Managing Outsourcing in Critical Facilities
September 23, 2010
When facility management functions are outsourced in critical facilities, facility executives need to take special care that potential sources of trouble are minimized. Good intentions will fail if appropriate procedures are not in place to reduce potential failure. These procedures should be built into the contract by focusing on potential failure points and addressing them upfront. If these procedures and processes are not in place already, they should be developed in conjunction with the service provider or the in-house staff.
Facility management processes should be integrated with the core business operations at the facility. The best examples are the processes used by IT professionals to deal with change and issues management within their own systems and infrastructure. Whether facility executives use the IT processes or a parallel system, integration is critical to ensure communication, planning and approval so activities such as preventive maintenance and repair don't impair the core business. For example, if an activity introduces risk, such as taking a backup system off-line, an alternative backup or a process should be identified to quickly rectify failure during the work.
This planning and approval process is critical. In a hospital, for instance, maintenance activities can have a serious impact if not planned properly. Typically, hospital representatives are given advance schedules of activities, along with an assessment of potential risks and plans to mitigate the risk. The hospital representative can then request changes to the schedule or modify work activities to suit hospital needs and schedules.
Because human error is responsible for the majority of failures, implementing this performance management approach in a critical facility can improve the chances of success and minimize risk.