Which facility services are companies outsourcing most often?

Outsourcing facility services, many companies are already doing it. But which services are most often entrusted to an external partner?

The importance of facilities services

“A company building without facilities services is like a house without a household,” is how Tanja Barella, director of the Belgian Facility Management Association (Belfa), described the importance of facility services in an interview.

A generally accepted definition describes it as follows: “Facility services comprise all supporting activities for the primary process of an organisation.” A good facilities service therefore ensures that a company can fully focus on its main activity. The term ‘unburdening’ is used more than once in this context.

Increasingly higher expectations are linked to these facilities services. In terms of quality and efficiency, for example. This prompts many facility managers to call on an external partner.

The facility services that companies in Holland are outsourcing most, are security, cleaning and green maintenance.

Which facility services will be outsourced?

For which services do companies call on such external partners? In Belgium, little research has been done in this area. Therefore, we consulted our northern neighbours. In the Netherlands, the management consultancy firm Twynstra Gudde conducts an annual survey under the heading ‘Facility & workplace management’ on behalf of FMN (Facility Management Netherlands). The figures below come from this market survey, in which 603 facility management professionals participated.

Companies in the Netherlands are outsourcing just over half of their facility services, 54% to be exact, to an external partner.

The services that they are outsourcing most commonly:

  • Green services: 87%
  • Cleaning: 86
  • Security services: 86
  • Textile care: 85
  • Waste management: 81
  • Catering services: 78
  • Technical management and maintenance: 70%

Less than 15% of the respondents therefore still carry out tasks such as green maintenance, cleaning and security under their own management. Remarkable figures which show that tasks that are simple at first sight, are increasingly evolving towards specialist work. Specialist work that is carried out by a specialised partner.

Outsourcing facility management

10% of companies even go a step further. They entrust the entire facility management (including the entire organisation, coordination, monitoring, etc.) to an external IFM partner.

What determines the choice of a facilities service provider?

The Twynstra Gudde researchers asked the participants why they choose a particular facilities service provider. They probed the arguments that determine this choice. One would think that the argument ‘price’ would have top priority, but it is not.

The top five reasons why companies choose a particular facilities partner:

  1. Quality offered in the proposal
  2. Price offered in the proposal
  3. Extent of sustainable products and services
  4. Degree of innovation in the proposal
  5. Agreement with the company’s own values and culture

Quality thus takes precedence over price. A possible explanation is that companies that in the past opted for the cheapest option have retraced their steps and shifted their priorities. They too now want to be completely ‘unburdened’.

Sustainability and innovation are no surprises in this list. It is worth noting that the category ‘Other’ also appears in the top ten. An answer that often recurs here is the way in which the cooperation is given substance. The term ‘partnership’ seems to be gaining ground in the facilities sector, as is also apparent from the answer in fifth place.

If you are interested in a partnership with a facilities service provider, click on this link.

Would you like to consult all results of the Dutch survey, click on this link.

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