As the cornerstone of the tech industry, we find countless examples of innovation in infrastructure, consumer products, and engineering. We see it continue to redefine the way we collect, cleanse and harness data for better decision-making. We see it drive the numerous startups that have dominated their markets without holding any physical stock (Uber, for instance).
But does innovation really have a place in Facilities Management today?
Although it’s an industry driven largely by compliance and cost-reduction, I’d argue that it does, and there’s a solid evidence to suggest that innovation will continue to play a large role in the future of FM too.
As ISS have strongly argued in their 2020 Vision white paper, the need for innovation in the FM industry is centred on necessity. To be more specific, their research has shown that “hyper-competition” is creating an environment where providers have little choice but to invest in and prioritise innovation and highly specialised capabilities in a range of areas moving forward.
“Companies are looking to invest in developing and fine-tuning their competencies as a way of enhancing their competitiveness” – ISS
However, as with most things in life, it’s one thing to know what’s needed, and an entirely different thing to apply it practically.
This is where I believe outsourcing comes in.
Outsourcing Specialist Service Providers
To meet client organisations’ increasingly specialised, technical and challenging needs, more and more FM organisations are having to invest heavily in new capabilities. While strong investment in capability is hardly new or unexpected in service providers, what is new is the reliance on outsourcing that this has helped create.
“Outsourcing will be increasingly used to drive value creation and innovation within [FM] organisations” – ISS
This is supported by data too: as the graph below shows, 76% of FM and global outsourcing experts expect the use of outsourced services to increase in 2020.
But I think it’s important we consider that the trend for increased outsourcing isn’t for commodity services. This would obviously make little sense given the nature of FM companies and the wide range of services that fall under their remit. In fact, I’d go as far too say much of the appeal of FM providers to client organisations is the centralised, all-encompassing service they offer.
However, the truth is that the world is changing and there’s now a large market for those that can provide solutions to very specific problems. As the world continues to innovate, face new risks, and foster yet more ruthless competition, FM companies need to be able to handle whatever their clients are faced with.
This means emergency clean-up, this means fuel maintenance, this means contaminated land remediation, this means forecourt services – the list goes on.
So what choice do FMs have in this situation?
In an over-commoditised FM market where price can’t realistically be driven down further without compromise, the solution is simple: outsource to specialist service providers.
To be more specific, FMs need to build a network of relationships with experts in a range of niche disciplines. By collaborating and “co-sourcing” with these specialists, FMs can take their capabilities and service offering to the next level, using something other than price to stand out in an increasingly even playing field that’s crying out for game changers.
For more information on Adler & Allan’s comprehensive range of specialist Facilities Management and defence support services, visit our dedicated website.