According to a recent study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (The ever-changing global service provider industry: Key findings for 2010), businesses ranked the following strategic differentiators as their top ten considerations when selecting a service company:
- Skills & training of workforce
- Depth of industry knowledge
- Quality of customer service
- Depth of process knowledge
- Low cost of service delivery
- Recommendations by other companies
- Customization of service delivery
- Market reputation
- Track record of management team
- Time to complete project
While this list may seem like a "no-brainer," achieving these at a high level is easier said than done in a competitive environment. But, while the data is valuable and should be taken to heart, this also only gives us superficial insight in what it takes to succeed in the services market. After a little more digging I came across the Facilities Industry Trends-Survey Results conducted and published by the FMLink Group, and online magazine for Facility Managers.
The study uncovered several interesting trends among facility managers and leadership:
- Top Priority: Dealing with aging buildings and/or building equipment.
- Largest Increases in Responsibility: disaster planning and recovery, the management of additional facilities, and the addition of computer-aided facilities management technology.
- Largest Challenges:
- Balancing the facilities budget (43%)
- Deferred funding / maintenance backlog (32%)
- Meeting customer / tenant expectations (30%)
- Lack of time to complete work (28%)
- Understaffed (24%)
- Upper management's lack of understanding of the role of FM (22%)
So what are the implications for your organization and how do you turn your prospective customers' challenges into opportunities for your organization?
- Aging Equipment & Buildings: Frequent inspections reduce risk - and liability - from old, failing or expired fire and life safety equipment.
- Meeting Expectations & Raising the Bar: Service companies with highly trained staff and technical competency are uniquely positioned to succeed.
- Adding/Demonstrating Value Through Technology: Facility managers that provide valuable business insight and leverage easy-to-use-and-access technology to add value will improve organization’s understanding of role and importance.
- Strains on Facility Management Time, Resources & Budgets: There is a greater need for outsourcing key functions that don't warrant full-time staff, and the adoption of technology and the services model can:
- Increase cost efficiencies and streamline processes
- Reduce strain on facility budget and resources
- Provide quantifiable results and accountability through online reporting (or allow for the identification of areas of improvement)