10 August 2017

7 powerful Strategies FMs should follow with Air Conditioning Contractors

Working with specialist service providers can not only help you to drive down the cost of delivering key services, but can also enable you and your clients to take advantage of the expert knowledge specialists can offer.

In order to really reap the benefits of working with co-sourcing specialists, there are 7 principles that every facilities contract manager should stick to:

1. Collaborate

Traditional methods of outsourcing specialist services, where contractors were left to their own devices, are gradually becoming outdated, as client expectations increase.

Innovation and a better use of new technology, within service delivery, is now essential. This means that facilities managers and their specialist Air Conditioning contractors, need to collaborate more effectively, to ensure that they meet client requirements.

Selecting the right partner is essential. A good service partner should be able to complement your internal resources and support, or even manage them, if necessary.

Managed in the right way, you could save money, increase your flexibility and improve your response times.

2. Set clear reporting standards

Today, more and more of a facilities manager’s role involves generating reports, submitting documents and proving compliance.

If more time was invested explaining the exact reporting requirements to specialist providers, systems could be tweaked and tailored, so that the data could be better integrated into your/your client’s reporting structure. A good service provider should be able to help you with this.

In addition to clear reporting standards, why not ask for more transparency with regards to the way services are being delivered? Don’t be afraid to request evidence to back it up.

This is especially important in these ‘co-sourced’ arrangements, where an outsourced specialist works in partnership with an in-house team, in order to ensure a consistent approach and to protect your brand.

3. Challenge the procurement process

Many facilities managers work with approved or preferred suppliers.

Whilst this is an efficient way to manage supply chains, it can sometimes lead to a handful of suppliers in each category competing for the same business. Often, these suppliers are all too similar in what they can offer.

Many other companies are currently trying to ‘break in’ to these service categories, bringing with them services delivered through the new and innovative technologies that facilities managers are demanding.

Attempt to challenge your procurement team to allow other companies into the approved supply chain, in order to increase innovation, reduce complacency and ensure that suppliers constantly strive to be the best in their category.

The ones that don’t invest could find themselves replaced by other new and upcoming businesses.

4. Measure communication

Communication can often be seen as one of the most frustrating parts of the relationship between a facilities manager and their supply chain.

Many facilities managers complain of receiving a lack of information on outstanding jobs and find themselves having to chase for answers on a regular basis.

Once you have set levels of response times (KPIs/SLAs), instruct your outsourced partners to send reports on their performance against these, on a monthly basis.

Technology enables data to be captured on a scale never before possible. By publishing and reviewing this data, there is a much higher chance that your providers will work to meet these set levels.

Getting specialist providers to send regular updates on how they are performing could not only save you time, but can often lead to a provider’s own performance improvements in areas that they are falling short.

5. Get to know the engineers behind these Air Conditioning companies

The engineers who carry out the servicing are often the unsung heroes of specialist Air Conditioning providers.

More emphasis should be put on these engineers and aiming to achieve consistent service delivery across all sites or contracts. All too often, multiple engineers get deployed to the same site within a year, which can lead to inconsistencies.

A larger amount of time should be taken to evaluate the engineers available on a contract, so that the expertise can match the criticality of the equipment being serviced.

Additionally, this should complement and aid in the development of in-house teams, so that senior specialists from subcontractors can help support and regularly train your engineers, who are looking to further their knowledge.

6. Encourage the specialists to bring innovative ideas forward

Facilities managers are constantly being asked to deliver more innovative and sustainable solutions to their clients.

This makes it essential that specialist providers innovate and develop in the areas which are applicable to them.

It’s vital to work with providers to do this, so that project pipelines can be generated and clear energy saving initiatives planned, over the length of a contract.

A constant ‘feed through’ from specialist partners, could help to release some of the pressure on facilities managers to always deliver innovation.

7. Pricing

It has become too easy to simply send a list of plant and equipment, then ask for suppliers to quote a maintenance price based on a certain number of visits per year. The contract terms agreed with clients vary so much, yet often, these terms are not passed down the supply chain, creating elements of risk.

Why not start to explore your options with supply partners who are willing to adapt to the contracts that you need to deliver? Co-sourced arrangements, by their very nature, offer facilities managers the opportunity to work together with specialists through open collaborative discussions, to help minimise exposure and share risks across larger portfolios of buildings.

Challenge traditional pricing methods. You might be pleasantly surprised by what you can achieve when working with the right partners.

By moving away from the constraints of more traditional outsourcing methods and collaborating with specialist service providers, you could improve your competitive advantage and, in turn, increase profit and client satisfaction.

Want to know more about how to get the most out of working with outsourced specialists? CoSourced, an Air Conditioning, Chillers and Ventilation Services provider, specialises in supporting FM Service companies to deliver specialist services across their contracts. Get in touch today to find out more. Paul.blackford@CoSourced.co.uk