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When it comes to selecting outsourced service provider, you don't have to reinvent the wheel. There are best practices from top-performing facilities to follow. Based on his organization's research, here are some tips from Vince Elliot on what to do when selecting a cleaning contractor — though the strategies can apply to other service areas. The most important part of the process is the groundwork you do before selecting the contractor.
1. Identify an internal champion. Within your organization, there is someone who gets it — what the problem or need is and what it will take to meet it/fix it. The project champion is the opinion leader and is personally involved and passionate about achieving success.
2. Structure change-management activities. It is imperative to gain support from everyone involved in a process for change to be successful. This involves educating and informing affected parties through change management seminars, workshops or other activities.
3. Establish a baseline of pre-project performance. In order to measure how far you've gone, you have to know where you're starting. The baseline effort should document performance metrics that outline the expected benefits from a re-bid and serve as a reference measure for future success. The elements documented vary according to company goals.
4. Customer-driven specifications. In customer-facing services, like cleaning, use a "voice of the customer" process to define performance specification standards. Assemble a team of key tenants, managers and occupants, or use an online survey, to facilitate discussion about what is important and how customers describe good and poor quality. The data from the process identify what conditions are acceptable and unacceptable to occupants and managers.
5. Collect and validate property profile data. The more accurate the property profile, the more accurate the bid. That generally results in a more realistic and lower price. When contractors have a clear understanding of what they are responsible for and of the conditions that influence what they'll be doing, they build in less "contingency" cost.