If you work in facilities management and / or procurement, why do you change your facilities provider(s) every 3 years or so?”


Why do 38% of respondents feel the need to test the market so frequently? It implies that something is missing from the existing facilities provider relationship, that they don’t fully trust them to bring the best ‘of the market’ to the table.

Perhaps an honest conversation about what the client feels needs testing may actually create a collective fresh look at the relationship and a more positive, constructive way forward.

Drive down costs

This desire to cut costs is understandably a constant push within the facilities provider relationship. It is relatively easy in the first year to drive down costs by 20%, typically via reducing the headcount of the client FM team as their work outsources to the provider.

Internal stakeholders start to expect to see such significant cost reductions, but it’s hard to replicate in the second year and beyond. And equally hard for a new provider to come in and find another round of first year, 20% cost savings.

Drive innovation

This is also understandable. However the people who know your business’ FM goals and nuances are your existing provider. They spend their days on site, having many conversations with your client team, and are best placed to identify and propose new innovations, which can often be small in nature, but impactful. It takes time and insights to find innovations.

Respondent comment: “it takes at least 3 years to learn how to do a job well. As an example Apprenticeships take 3 or 4 years. Where is the incentive to invest in Staff, Training, Tools?”

Respondent comment: “I absolutely agree. In year 3 you’re getting to the good stuff with your partner vendor!”

Instead of looking for innovation from another potential provider, it’s a good idea to look at other sectors, such as technology, and see what innovations they are coming up with. A lateral idea can be just as valuable as one from within your own sector!

it’s company policy

This scored the lowest at 8% which is encouraging. It implies most companies don’t automatically mandate going to the market again every three years, and that they trust their FM teams to have control of when they feel the need to do so.

Respondent comment: “it’s really is good for both sides to have a ‘drains up’ review of a contract after 3-4 years, ‘we’ve always done it this way’, is the phrase I hear again and again, that doesn’t wash with me, full review, either reset or retender”

So whilst a company mandated regular review may not be helpful, value can be derived from a periodic review, to help both parties maintain focus.

Respondent comment: “A three year term for a meaningful FM contract is not long enough to enable relationship building, a progressive strategy needs time to grow.

Too many companies go through the tender and award process and then fail to effectively manage their own contract.  A well-crafted, implemented and managed FM strategy should be the start of a long term relationship”

Unusual times!

Given the ramifications of the pandemic and the gradual return to increasingly hybrid workplace experiences, facilities management is evolving into a more complex space, requiring deeper commitments between client and provider.

As the FM sector evolves, so does the need for greater behavioural change. We all need to build more positive, trusting and collaborative relationships and to be more aware of the implications of what we say and do with business partners. Hopefully another ramification of the pandemic is that we get to take a fresh look at how to build better personal and business partnerships.

What do you think?

What are your thoughts on the above? please leave a comment below!

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