14 February 2017 | Anna Stanton
Let me start with a Channel 4 show called Married At First Sight.
The idea - can science help us fall in love? Several couples, matched by a panel of experts, prepare to marry a total stranger. Crazy, perhaps, but it got me thinking: Is there a science behind choosing the right service provider partner?
The FM sector in the UK continues to grow. There are specialists providing single-sourced contracts often for M&E, security and cleaning services, multi-disciplined contractors offering bundled services and total facilities management. The average organisation spends 10 to 20 per cent of their annual sales on FM, so whether you're approaching your first or second 'marriage' there are several criteria to consider.
1. Getting to know each other: Be clear about your requirements (what you need to do and what you want to do) and approach. Remember, this should be a partnership. Ask yourself: "Can I work with this firm? Are they passionate about their business? Will they provide a first-class service?"
2. The prenup: Have a clear contract and set of conditions in place. The contract should set out the scope of services, contract terms and circumstances for termination, fees and payment obligations, how to deal with changes and resolve disputes, non-performance, sub-contractors, copyright, insurances, data protection, confidentiality and TUPE.
3. The promises: A clear specification is vital to set out the scope of works required, key objectives, specific terms of reference and expectations in terms of service standards.
4. Commitment: Make sure both parties are clear about how much it's costing and what happens if there is over or underperformance?
5. Start as you mean to go on: Poor contract mobilisation can have a negative impact on service delivery and is costly so both sides must have a dedicated resource to drive this stage forward.
I can't promise you a match made in heaven, but hopefully you won't need to start divorce proceedings.
Anna Stanton is a senior consultant at LCMB