11 Jan 2023

Is Total Facilities Management the only solution?


Total Facilities Management (TFM) has long been the choice for businesses looking for a comprehensive service that reduces management complexity and may even shrink costs. 

But there are viable alternatives that, in the current economic climate, could be a better fit for many organisations. 


What is Total Facilities Management? 

Both traditional FM and TFM have the same goals: keeping buildings, grounds, infrastructure and property assets working safely and sustainably. FM providers typically specialise in one area such as cleaning or security. 

The main disadvantage of this, from a customer perspective, is that it’s time-consuming to manage and gather data from multiple separate providers.

By contrast, in the TFM model, all FM activity is consolidated and outsourced to one supplier.  



What are the alternatives to TFM? 

The pandemic, hybrid working and other cost pressures have driven some businesses to break down their FM provision to better control costs and service. 

‘Bundled Facilities Management’, also known as ‘Bundled Outsourcing’ or ‘Bundled Services’, means outsourcing multiple FM provisions to a single company. 

For example, you might outsource your soft FM services - catering, cleaning and security – to one company. 

Bundled FM is similar to TFM, but on a smaller scale, and structured around specific, manageable categories of service. 

This can be attractive to businesses looking to reduce costs, for example by ‘cross-training’ employees who can work in multiple roles – a cleaner in a security role, or a catering assistant  who cleans as well.  


Is Total Facilities Management just going out of style? 


Many businesses seem to periodically move between TFM contracts, bundled services and single provisions, so is this a case of fashion, or does something more fundamental need to be addressed? 

Lucy Jeynes, Managing Director at Larch Consulting, said that: “I don’t think we’ve ever actually seen these things move cyclically.  

“It’s often shown as a progression from the homely, from do-it-all-yourself FM through to the most sophisticated model. But it isn’t really a linear progression; we see clients move up and down that model all the time. 

“…it’s not a one-way journey: we have seen a lot of people bringing service elements back in-house as well.” 

So without any clear trends, what can businesses do to better understand how to achieve success with their FM suppliers? 


Is your FM partnership working?


One answer might be to foster deeper relationships with your FM providers, whether you’re using a TFM, bundled or single provision contract. 

Jeremy Campbell, Director of Marking and Business Development for EMCOR, argued that success has to start before the tender, with inquisitive consultation and discussions: 


“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.” 


Whatever your approach, it’s crucial to cast aside assumptions, starting the process with an open mind and a willingness to explore the options in-depth. 

This attitude will set your business up for a successful partnership based on trust, clear data and aligned objectives. 


Time isn’t up for TFM 

The FM market is complex, with little evidence to suggest sweeping trends are at play, but with many companies changing their contracts and approach, it’s clear that they are looking for more successful partnerships. 





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