Setting Service Standards with Outsourced Service Providers
May 17, 2011
Setting the stage for a viable working relationship with a service provider where they will be held accountable for outcomes involves creating standards and using them to evaluate performance. By identifying the method used for measuring performance in the request for proposal, prospective bidders understand exactly how they will be evaluated from the beginning.
A key step in building a relationship is establishing standards for performance at the time the RFP is sent out. Knowing what standards to use is a two-part process. The first part deals with the amount of flexibility facility executives are willing to build into their request for proposals. The requests should seek performance-based scopes of work that do not specify how the work is to be accomplished, but rather what the expectation is for the end result.
The second part of the answer depends on facility managers being able to convince others that performance-based contracting makes sense. Because these performance-based contracts are less prescriptive, they are harder to evaluate. Each bidder may propose a different process than the others for accomplishing the work in the contract.
During the selection process, the facility manager should be willing to talk about the risks and rewards associated with each of the different approaches to service and help others involved in the selection process understand the most effective evaluation criteria.