Operational Transformation: Managing Outsourced Facility Services

Outsourcing of facilities services, including preventative and emergency maintenance of mechanical and electrical systems, cleaning, landscaping security and other services, is a fact of life for most commercial and institutional property owners.

When dealing with maintenance and asset management processes, outsourcing becomes a sticky problem; outsourced service providers must be managed, just like internal staff, but enterprise asset management systems are not designed to integrate activity by “external” service providers. As a result, outsourced work activity can not easily be measured, and if it can’t be measured it can’t be effectively managed.

There are several barriers to an integrated asset management system which include:

  • Lack of process and data standardization across organizations
  • A need for universal identification of buildings, spaces, equipment, and people across organizational boundaries
  • Facilities owners rightfully don’t want service providers to have access to internal data
  • Service contractors that work for multiple facilities owners don’t want to access different systems for each owner
  • Some stakeholders want to keep data proprietary
  • Few building managers are prepared to allow external service providers access to their enterprise management systems, and with systems of their own, few service providers want such access. The solution is to provide a building-centric exchange hub, where each side can integrate once. I call this The Service Internet.

    The Service Internet creates a robust, secure “virtual building”, complete with universally identified spaces and equipment, connected to the physical building and spaces using QR coded asset tags. As a building owner or manager, you can invite third party service providers to individual buildings, and provide them with standardized procedures, inspections and electronic forms at the point of work, accessed by Smart Phone or tablet with the scan of the asset tag. This allows you to capture work completed in your buildings in real-time, regardless of whether completed by in-house or contract staff.

    Individual service contractors too are able to aggregate across buildings (and even across building owners) in order to streamline operations for both sides.

    The Service Internet allows you to standardize processes and economically document operations and maintenance activity, giving you improved performance metrics and the information you need to make better decisions.