Balancing In-House With Outsourced Facilities Services

  November 17, 2014

Using an outsourced service provider for facility management doesn't have to be an all or nothing proposition. It's about finding the right level for the needs of your particular organization. For some, that will mean outsourcing some key skilled trades that are not used very frequently. For many, services such as housekeeping might be outsourced to an outside vendor but the engineers are kept in-house. And yet still for other facilities, the whole operation will go to one of the third-party service firms. It's an equation that is constantly being fine-tuned.

At International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, if a member of the facility management team leaves, their position is not necessarily filled in kind. The requirements of the position are evaluated and if the outsourced management team the company is already working with can do the job just as well, then the position goes to them.

In order to determine whether to keep a position in-house or to outsource it, IFC asks, "What do we really need to do, and how much of the day-to-day work and operations can we give to the outsourced people?" and "where do we get more value?" Pearlman points out that "increasing the value of our vendor's contract for a certain amount of money is still substantially less than if we filled one of those positions" with an employee receiving a salary, benefits, and so on.

"We're really focused on fresh eyes and how we use our internal staff most effectively," Pearlman says. "We've been much more discerning in paying for expertise." The decision is not purely driven by cutting costs though. Rather, being efficient and having the right skill mix to support the mission of the organization is what is important, Pearlman says.

The default position is not to outsource positions as they become vacant. If keeping the function in house will provide more benefit to the company, that's what's done. "We've undergone expenditure reviews and taken reductions while at the same time making strong business cases where we can do the same thing in a better way," Pearlman says.

To read more about outsourcing best practices and the FM Pulse survey, go here.


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