Power balance in facilities management procurement addressed at FM Leaders Forum
27-02-13 9:0 BIFM
The role of procurement in facilities management (FM) was the latest hot topic debated during the BIFM’s second Facilities Management Leaders Forum. Following this a discussion paper has been published and is being made available to the FM community entitled ‘FM Procurement: Who holds the power?’
Buying power and where it lies within the FM sector was the starting point for the forum, and consensus confirmed procurement of FM is not straight forward. The forum established that in an ideal world, the purchasing decision needs to be shared and made between the FM as well as an organisation’s procurement team. Furthermore, the importance of cultural fit between suppliers and clients cannot be underestimated in the perception and success of procured services.
One concern the paper highlights is that in the current climate costs are being driven down with little regard for where they impact. Therefore, although procurement teams can help with contract negotiations, ultimately understanding and deciding whether it will deliver the performance required has to sit with the FM.
The forum concluded that procurement is about the correct balance of power, which works best where there is open transparency and trust between buyers and suppliers. Procurement does not just stop at the purchase – on-going relationship management is also important. It was thought that these relationships work best when there is joint responsibility drawing on individuals’ area of expertise.
Acting on the conclusions, BIFM intends to continue supporting members through the procurement maze, ensuring FMs have the correct tools to inform others within their organisation, and support them in their roles. This will include the development of procurement case studies and guidance through the Institutes CPD programme.