than if you found individual specialist companies.
In a recent webinar hosted by us, Liam Porter, Head of FM and Project Delivery for Virgin Media O2, said:
“Just because you are a FTSE 100 company it doesn’t mean you have to go for TFM. Look at the size and complexity of your estate. Outside advice and expertise is critical for this process.”
A successful FM provision depends on so many factors that there is no silver bullet solution.
For some companies, TFM will be the best fit, but there are other options such as ‘bundled services’ that work like much smaller TFM contracts for specific areas such as cleaning and security or maintenance and building fabric.
It’s the partnership
Consultation from the very beginning, particularly with an outside party with expertise, will ensure you start your procurement process on the right footing.
FM contracts live and die on the strength of the partnership between client and provider. Transparency, accountability, useful data and a willingness to work together towards aligned goals will ensure you get the most value for money and the best service possible.