Determining Value – A Common Issue for Facilities and Office Managers
Finding the Balance Between Saving Money and Having a Well-Run Premises
Every Facilities and Office Manager at some point in their career will come up against pressure to save money. However, cutting costs can often put a business at risk and result in further costs down the line. Whether new to a role, or facing targets to bring costs down during a longer tenure, Facilities Managers and Office Managers are often put in a position they’d rather not be in.
Reviewing Costs Is Positive When Looking at Value, Not Price
There’s only so much you can cut cost wise before you’ve got rid of a good supplier who gave you a good service and replaced them with a problematic supplier. Maybe they weren’t the cheapest, but they didn’t cause you problems. These problems may cause extra time and effort to be spent, or more critically affect new business or customers directly. Working out what you value from their service, and whether that can still be provided for less money is key to a successful decision and review.
Perhaps you decided to cut the cost regardless, and now you’re stuck with a contract that you’re potentially tied into for three years. You can’t get out of the contract easily, because although the service that they’re providing is substandard, it may not break their terms. And even if it does, trying to get out can be very difficult.
So, the value of a service is critical. To quote Benjamin Franklin, “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”
Promises, Promises, Promises
In the facilities industry, there are regularly situations where suppliers, such as commercial cleaning companies, are forced to compete with a competitor to win a contract. Often, during this quoting process, the Facilities Manager or Office Manager will be promised all sorts of things by the salesperson, and all for a cheaper price. It is a tough job for a Facilities or Office Manager to work out what will be provided and what are just ’empty promises’.
How to Separate Promisers from Deliverers
When comparing quotes for a service, such as a commercial cleaning service, it is important to compare all elements. You can be forgiven for thinking that a lower price is often an indication of cutting corners, but this might not be necessarily true if you approach the subject in the right way. Make sure you check that what you deem important is covered by all quotes before considering them. For example, if you want to have 6 hours of cleaning daily, having a quote which doesn’t specify those hours and suggests a ‘job done’ isn’t going to be easy to monitor and ensure a certain level of service. It is also very subjective. Understanding policies on holiday and sickness cover, inspection regularity, management, safety policies and training will also help to ascertain where the price is varying. If a company is providing a service which is above your requirements, that is an excellent place to save cost.
If they all meet your requirements, but for varying costs, it is worth looking at their reputation and track record.
Some ways to do this are to look at how long the company has been running, what their company is all about and their staff turnover. What sort of clients do they look after and what has the feedback been from them? Have they been open with the breakdown of their costs and service provision, so you don’t feel like they are hiding anything? Did you get a good ‘vibe’ from them and do their staff seem helpful and happy?
If you feel comfortable about all these points, that suggests they are a good choice. Hopefully, that will be a cheaper quote, but be prepared that this might not be the case.