Is outsourcing maintenance services good or bad?
To get a proper answer, first we have to understand what outsourcing is all about. Outsourcing is used everywhere, for the most varied reasons and contexts, and it means handing over to someone a task, responsibility or assignment.
Outsourcing has been a part of our lives for a long time. Ever since someone first bought a rope made of horsehair, around 5 thousand years BC, outsourcing of product manufacturing was introduced.
Historical background aside, here in our Maintenance, Asset Management and Facilities Management businesses, the outsourcing of services is an important aspect of the company’s strategic structure.
We highly recommend reading our article on BCM – Business Centered Maintenance. The decision regarding outsourcing in the Maintenance department, no matter what sector, has to be in accordance with the success of the company’s business.
To outsource or not to outsource, that is the question.
Does everyone need to outsource in Maintenance? The answer is no.
Is there anything in Maintenance that can’t be outsourced? The answer is also no.
The important thing to understand is that, ultimately, outsourcing means delegating and a lot of people don’t quite perceive its meaning.
The biggest recommendation is that when seeking a project, the employer should clearly list what he wants, and then you decide if it’s worth outsourcing a service or not. This list, if well described, is called scope. The scope of what we are able to do, with our own resources and staff, and what can be done by someone outside my company (without forgetting the costs and the outcomes from that project).
The following step in this roadmap is to make sure that information management is at your disposal, with or without outsourcing. Good software can bring you that peace of mind. See some tips in our article on 26 reasons to have a good asset management software.
Once it has been decided to start outsourcing, it is essential to ensure that all the supplying companies, which will engage in the process and later provide the services, are in-line, following the same guidelines, enabling the technical leveling of the proposals to, at last, help in the decision of hiring (or not) and in tracking the performance, regardless of the region where the assets are located.
The most effective outsourcing is defined, from the beginning, by how the services are assessed and is guided by the SLAs (Service Level Agreement) and its KPI’s – Performance Indicators, from the teams involved, personnel attended and the functioning of the equipment and facilities under care.
The Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Maintenance Services
Let us take a closer look at whathappens in Building Maintenance. Buildings house all the environments in which people spend their time – hotels, shopping malls, hospitals, offices – and production operations – factories, oil platforms, steel mills.
The maintenance of these facilities is often very expensive and does not fit into the strategies of its intended purpose, compromising the availability of the infrastructure for operation/production.
Building Maintenance has become an integral part of our daily routine to the point where it is considered strategic for the company to meet its objectives and be competitive.
The compliance of the organizational environment facilities and the ongoing provision of ancillary services is demanding more and more competency in management, from planning to execution, not to mention control. This is where outsourcing comes in. Or not.
The results from an survey on Outsourcing show us what has changed from one year to another. Check the table below to see the evolution of the main factors that drive outsourcing:
Depending on your point of view, several interpretations can be assessed given the numbers that the search has provided us. But certain things are clear, such as that the main reason for outsourcing portions or entire areas remains, by far, the search for expertise.
Disadvantages of Outsourcing Maintenance Services
Based on the same source as the survey mentioned, we have a good indication of what problems we may face when outsourcing maintenance services. Here are the main challenges in implementing and managing outsourcing:
- Labour/Workforce efficiency;
- Quality in Supplier Management;
- Service Continuity;
- Results Display;
- Labour turnover;
- Complex Legislation;
- Relationship Difficulties (Internal Public).
Advantages of Outsourcing
After the cons, here are the pros. These are some advantages in outsourcing maintenance services:
- Technical Expertise (know-how);
- Supplier Availability;
- Facilities Availability;
- Risks Mitigation;
- Legislation Compliance.
There’s no outsourcing model that attends every company, because outsourcing doesn’t solve all problems. You should take our tips into account and try to evaluate your situation carefully before making a decision on outsourcing maintenance services or having them done internally.