Faced with sharp economic downturn, many organizations - both private and public sector - are scrutinizing their costs, looking for confirmation that they are achieving the best price, as well as value for money spent.
Support services, often seen as not 'core' to the business, are a legitimate target for scrutiny - but hasty decisions to make cuts, revise standards or change contracts in areas such as security, cleaning, maintenance and catering can come back to bite later on. Inside Out is a new guide for directors on the choices available to them for the delivery of facilities management (FM) services such as security, cleaning, maintenance, reception, mailroom, reprographics and many others that provide essential support to business. Developed by Action FM, a group of organizations in the FM sector dedicated to promoting the strengths, benefits and opportunities of well delivered facilities management, Inside Out does not suggest that either in-house or outsourced FM provision is 'right'.
Rather, it highlights the importance of understanding fully the impact such a decision can have on the core business of an organization. If insufficient time and resource is invested in ensuring that the chosen model is the right one for the organization, the results can be disastrous - especially when markets and the wider economy are contracting.
Failure to think strategically about sourcing can result in a 'pendulum effect', the guide warns, where a decision to outsource FM services is followed at the end of the contract by a decision to bring some or all of the services back in house, followed later by another review and so on.
This kind of cycle is costly, disruptive and damaging to the organizationís business. Facilities management services might be seen as an 'easy' target for cost cutting by some organizations.
But, Action FM argues, it is vital that decision-makers recognize these services lie at the heart of all businesses in every sector of the economy.
The expertise and the skills of the personnel involved are critical to the delivery of cost effective, efficient and flexible work environments. FM, whether in-house or contracted out, has a key role to play in developing an effective response to wider economic conditions.
It is also increasingly important in maintaining and taking forward environmental, energy reduction and corporate social responsibility agendas. The Inside Out guide offers a simple 12-point decision map for directors, to help ensure that they make sound decisions that not only prepare their organizations for downturn but also make them fit to benefit when the local and national facility market upturn comes.
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