If you’ve partnered with an expert facility management (FM) service provider, you’re likely experiencing the benefits of cost savings and improved service delivery. Reducing costs, improving efficiency, adopting leading practices and meeting service level agreements – all within the stringent quality and safety requirements in life sciences – are typically the focus of first-generation facilities partnerships. But what incremental and valuable results can you achieve by forging a partnership beyond the first-generation outsourcing agreement?
Consider the bigger picture of how real estate and facilities can advance your business goals. This includes attracting and retaining talent as well as operating an environment that enables breakthrough discoveries. Remote working may be top of mind during the crises like the COVID-19 pandemic—but, ultimately, your organization’s next life-saving treatments will be created in your offices, laboratories and production facilities.
However, creating appealing and productive workplaces requires some upfront investment—and that’s where you can take your FM partnership to new heights. By continuing to unlock FM cost savings, your FM partner can free up budget to invest in the engaging and inspiring workplaces so critical for your talent strategy.
The secret of success? View your second- and third-generation FM outsourcing as a true partnership; as an opportunity to unlock additional cost savings, stimulate innovation, enhance the human experience. All with a sense of mutual trust. The following are key ways that next-generation FM outsourcing can lead to powerful outcomes.
Unlock additional cost savings
In an initial FM outsourcing partnership, the FM service provider typically finds many ways to quickly reduce costs while improving building operations and efficiency. Achieving additional savings requires a willingness to try new approaches, with more flexibility and creativity. In some instances, organizations have achieved additional cost reductions quickly by consolidating their FM service providers.
For one Southern California-based global biotechnology company that has progressed beyond second-generation outsourcing, creativity is revealing new savings strategies. Each year, the company’s FM partner holds a cost-savings workshop in which leaders of each facility and service area propose new ways to reduce costs. By implementing the most promising ideas, the FM team has been able to reduce costs by as much as 4% at most sites for three years in a row.
Flexibility also led to new savings in the next-generation outsourcing journey of a New Jersey-based, research-intensive biopharmaceutical company. The company’s FM service provider transitioned accounts payable management from a client-specific team to a centralized financial services center that processes accounts payable for multiple FM clients—while maintaining service quality. The FM team also is helping the company adopt a workplace design toolkit based on cost-efficient Lean design and construction methodology, along with a program to inspect equipment in the 11 months before warranties expire to capture warranty savings.
The spark of innovation
Pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies often look to innovate and create the next breakthrough medicines, devices or diagnostics. Innovation can also take different forms in these organizations, including adopting new and reimagined real estate and facilities strategies. Often, powerful improvements to the human experience – to the employee experience – are the result of unique FM approaches. Building innovation into your FM partnership can not only lead to new solutions that empower employees and improve your workplaces—but can also lead to new cost savings to fund those new solutions.
Recognizing the opportunities, some leading life sciences companies are incorporating innovation—and innovation roadmaps—into the performance scorecard and compensation structure for their FM service providers.
From reduced waste to improved equipment uptime. Environmental sustainability has been a major FM innovation priority at San Francisco area-based biotechnology company focused on serious and life-threatening medical conditions. In addition to implementing a composting program, the FM team also is helping the biotechnology leader pursue zero waste goals through waste management and landfill diversion strategies that have reduced the company’s landfill waste by 16%.
This biotechnology leader is also taking a unique approach to their FM operations. They’re adopting next-generation reliability-based maintenance, in which maintenance and repairs are implemented according to the condition of the equipment rather than by a fixed schedule. To assess equipment condition, the FM team uses sophisticated technologies, such as pressure gauges and vibration monitors, that reveal whether equipment needs repair or replacement—or can continue operating as is. Through this new approach, the company has been able to improve equipment uptime, as well as reduce maintenance costs by avoiding unnecessary repairs and replacements.
Follow the innovation roadmap. Central to the adoption of new ideas at the previously referenced New Jersey biopharma company is a collaborative innovation roadmap. Aligning the FM service provider’s proposed innovations and best practices with the company’s business goals, the innovation roadmap provides a detailed review of new solutions, along with peer benchmarking, to inform decision-making and create a path toward adoption of future innovations.
Like the latter company, the Southern California-based biotechnology leader also has adopted an FM innovation roadmap that has led to cost savings and process improvements. For example, the innovation roadmap led to the company’s investment in automated floor cleaners for use in highly controlled production spaces. The automated scrubbers polish floors much more quickly than human workers can—and the reduced cost has led to six-figure savings.
Flexibility, flexibility, flexibility. Can you shorten the product lifecycle through an FM partnership? Forward-thinking life sciences companies have capitalized on real estate and facilities strategies that promote flexibility and adaptability. Take labs and other research and development (R&D) facilities as an example of how nimbleness can come to life. Through an FM partnership, you can both design and configure labs for flexibility and collaboration. Ones which allow scientists and data engineers to quickly shift layouts and accommodate increased research output. A global biotechnology company worked with their FM service provider to configure mobile benches, move their technical infrastructure, and add retractable electrical coils in the ceiling. Their service provider created a space utilization approach that elevated the transition to unassigned spaces – one which allows for quick adaptation during COVID-19.
Enhance the human experience
With innovation and continued cost savings, enhancing the human experience can become a major focus of your FM partnership without losing sight of the fundamentals of keeping your buildings operating efficiently and safely. Competition for talented scientists and computational researchers is fierce—and your FM partner can help you inspire innovation and elevate the employee experience with responsive amenities, services and workplace technologies.
Treat employees as guests. At the previously referenced San Francisco area company, for instance, the FM partner provides a concierge who helps employees obtain workplace services. In addition, the concierge trains custodial staff and other FM personnel to be unobtrusive, yet helpful, and to go the extra mile to provide high-quality experiences for employees.
Take the lead in the competition for talent. After a decade with a trusted, reliable FM partner, a New York City-based biopharmaceutical innovator and its long-time service provider recognized that talent retention and recruitment was becoming a competitive imperative.
Now, the company’s FM team is helping win the war for talent through hospitality-focused FM and related services to support talent recruitment and retention. And, the organization and its FM partner are creating a digital technology roadmap to introduce new workplace and FM technologies that will improve the human experience, streamline FM operations and support data-driven decision-making.
The FM team also is helping integrate a flexible space model, incorporating coworking or short-term leased spaces into the biopharmaceutical company’s corporate real estate portfolio. With flexible space options, the corporate real estate team will be able to actually generate revenue while helping win the war for talent through dynamic workplaces in key locations.
Reinvigorate and reshape the partnership into a powerful new model
There are many ways that FM partnerships can help an organization achieve strategic business goals.
Where first-generation FM outsourcing partnerships often focus on prescribed tasks and service levels, unlocking the next level of value from the FM partnerships often requires a remaking of the partnership concept—regardless of whether you retain or replace your current service provider.
Often, the initial years of FM outsourcing are focused on essential goals and the basics of operating more efficiently, adopting leading practices and ensuring that employee requests are addressed.
When further along the outsourcing journey, it’s important to take stock of opportunities and reinvigorate the partnership—or reshape it into a powerful new model. Ideally, the first phase also creates a culture of trust and collaboration with the FM service provider, providing a strong foundation for reinvigorating the partnership.
For the Southern California-based biotechnology company, next-generation FM outsourcing opened the door to a different kind of relationship altogether. Rather than simply continuing “business as usual,” the company and its FM partner reviewed their relationship and jointly created a vision of how the partnership should work moving forward.
The resulting “Vested” partnership model is based on a “what’s in it for we” mindset that aligns the FM service provider’s work with jointly defined business outcomes. By focusing on the “what” of outcomes, rather than the “how” of performing specific tasks, the model is designed to drive innovation and create transformational results by unleashing the expertise and creativity of the FM partner. The partnership agreement includes an innovation key performance indicator (KPI) that incentivizes the FM partner to bring best practices and new ideas to improve operations, and to collaborate with the biotechnology company’s other service providers regardless of scope.
To streamline governance in the new model, the company and its FM partner created a two-in-one-box structure that matches client and FM service provider counterparts to lead FM work. The linked partners focus on overall FM objectives and monitor the progress of programs at each site. Any unmet KPI becomes an opportunity to jointly create a solution, in a relationship based on open communication, trust and honesty.
Realizing the potential of your FM outsourcing partnership
When your organization is approaching contract renewal time with a FM partner, it’s important to step back and consider what your FM partnership could potentially accomplish. Ideally, your FM partner will proactively initiate a discussion about how your relationship can evolve, and will suggest potential solutions to advance your goals.
As you advance in your facilities, next-generation FM outsourcing offers an opportunity to tap the full potential of your FM partnership and realize new possibilities for value creation.
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