Outsourcing: Assessing In-House Technician Skills

As if outsourcing wasn’t tough enough, the COVID-19 pandemic has further complicated the decisions maintenance and engineering managers must make

By Andrew Gager  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Outsourcing: The Inside Story of Contracting Maintenance and Engineering TasksPt. 2: This PagePt. 3: Cost Considerations When Outsourcing Maintenance and Engineering Tasks

Finding skilled and competent personnel has become a challenge. I hear it all around the world — the workforce shortage, the shallow pool of competency managers have to choose from, the aging staff, technicians moving onto other organizations or just outright quitting. These are all real challenges for managers.

Outsourcing work to an organization that specializes in facility maintenance or a needed skill can be an attractive strategy for managers. The process removes the responsibility of many activities that managers are accountable for and ensures that the contractor provides qualified and competent resources and services. 

A contract service provider also can offer specialized services for which managers might not be able to justify adding full-time, in-house staff. Many contractors offer a full range of facility management services, wrapping several possibilities together under one contract. These bundled services can make managing the process much simpler and more convenient rather than forcing managers to oversee a full staff and deal with human resources responsibilities.

Managers considering outsourcing also need to weigh the level of customer service and quality of the workmanship the contractor can provide, compared to that of in-house technicians. I’ve already mentioned skill set and competency, but there is a difference between skill set and workmanship. A skill set describes a person’s abilities, where workmanship is defined as the degree of skill in which a product or service is done.

For example, I have had my windshield replaced several times over the years. Each time, a technician came out and replaced the damaged glass and went on the way. The windshield was replaced correctly, and I was satisfied with the work done. Then several years ago, I had to replace the windshield on my wife’s car.

The technician came out to the house and started replacing the damaged glass. While the seal was setting, the tech vacuumed the entire interior of the car. When that was done, not only did he clean the windshield both inside and out. He also cleaned all the windows in the car, tidied up around the driveway, closed up his mobile shop and went on his way.

That technician took great pride in his workmanship, and the example demonstrates the difference between a skill set and workmanship. If a contractor is not providing the same level of workmanship to our internal stakeholders, then how well is our customer service being executed?

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  posted on 6/15/2020   Article Use Policy

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