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Making The Decision To Outsource Facility Management
March 12, 2013 -
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When ADP began outsourcing its facilities management, the company retained six people in-house. Previously, more than 200 decentralized staff worked in ADP's U.S. buildings, where each facility was fairly independent.
"The good news is that for our associates who work in our buildings, [the transition] was almost invisible. To the people who got outsourced, it was major," says Art Elman, vice president of corporate real estate and facilities at the time that outsourcing began. The employees, as well as outside service providers — for example, the window washing company — switched their employer from ADP to the outsourcing firm. "Our first thought had been to consolidate [FM] within our own organization," Elman says, "but we didn’t have the tools in house, and it wasn’t our primary expertise." ADP instead decided to look for a company with better tools to manage facilities operations. Putting all of FM under the outsourcing provider's umbrella has improved management, consolidated purchasing and provided access to intelligence on a broader scale. The staff cuts, together with outsourcing, allowed ADP to reduce facility management expenses by 7 percent over two and a half years.
Not surprisingly, opinions on the "new normal" were mixed. For "shining stars," the change has created an additional career path within the outsourcing firm and allowed managers to become part of a group that specializes in what they do. But everyone had to stretch a little more, and there were a few who opted to quit or retire. "Some people bought into the fact that it was a career move, but some others said 'it's time for me to go,'" Elman says.
Because of outsourcing, facility management became more tightly controlled, with more sophisticated tools to purchase and better metrics to determine staffing.
ADP's communication strategy included "road shows," webcasts, conference calls and an extensive change management program. ADP attempted to map employee benefits structures to the new company so that employees did not experience losses.