Many of our clients have debated whether there is a better way of handling their property maintenance and facilities management issues.
Whether it be triaging requests from tenants or giving store managers a standardised process for reporting issues at their locations it uses a lot of a company’s resources to ensure that their clients and customers are happy. Add to this the need to manage quotes; liaise with insurance companies; undertake supplier management; ensure compliance and accreditations remain current; undertake cost control for the Company or your clients; chase job reports and interrogate where necessary … it is a huge drain on corporate resources. When you consider that often this is required on a 24/7 basis it often increases this impact by 100% or more.
At Homyze, we think there is a better way of handling property maintenance and facilities management. And to be honest, it is not just us - our clients have told us!
Of course, it may not be right for everyone, but it is worth asking the question … Should you outsource your maintenance processes or keep things in house?
Here are some things to keep in mind when making this decision. Unsurprisingly, we will start with the benefits of an outsourced solution.
The benefits of outsourcing maintenance
Increased company focus on core activities
For most companies, property and facilities maintenance is not the core competence or the metric they are trying to optimise. It may be care-home resident welfare, diner reviews, occupancy levels or leaseholder satisfaction. There are so many factors that influence these outcomes and whilst property maintenance may form a part it is not the only, and often not the most important.
By outsourcing this to a company that specialises in this area, you can reap the benefits of its positive contribution to optimising your objectives without distracting you from the other influences.
Reduced equipment downtimes
As above, given the amount of things on which colleagues and employees have to focus, it is unsurprising that often maintenance (and compliance) schedules get missed. Whilst there are a few (rare) instances where a ‘run to destruction’ maintenance strategy is the most appropriate one, in most situations consistent maintenance is the optimal approach.
When you add in the costs of downtime and its impact on your targeted metrics, it is even more important to ensure that plant and equipment is maintained in a regular, consistent manner.
Improved employee satisfaction
For many of our clients, the property maintenance aspects of their employees’ roles is the least appealing component. For example, they chose the industry in which they work to get the opportunity to demonstrate service, or care, or creativity. Maintenance is often something they did not even think would end up as part of their responsibilities.
With a structured process coupled with SLAs and KPIs, you can ensure that your colleagues are able to bring their whole selves to their job and focus on the areas on which they likely excel.
Reduced company overheads
With the amount of time and resources spent on maintenance issues, chances are you can save a considerable amount of money by outsourcing this to an external provider. When you consider helpdesk or client communications, contractor liaison, supplier sourcing, finance or reconciliation time, you can often find that 30 - 40% of the time of your employees is spent on just this part of their job.
By using external contractors you can save time on all the above, including having just one periodic invoice to reconcile for all the works undertaken.
Benefits of data for cost control and performance
It likely comes as no surprise, but maintenance companies know maintenance costs … just as restaurants know supply and wage costs. By using an external supplier - one that does not directly supply all the aspects of their services, you will likely have access to a larger data set. This allows you to highlight anomalous spending or get details on trend analysis. It should also allow you to improve budgeting for your own internal or external clients.
At Homyze, we are constantly looking at the data around average job costs, costs by service line or job type. We have a deep sense (and have written about) ‘What good looks like’ to us. You can benefit from these data and pass this onto your clients.
Access to expertise and technical knowledge
In addition to just the financial aspect of property and facilities maintenance, there are often technical elements that are relevant to jobs. As above, often this is not something with which your colleagues and employees are familiar.
By outsourcing your maintenance to companies that specialise in this area you can ensure that you always have access to the required knowledge and expertise. Rather than putting you in a position of weakness or inefficiency, it allows you to ensure that suppliers are held to account and do not hide behind technical jargon - sometimes this is the only way in which issues can be explained.
When would you not choose to outsource your maintenance process?
In situations where maintenance is critical to your business and/or competitive advantage, or where the costs of downtime outweigh the costs of redundancy or slack within your facilities management overheads, it will likely be preferable to keep your maintenance processes inhouse.
Although this may only be for a portion of your maintenance activities - for example only with manufacturing equipment but not building fabric - it will ensure that you can completely tailor your resources with no issues of a potential misalignment of incentives.
For reference, Homyze can work with a hybrid solution using both in house and external labour, so if that is the optimal solution we would still love to talk.
As long as you ensure that the company you are considering is comfortable providing you with performance data across a number of different variables such as response times, SLA breaches, job completion levels and more, you have the basis for detailed objective assessment.
At the end of the day, you are the customer of this company. If they want to keep your business, they should be able to demonstrate their value.
Outsourcing your property maintenance processes is not always the ideal solution, but can offer obvious and demonstrable benefits in many circumstances. If you would like to talk about whether this is right for you, please get in touch.