Busting the top 5 myths about facilities outsourcing

Dylan Rogers

As you work to maintain your facilities portfolio, some important questions repeatedly crop up.

  • How will you manage coverage for a wide variety of trades?
  • How will you ensure that work is performed at a high quality?
  • How will you control costs for various trades at a high volume?

Many nationally recognized brands have chosen to optimize their facilities management programs by working with a trusted third-party maintenance partner.

These companies have improved their facilities and maintenance operations while reducing costs across the board.

But several myths about outsourcing have stuck around. It’s time to set the record straight.

Today, we’re busting the top five myths about facilities management outsourcing.

Myth #1: It’s more expensive

Rather than focusing on work order rates alone, a facilities management program should be designed from the perspective of the total cost of ownership.

In the long term, your total facilities management spend is captured in six main buckets (your mileage may vary):

  1. Reactive maintenance
  2. Preventative maintenance
  3. Capital expenses
  4. Energy use and management
  5. Technology costs
  6. Internal costs

Budgeting each of these spend buckets will mean setting specific goals with your existing technicians and carefully negotiating relationships with third-party providers you’ve researched and hired on your own.

It takes time. It takes expertise. And it takes money to navigate provider relationships.

But by moving your facilities operations to a third-party service provider, you’ll simplify your administrative workload and reduce your annual facilities spend year over year. Why?

  • You’ll see reduced work order costs thanks to greater scale
  • You’ll receive higher quality work from greater buying power
  • You’ll see lower technology costs thanks to managed platforms
  • You’ll reduce back-office costs and administrative overhead
  • You’ll benefit from your partner’s consultative approach from lessons learned

On top of cost reduction, a trusted facilities management partner will take a data-driven approach to managing work order completion, setting long-term budgets, and ironing out performance bottlenecks.

Many brands both new and well-established have turned to third-party facilities management partners to make their programs perform better and pose a lower expense.

Myth #2: It’s a risk to your job

A third-party facilities management provider should be seen as your partner, not your replacement.

A facilities partner is in the business of making you more valuable. They’ll provide:

  • The technology you need to stay competitive
  • The knowledge you need solve complex problems
  • The strategy to fill in the gaps in your maintenance program
  • The support teams you need keep things running smoothly

And you’ll need all these elements to succeed. The business world is changing rapidly, and facilities management is no exception.

You could handle these on your own, but consider the challenge:

  • Technology requires constant maintenance, upkeep, and training
  • Expert consultation is only available at a very high price
  • Support teams are very expensive to source, train, and manage

By teaming up with a third-party facilities management partner, you’ll free up time to think strategically and have more control over your business.

Myth #3: You’ll lose visibility and control

How do you track work orders?

Pen and paper? Excel? You’re not alone.

A Gartner survey showed that up to a third of all facilities managers track work with nothing beyond pen and paper or simple Excel spreadsheets.

And when it comes to managing even a few dozen locations, that’s just not enough. Having work orders on paper nearby might feel like visibility—but that’s just a feeling.

When work orders begin to pile up, you don’t want to get lost in a ream of paper.

For the other two-thirds of survey respondents using a work order management system, a few other general truths apply:

  • Most fail to get the most out of their system’s built-in features
  • Most have little to no long-term facilities data capture
  • Most fail to track and manage asset warranty and insurance information, or can’t

You need better tools and modern technology—especially if your business manages even just a few dozen locations.

But you don’t have to go it alone.

A third-party facilities partner will provide managed technology for a single point of reference for everything you’ll need to know and control for your portfolio.

This includes digitized asset and warranty information—as well as important reference guides—so you’ll never have to rely on tribal knowledge or inefficient analog sources.

Perhaps more importantly, a managed platform will help you discover what you didn’t know about your facilities portfolio, but should.

Myth #4: Quality will suffer

Your facilities management professionals have likely been with your company for a long time. As a result, they know your locations inside and out.

It’s natural to think that your most experienced techs are doing work that no one else can.

But is that really true? Are you getting the most out of them? And on every work order?

How do you know?

Maintaining brand value is one of the core goals of any facilities management program. But to constantly deliver on that goal, you need the following:

  • A technology platform shared by facilities technicians and managers
  • Consistent benchmarks for your facilities operations
  • A way to validate every work order completed at your locations
  • Easily accessible reports and KPIs for individual locations, trades, and so on

Like the above myth about visibility, it’s tempting to think that you can easily track and manage quality on your own. But it’s just not realistic. Especially not for thousands of work orders.

Working with a third-party facilities maintenance provider removes this burden.

Every work order could translate to over a hundred different data points that could be leveraged to refine performance and reduce costs across your portfolio.

With the right platform, you’ll be able to validate every work order, track history notes, record asset information, and manage quality and performance at each of your locations.

  • You’ll know more about work that’s happening in real time
  • You’ll get more from your technicians, and in less time
  • You’ll know the state of maintenance at your facilities at all times

And you won’t have to manage any of it yourself.

Case study: See how we doubled the productivity of this customer’s in-house technicians.

Myth #5: You’ll put customers and associates at risk

Very often, working with a third-party facilities management provider also means bringing in third-party technicians.

That is to say, total strangers. How can you trust them?

There’s a lot to worry about.

  • What if providers aren’t vetted and background-checked?
  • What if providers aren’t qualified to do the work?
  • What if providers aren’t certified and insured?
  • What if providers aren’t compliant with COVID-19 regulations?

If you’re shopping around for your own third-party providers, checking these boxes could be time-consuming and expensive.

Making the wrong choice could mean putting your customers and associates at risk.

A third-party facilities management provider should handle these concerns on your behalf, vetting and selecting providers who are qualified, insured, and compliant with local regulations.

They’ll have you covered.

You won’t have to think about the risks. Just focus on doing business.

Worth reading: See our guide to supporting service providers during a crisis like COVID-19.

Working with a trusted third-party maintenance provider will save you time, money, and management headaches.

It’s not worth tackling all of this yourself.

And you don’t have to, either.

Get in touch with SMS Assist: weknowFM@smsassist.com

What is SMS Assist?

SMS Assist is on a mission to transform the facilities maintenance industry by delivering unprecedented transparency and control. More than 186,000 commercial properties—like retail stores, banks, restaurants, and more—and residential rental properties leverage our cloud-based platform to connect to more than 20,000 service providers and our operations teams that are available every second of every day. It’s a new approach for an industry in need of a better solution.