As austerity measures bite we need innovation and alternative business models in FM. The new BS 11000 will harness collaboration across public and private sectors
by David E Hawkins
9 December 2010
The time is right, then,for the publication of the landmark British Standard (BS) 11000 Collaborative Business Relationships. It is the first national standard in the world to address collaborative business relationships.
It is not a one-size solution, but rather a framework that can be scaled and adapted to meet business needs.
It was formally launched in the House of Lords on 7 December and represents the work of a pan-industry group based on that of Partnership Sourcing Limited, part of the British Standards Institutes Associate Consultancy Programme.
A breakthrough standard
Relationship management and collaborative working has been with us for many years under various guises such as partnering, alliances and consortiums. Yet today it is more pertinent than ever to look at how these approaches can be more effectively integrated to create value and build sustainable relationships.
BS 11000 is a breakthrough standard, not just for BSI, but for the whole of industry, indeed, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has already committed to adopting it. It began as an eight-stage approach to successful business collaboration in the public and private sectors, and has expanded its scope to address a wider audience, including small and medium-sized enterprises.
BS 11000 highlights key elements for success. It provides a common lifecycle route map for ease of integration and a measurable platform to monitor progress. Its publication is a foundation for developing sustainable relationships.
Collaborative approaches have been shown to deliver a wide range of benefits, enhancing competitiveness and performance, for example, improvements in cost, time, resource and risk management,and incremental business value and innovation.
Partners working with BS 11000 will share knowledge, skills and resources that will help them meet mutually defined objectives and provide new levels of value creation.
BS 11000 does not enforce a single rigid approach but has been focused on providing a framework that can complement existing approaches. It recognises that every relationship has its own unique considerations.
For those organisations with well-established processes, the framework provides a common language that can aid implementation and engagement. For those starting out on the journey it creates a roadmap for development.
The BSI certification programme, launched in April 2009, establishes a measurable independent assessment for internal benchmarking of continuous improvement and people development, together with independent validated pan-industry recognition of an organisation’s collaborative capability in the marketplace.
It creates a robust framework for the public and private sectors to provide a neutral platform for establishing effective collaborative programmes for mutual benefit.
Its core value is commonality of language and application between delivery partners leading to improved/better integration. Acting as a bridge between cultures it reduces confusion, give participants confidence and provides a common foundation and language.
The standard provides a basis for benchmarking the collaborative capability of organisations both internally and externally through BSI independent assessment which will enhance partner evaluation and selection and establish market differentiation.
It brings a consistent yet flexible approach that provides a foundation for efficiency and repeatability across programmes and an increased opportunity to focus on developing value. It will also aid the development of capability at working level.
The standard creates a measure to promote customer confidence and a focus for more effective joint risk management, both in the challenges of specific programmes and collaborative working. It reduces the likelihood of misunderstandings, a mismatch of objectives, constrains hidden agendas and reduces the probability of conflict.
It establishes a consistent and structured approach to facilitating a focus on integration of collaborative working within operational procedures, processes and systems.
Thus it creates a platform for more effective governance, speeding the development, and establishes a baseline to support resource development and training to increase collaborative capability to enhance skills and interchange abilities of personnel.
Meeting the challenge
In short, BS 11000 is a standard framework that will promote better engagement and effectiveness through strengthened business processes, while improving risk management, enhancing dispute resolution and providing a basis for skills development.
Most importantly the standard will improve the potential for sustainable relationships that deliver value.
The challenge for the FM community then, is to embrace the austere economic demands that lie ahead – and create innovative solutions to meet those demands.
An executive briefing on BS 11000 and collaborative working for facilities managers, sponsored by Emcor, will be published with FM World next month
David E Hawkins is operations director at PSL and architect of BS 11000
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