With the intense competition, high cost of operations and still struggling economies, businesses are seeking ways to become leaner, more agile and increase operational efficiencies.
Concentrating efforts on cutting costs makes sound business sense, and that is where the importance of outsourcing facilities management (FM) comes in.
A properly executed FM contract can become a core component of business sustainability alongside traditional components of revenue generation. Through diligent planning and approach, companies in the Middle East can build outsourcing relationships that can yield measureable benefits that can continue for many years.
The benefits of FM outsourcing are enhanced by long-term relationships. Organisations derive benefits from a stable supplier work force, supplier competence, lower procurement costs and supplier commitment. For relationships to continue to produce benefits in the long-term, the supplier needs to be versatile and be able adjust service levels and scope to support clients in dynamic business environments.
Much more than a cleaning service
Contrary to general opinion, FM is much more than a cleaning service. With a good service provider in place, it can form a strong base for a larger organisational energy efficiency and sustainability strategy.
For this reason, FM contracts should always have an energy-efficiency and operating cost reduction clause. As more businesses prioritise the search for new energy saving solutions, innovative financing is often required to make the vision a reality.
A contract with an Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) clause puts energy efficiency within the reach of organisations of any size. Such a contract guarantees that improvements to a building will deliver a certain amount of water and energy savings over a fixed period of time. The costs of facility and infrastructure retrofits or renewal projects can be offset by the energy and operational savings that are achieved as a result, helping organisations from schools to governments to hospitals, airports and malls maintain cashflow and focus on their core business.
Irrespective of the size and nature of their real estate portfolio, organisations should always choose a FM partner with due diligence. The best option is always to select partners with a global reach but local presence. The benefits of selecting such partners are manifold.
In addition to risk mitigation and due consideration for employee and client safety, the partner organisation will be able to enhance client image and reputation, deliver quality, optimize asset utilization and maintain critical business systems with reliability.
The FM partner should be able to offer a range of services including strategic planning, acquisition and development, design and construction, operation and optimization and retrofitting.
Local presence is necessary for both accountability and customisation. The proverbial one size fits all is not true for facilities management. In fact each organisation is unique in its needs that are determined by the nature of business, geographical location, organisational culture, mode of operation — whether the organisation is a publicly or family-owned business, among others. More often than not, the FM partner should have the ability, the flexibility and the willingness to customize its services for each client.
A well-executed FM contract enables clients to transform their buildings into productivity hubs making them more sustainable, healthier and efficient. The buildings then serve a bigger purpose — that of helping people achieve and businesses create.
They protect assets and foster productivity. In the absence of effective facilities management, asset life is reduced, there is increased equipment downtime, systems fail and people under deliver, putting business at risk. When buildings work better, people work better and businesses perform better.
At the end of the day, a FM partner should be able to speak the client’s language, understand local regulations and needs and be willing to go the extra mile. They need to work with integrity and passion to provide an excellent brand experience for customers and a place where people can reach their full potential.
The end result is to have an efficient, reliable, safe and productive environment where people achieve more and businesses prosper.
— The writer is regional executive and general manager for MENA operations at Johnson Controls Global WorkPlace Solutions.