Consider outsourcing facility management & maintenance

May 1, 2012

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Outsourcing is a most cost effective way tohandle facility management, most especially when a company has many facilitiesmulti-state or nationally.

To outsource or not tooutsource is a very complex question. The Chief Financial Officer may tell youthat they prefer outsourcing because it falls on the expense side of thebalance sheet and not the liabilities side (contractor vs. employees). As anexpense you can scale it the way you need it…try reducing your in-housestaffing by 30% one year and ramping up by 50% the next and your HR department willundoubtedly move your name to the top of their mischievous list, not to mentionthe fact that the facilities staff will see you as unreliable employment.

Running an in-house facilities team has manybenefits. Reduced costs (yes it is less, but not by huge amounts, probably5-10%), more dedication and loyalty from the facilities people knowing thatthey are part of the team, and increasing of the overall organizational skillinventory/knowledge base. Mind you that these benefits only will materialize ifyour organization is large enough to adequately support a facilitiesorganization. If you have 500 people or more at a site or critical facilities(7×24) operations, then you probably have a pretty good base to have your ownfacilities organization. But make a distinction between building maintenanceand critical facilities. The facilities skills sets, processes, and costs arevery different for the two. As an example properly trained and licensed orqualified people for critical facilities normally cost two to three times whatbuilding maintenance facilities would cost. Would you want a handy-person or alicensed electrician working on your 13,500 volt distribution system?

With an in-house facilities crew there needs tobe a significant investment in training, tools, processes, and systems to keepthem working effectively and efficiently. You cannot just hire them and pointthem and let them go…they will go, but usually not in the direction you wantthem to.

Outsourcing is the way to go in situations whereyou have distributed small facilities, do not want to make facilities one ofyour core competencies, or believe there are gains to be made by leveraging theexperience and resources of the outsourcing firm.

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