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Outsourcing is a strange phenomenon for maintenance and engineering departments. On one hand, it can be a bad omen.
Top executives in institutional and commercial facilities have been known to threaten departments with outsourcing in an effort to control costs.
On the other hand, many managers themselves have used outsourcing — and often, its more focused cousin, out-tasking — to help the department complete projects when schedules are tight, potential risks are high, or the job requires specialized expertise.
It is little wonder, then, that managers have mixed emotions about outsourcing. While some see it in a generally positive light because it has helped them achieve valuable, tangible results, others view it negatively, either because they have had a bad experience using it or they feel threatened by it.
Like it or not, though, a recent reader survey conducted by Facility Maintenance Decisions reveals one insight that indicates managers should get used to the presence of outsourcing: 74 percent of respondents say they plan to use the practice the same amount or more in the coming year. In short, outsourcing is not going anywhere.
Whatever a manager's attitude toward outsourcing, one thing is clear: Managers with the best understanding and control of their departments' priorities and activities are in the best position to successfully handle its presence in their facilities.
If outsourcing arrives as a potential threatened cost-control measure, savvy managers with relevant data at their fingertips will be able to demonstrate the value and cost-effectiveness of in-house staff and resources.
If managers choose to use outsourcing as a strategy to cope with heavy workloads or complex tasks, they will be in the best position to select a contractor who best meets their department's needs.
For coverage of the outsourcing survey and complete results, visit http://bit.ly/1iogFtp.
Dan Hounsell offers observations about trends in maintenance and engineering management and the evolving role of managers in facilities.
Agree? Disagree? Have something to say? We want to hear from you. Visit myfacilitiesnet.com/danhounsell, and start a conversation.
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