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Power balance in FM procurement addressed at FM Leaders Forum

Money_dollars_coins_istock_FMJ_jan12The role of procurement in facilities management (FM) was the latest hot topic debated during the British Institute of Facilities Management’s (BIFM) 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, which comprised a mix of 16 industry professionals**, 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.

Gareth Tancred, the BIFM CEO who chaired the FM Leaders Forum said:

“It sometimes sounds a cliché, but better cross-departmental and organisational working, collaboration, trust and transparency, delivers better results for everyone. Specialist procurement teams can help support the FM particularly around the area of contract negotiation. However, the decision on whether the service being offered is best fit for the organisation, considering all the intricacies involved in delivering FM functions, has to sit with the subject specialist.”

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.

Tancred explained:

“In the current climate everyone wants more for less. However, the desire for short-term reductions in price is often pursued without regard for the long-term reduction in value. One of the key things it particularly highlighted was how these demands impacted on the people left to deliver contracts, operating at grass roots level.”

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. BIFM also intends to work with industry partners and make better use of existing resources (working specifically with the British Standards Institute (BSI) and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS)).

The full details are available in the ‘FM Procurement: Who holds the power?’ discussion paper, which is available for download:

> BIFM Members can access the paper at www.bifm.org.uk/fmlf

> Non-BIFM members can view the paper via www.surveymonkey.com/s/BIFMprocurement


**The full procurement FM Leaders Forum comprised:

> John Bowen, Managing Director, Gulfhaven Business Solutions
> Ashleigh Brown, Head of FM Consultancy, Dovetail FM Recruitment
> Elaine Farrar, Director, CREAS, UBS
> Mark Griffiths, Contract Director, ETDE FM
> Lucy Jeynes, Managing Director, Larch Consulting
> Roger King, Director Projects & Programmes, Telereal Trillium
> Demitri Maldonado, Client Development Director, Vinci Facilities
> Leigh Mapledoram, Programme Area Manager, WRAP
> Clare Ollerenshaw, Project Manager, WRAP
> Mike Packham, Partner, Bernard Williams Associates
> Nicola Paice, Senior Consultant, Appleyards
> David Quinn, Strategic Sourcing Manager, Barclays Bank
> Martin Read, Managing Editor, FM World
> Gareth Tancred, CEO, BIFM
> Wayne Tanner, Head of Vendor Management & Procurement, UBS
> Mark Turvey, Associate Director, Accenture Workplaces Operations



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