Is your FM technology costing you money?

In this disruptive retail environment, subscribing to the old way of thinking— “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it”—is not setting your organization up to sustain inevitable changes. Executives are beginning to ask their teams, “What are we doing differently today that we were not doing yesterday?” Transitioning to this new way of thinking extends to all facets of the retail experience, including your facilities management (FM) program.

Building a relationship with your FM partner is important; you want to look to them as a trusted advisor in the space. Unfortunately, many times an FM partner takes advantage of this relationship and leverages the end of the contract to signal a significant rate increase without much choice for a change. Just a few weeks before the contract is up, some companies offer terms such as: Renew the contract for three years at an increased rate that’s about 75% higher, or Renew the contract for just one year and pay a rate that’s 150% times higher than the original rate.

What is also unfortunate is these FM partners create barriers to change and are more focused on maintaining their revenue than improving their clients’ operations.

If this sounds like highway robbery, it is. Unfortunately, it is an all-too-common scenario in the facilities management world.

Beyond this tactic, many arrangements between retailers and FM partners aren’t exactly set up with strong, equitable partnerships in mind.

Typically, an FM company charges retailers by location and by month. In most cases, they also charge service providers a fee for invoices, which is likely built into the fee a retailer pays. This means the FM partner charges both the client and the service provider to gain more revenue.

After paying ever-rising fees and seeing no additional value-add to the work order management platform, retailers have little incentive to stick with these types of FM companies longer than they have to. It would better serve you to choose an FM company that is going to be a true partner and provide value that extends to improving your operations and supporting your staff.

Whether you are stuck with an FM Partner that is increasing fees on you, or you are just trying to evaluate an FM Partnership,

Here are some questions you should ask:

Do you have a technology platform that allows me to tailor to my organization’s requirements without tech fees?

Your FM partner should take care to get to know you and what you want out of store operations and facilities management. You might require access to certain data and reports that are out of the ordinary, or customized dashboards for your FM team. Can your FM partner accommodate you? Equally as important, what is the charge for doing this, is it one-time or recurring?

Can I evaluate data and trends for my entire FM program?

FM Technology should have the ability to look at trends across your fleet and make appropriate changes as needed. Moving beyond legacy systems to house FM data in one easily accessible place can help you work more efficiently. For example, you may find that the same plumbing issue is cropping up at the same location or analyzing your HVAC preventative maintenance versus the volume of repairs. Your FM Partner should have the resources and expertise to identify these situations and expose them to you, the client.

Is there a team of industry subject matter experts that can assist me on my requests?

Do you get access to a dedicated account team, or are you speaking with a customer service representative who do not know your business, brand or have the history of services? When calling with a request, you want to speak with someone who is aware of your organization’s requirements and your facilities’ needs.

Do you have a quality assurance team that ensures brand standards are adhered to?

The minute a shopper steps into the store, they experience many facets of the company’s brand: the layout of the store, the employees, the building and facilities. Does your FM partner have a QA team in the field to ensure the service and work has been completed in line with your expectations and brand, at no extra cost to you?

BE PROACTIVE

If you are currently under contract with an FM partner, be proactive about what comes next. Request a review of the progress to date and discuss the fee structure for your next contract. You do not want to be blindsided by a steep increase in fees and not enough time to move to a new partner. Also consider this: If your FM partner pushes back on these requests, they may not be the FM partner for you.

Interested in learning more about Integrated Facilities Management Technology? View our infographic here.

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