Outside experts provide support services to alleviate facilities management pressure
- Labor shortages leave businesses short on facilities support.
- FM engineers find outsourcing facilities services more effective than in-house.
- Facilities reach their sustainability (3P) goals faster with outsourced FM.
Labor shortages were already an issue in facilities management several years ago, but the global pandemic of the last two years has accelerated the problem. Today, facilities managers simply have too much on their plate, with demands increasing every day. One way to alleviate this pressure for many organizations is to outsource a selected number of tasks, or even the entire function of facilities management, to a third-party expert who can deliver quality facility maintenance services at a reasonable price.
What Tasks Can Commercial FM Take Off Your Plate?
With facilities management being such an all-encompassing function in many companies, a wide variety of tasks can be easily outsourced. Depending on the size of a facilities management department, the management team can determine which tasks are best suited to be handled in-house based on the skill set and interests of existing facilities management employees. It’s likely that the remaining tasks can be handled more efficiently by an experienced partner taking on the more specialized work.
Here are several activities and responsibilities that commercial facilities managers can outsource easily and effectively.
Preventive maintenance is a critical task for any facilities manager. Ensuring that regular inspections, cleaning, lubrication, and other adjustments take place on a schedule can mean the difference between a well-functioning machine and one that results in a domino effect of problems.
Outsourcing preventive maintenance means that these regular check-ups take place without the facilities managers having to track and manage the work, freeing up time for higher priority items within the organization.
24/7 Emergency Maintenance
When it comes to stressful situations, emergency calls regarding maintenance issues are definitely near the top of the list. Although many facility managers are used to being reasonably available beyond the standard 40-hour workweek, no one wants to be on-call around the clock.
Hopefully, emergency calls do not occur regularly for any facility manager, but when they do, it’s advantageous for a third-party partner to be available to help. They often have the employee bandwidth to share this on-call duty among many skilled individuals so that availability and coverage do not translate to high expenses or a burden on any one individual.
Electrical Systems Maintenance
Although many facilities managers tend to be a jack-of-all-trades, electrical systems fall into a separate category. Specialized skills and expertise are often required in order to maintain, repair, and manage electrical systems, especially in a larger facility.
As a result, electrical systems maintenance can be an excellent candidate for outsourcing. Talk with potential vendors about maintenance and repair packages they offer, and what services would be the best fit for your organization.
In certain industries, fabrication functions can be outsourced to help relieve additional pressure from the facilities management team. Find a partner that can deliver rolling, bending, CNC machine, stamping, screw machining, stitching, and welding services on demand instead of trying to maintain this equipment in-house.
Mechanical HVAC Systems
Heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are a popular target for outsourcing. Many commercial providers of HVAC systems have a great deal of expertise, as well as all the equipment and tools necessary, to perform needed maintenance, inspections, and repairs.
In addition, third-party companies often provide a package price for commercial customers, guaranteeing that a detailed inspection of HVAC systems, as well as regular maintenance such as cleaning and filter changes, occurs at regular intervals throughout the year. Contracted customers may receive additional benefits such as faster service, lower repair costs, and discounts on future equipment.
Partners can also bring energy efficiency expertise to the table, offering evaluations and upgrades to industrial boiler and chiller, steam-based, or hydronic heating systems.
Plumbing Systems Maintenance
Like specialty areas such as electrical and HVAC, plumbing systems require a certain amount of expertise and experience as well as specific tools, technologies, and equipment. Facilities managers may find that plumbing is an excellent service to outsource. Having an expert on call when problems arise to protect the integrity of the entire facility as well as critical assets can save time and money.
Find a partner that has experience in plumbing system design, water efficiency inspection and upgrades, and drain and sewer cleaning and rodding.
Plumbing problems have the potential to cause a lot of damage, not to mention the health and safety issues, so having a trusted partner that knows exactly how to handle emergencies and can also provide advice on prevention is extremely valuable.
What Are Your Facility Maintenance Goals?
Before selecting the tasks your organization decides to manage internally vs. outsourcing to a trusted partner, it’s important to set some short- and long-term maintenance goals.
The International Facility Management Association(IFMA) model reminds facilities management teams to return to the basics of the three Ps: people, process, and place. These three interdependent factors have direct reciprocal relationships and are central to a strong facilities management program.
Long-term facilities management goals should be centered on these three Ps and how to pull them together in order to achieve overall objectives for the department and business.
Because facilities management tends to encompass such a wide range of tasks and responsibilities, it’s critical to streamline the processes and tasks to be done. This may mean incorporating technology that can pull all work orders into a single repository so they can be easily assigned and managed.
Outsourcing facilities management to a third-party expert may mean simply having a point person at your company to work directly with a facilities manager at your partner organization to streamline and prioritize tasks.
Regardless of the direction you choose to take, it’s important that organizations take a proactive approach to facilities management activities. There’s a reason why the old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” still rings true; reacting to facility management emergencies is always more expensive and stressful than preventing problems from occurring in the first place.
Kroeschell has been helping organizations with facilities management services since 1849. To learn more about how Kroeschell can help you address the current labor shortage while improving the efficiency and performance of your facility, reach out today.