In or Out? The Outsourcing Conundrum

By Dave Lubach, Associate Editor  

Maintenance and engineering managers often view outsourcing as a potential solution to mounting workloads in many institutional and commercial facilities.

But while the controversial strategy can address these issues, managers should not make the decision to outsource a task or project lightly. Paul Adjan, facility manager with the Glynn County Airport Commission in Brunswick, Ga., tries to avoid outsourcing when possible. What are his concerns?

Loss of control. Retain control of key decisions.

Wasted time. Avoid time spent explaining building systems to vendors when in-house technicians probably know them better.

Quick fixes. Some contractors tend to work quickly and gloss over important details essential for the safety of staff and occupants.

High initial costs. Avoid proposals that could cost more than handling the work in-house.

Adjan's concerns are valid, but I would add one more concern to the list: life-cycle considerations.

Contractors tend to focus on the short term — getting a signed contract for the project in question. Once they're done, it's on to the next job, regardless of the quality of the completed job. Managers — especially those in facilities that are not likely to be sold or replaced any time soon — have no such luxury and need to take a longer view. They have to live with the results of the finished project.

By keeping work in-house and focusing on long-term performance, managers are more likely to deliver higher-quality work that costs less.

Dave Lubach offers insights gleaned from conversations with managers who make key maintenance and engineering decisions in commercial and institutional facilities.

Agree? Disagree? Have something to say? We want to hear from you. Visit myfacilitiesnet.com/davelubach, and start a conversation.

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  posted on 10/30/2013   Article Use Policy

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