Facilities’ relationship with group procurement has evolved over time. We viewed it as a professional team that had done some good internal works, without fully appreciating the value it could offer. We did not engage with it on a regular basis.
Looking at some of our bigger FM deals, it seemed the right thing to take advantage of procurement’s expertise, although I was initially concerned it would take a cost-savings-only approach to working with us.
From the start, procurement listened to us and made the effort to understand our key objectives. Through a spend analytics exercise, the generic cialis
team quickly identified a large number of suppliers that presented consolidation and aggregation opportunities. It helped us realise these opportunities by providing us with tools that could add value to our activities and reduce, rather than increase, our resource requirements. We also benefited from market intelligence, benchmarking and training. All this helped us to become more efficient so that we could focus more on core FM strategy and delivery activity.
By demonstrating its expertise and working closely with us to understand our requirements, procurement gained credibility with the FM team and became an integral part of our processes.
I have also built a strong relationship with my main procurement contact, who has supported me with several key projects, helping deliver savings and credible solutions.
Procurement has supported us in a number of projects, the most complex and high-value example being supplier rationalisation in soft services FM. When we started the project, we had around 3,500 suppliers across 400 sites, generating 30,000 invoices a year, with little central control or influence.
Over two years, we worked together to take this from a concept through to full service delivery. Throughout the mobilisation process, procurement provided valuable insights into our commercial commitments and exit options and was key in helping us achieve our milestones. The central contract has now mobilised to £12 million a year and delivers significant savings to the business, as well as moving us towards standardised specifications, reduced risk and central reporting.
A lot of the project’s success has been due to the level of continuity provided by procurement and the fact that it remains actively involved in the running of the contract alongside the FM team. It is not afraid to challenge our thinking.
I now regularly engage the procurement team in
all aspects of FM procurement and often use it as a sounding board before moving on with key decisions.
It has supported me fully on many issues and our relationship has developed steadily. We complement each other very well and I trust it 100 per cent.
Building a successful relationship
1. A stakeholder relationship that is forced upon a team is far less successful than one where both parties are actively looking to work together
2. Take time to understand the FM team’s objectives and outcome requirements
3. Listen to what your customer is telling you and work hard to gain their trust
4. Be prepared to start off small and increase your influence over time
5. Procurement teams should not be focused on savings, without fully understanding what we do
6. It’s a misconception that the lowest unit cost is always the best option; show your stakeholders how you can add value in other ways.
☛ Trevor Chaplin