Outsourcing FM Can Be a Mistake

One way of ensuring cost-effectiveness in an establishment is outsourcing facility management. Recruiting the necessary expertise for in-house facility management can leave a huge dent in the budget – hence the growing need to outsource facility management.

According to PR NewsWire, the global facility management services market will hit $809.98 billion by 2024. The figure indicates the increasing significance of facility management companies as more businesses utilize their services.

It’s important to note that, despite its numerous advantages, outsourcing facility management may not always be the optimal choice for every business. So under what circumstances is outsourcing facility maintenance a mistake?

Before explaining when outsourcing may be a step in the wrong direction, let’s briefly summarize the reasons why it’s a good choice.

Why Businesses Outsource Facility Maintenance
At the 2nd International Building Control Conference in Malaysia, faculty members from the Faculty of Architecture, Planning, and Surveying at Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) presented a literature review on Outsourcing in Facility Management.

The paper noted that as businesses grow and competition intensifies, it becomes challenging for an organization to keep track of all its activities – it can become hectic and expensive too.

Here are some of the outlined reasons why businesses outsource facility maintenance:

Cost savings
Access to expertise
Increased efficiency
Improved service quality
Increased flexibility

However, when does outsourcing facility maintenance become a misstep?

When Not To Outsource Facilities Maintenance

When You Are at Risk of Losing Control

Outsourcing may not be ideal if you have specific facility management needs and processes and want to stay in control. When you have a clear vision for the execution of a process, utilizing an in-house team is more manageable than outsourcing to a facility management company.

For example, for organizations with an ISO 9001 certification, it is necessary to implement a Quality Management System (QMS). It is critical to define Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for different operations within the company, particularly those connected to facility management. Working with your internal team is advised to prevent losing control over a critical facility management process, particularly if it impacts your organization’s QMS.

When Outsourcing Is Expensive

Outsourcing facility management can be expensive, especially if you require specialized services. Outsourcing security or HVAC maintenance can be more expensive than an in-house team.

It can also be expensive when you have multiple large facilities or a complex infrastructure, thus increasing the scope and resources required. Outsourcing can incur additional costs, such as vendor’s employee-training, communication and coordination between your organization and the vendor, and the cost of transitioning to the new system.

Also, if the outsourced processes are not well-optimized, it can lead to inefficiencies and added costs.

Essentially, the cost of outsourcing facility management will depend on your specific needs, resources, and goals, as well as the vendor’s fees, processes, and services. If you have limited resources, it may not be feasible to outsource all or some of your facilities’ management functions.

When You Have Confidentiality Concerns

If your facilities and operations involve confidential information, outsourcing may not be the best option as you may have concerns about sharing this information with an external vendor. When you outsource, you may need to share sensitive information with an external vendor, which can put that information at risk.

In such cases, it may be more appropriate to work with an in-house team or a trusted, vetted external consultant bound by confidentiality agreements.

Lack of Flexibility

Outsourcing facility management can limit an organization’s ability to change its approach, as the contract with the outsourcing provider may have specific terms and conditions that cannot be easily altered.

For example, the outsourcing provider may have specific processes and procedures in place for maintenance and repair work, which may need to be more flexible to meet the client’s changing needs. The provider may also have set schedules for cleaning and other services, which may not be able to be adjusted to accommodate changes in the company’s operations or special events.

Loss of Institutional Knowledge

Another challenge with outsourcing facility management services is the loss of institutional knowledge. Institutional knowledge refers to the accumulated experiences, skills, and expertise that are unique to a particular organization. When a company outsources its facility management services, it may lose access to this valuable information and the employees who have built it up over time.

For example, in-house facility management staff may have a deep understanding of the company’s facilities, systems, and processes, as well as a historical knowledge of past maintenance and repair work.

When these employees leave or the company outsources their responsibilities, this institutional knowledge may be lost, leaving the company without a comprehensive understanding of its facilities and how to manage them effectively.

Achieving Efficient Facilities Management
Staying current with the latest technologies and techniques in facility maintenance is crucial for achieving efficient facilities management. Ongoing learning and training are essential to keeping up with the ever-evolving demands of facility management and ensuring that facilities are managed effectively and efficiently. This can help companies to maintain and improve the condition of their facilities, reduce downtime, and provide a safe and comfortable environment for employees and customers.

Investing in facility management certifications, attending industry conferences and events, and continuously researching and adopting new technologies can help companies stay ahead of the curve and ensure that their facilities are managed most effectively and efficiently as possible.

Ultimately, choosing to outsource facilities management should be based on your organization’s specific needs and goals. If outsourcing facilities management does not align with these needs and goals, it may not be the right choice for your organization.

Bryan Christiansen is the founder and CEO of Limble CMMS. Limble is a modern, easy-to-use mobile CMMS software that takes the stress and chaos out of maintenance by helping managers organize, automate, and streamline their maintenance operations.

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