I keep seeing debates about the issue of whether to outsource or manage in-house, whether full-FM or subcontracted service.
I’m always amused when someone, usually someone with experience only on one side of the equation, or someone selling services, says that one way is better than the other.
This is particularly interesting when the debate about outsourcing includes the definition of IFM (Integrated Facility Management) or similar acronyms, something that truly defies definition in the real world.
Having been in-house, with an FM outsourcing company and a subcontractor, I understand the differences from an ‘on-the-ground’ perspective.
Having conducted outsourcing initiatives, written RFP’s (and written bid responses for FM outsourcing companies), evaluated bid responses for clients, been involved in P3 initiatives from both sides and conducted consulting studies for clients that both recommended an didn’t recommend outsourcing or subcontracting, I have a sense for the differences from a business decision perspective. In fact, I’m now working on a business case to in-source a currently subcontracted service for an organization, and it’s a compelling case. I’m also analyzing the financial case for outsourcing for another client.
So the easy answer, and the only one right answer, is that it depends.
Anyone who has a one-size-fits-all solution doesn’t have your interests in mind. Each organization and each situation is different, so like many other things, the decision has to be made differently. What works for one company may not work for another.
But, as a Facility Manager in a profession that should be shifting more towards business leadership, you should always consider the options and decide with all the information at your disposal, not just with emotions. Look at it closely, assess it objectively, then make your decision, not before.
And that’s the right answer.