Tricks Of The Trade: "In Or Out?"

Tricks Of The Trade Columnist Kevin Folsom revisits the age old question about outsourcing and provides some pros and cons. From the May 2013 issue.
Tricks Of The Trade Columnist Kevin Folsom revisits the age old question about outsourcing and provides some pros and cons. From the May 2013 issue.

Tricks Of The Trade: “In Or Out?”

Tricks Of The Trade: "In Or Out?"

By B. Kevin Folsom, CEP
Published in the May 2013 issue of Today’s Facility Manager

QWhat are the pros and cons of outsourcing facilities management functions? Are certain functions better to outsource than others?

Thomas Benes
Facilities Operations and Services
OGE Energy Corp
Oklahoma City, OK

AAs always in the facilities management world there is no easy answer. However, I’ll make an effort to address the basic pros and cons of each approach.

Insourcing of facilities management is only as a good as the leader leads, manages, hires, and fires. Some of the pros of insourcing are that staff members tend to have more ownership and pride in their work and that safety training is specific to the institution. One con is that there are a lot of details to be managed.

Outsourcing facilities management is only as good as the contract is written and the work is inspected. The pros are: there tends to be less details to manage and, overall, outsourcing is often less expensive. The cons are that the contractor has less ownership and motivation to look out for the institution (e.g., its energy efficiency). Also, the contractor will most likely be generally, rather than specifically, safety trained.

It seems that the easiest outsourcing option is one that does not deal directly with facility occupants or highly confidential areas. I seem to find it easier to train in-house staff how to deal with our building occupants and manage high security areas. Your customers may not remember what you do, but they will remember how you make them feel.

Something else to consider is available contracting services in your area. You don’t want to be stuck with the only contractor in town that provides the desired service. The same goes with in-house staffing. Always remain apprised of the contractors that can backfill a competency where a specialized staff member may abruptly leave.

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