Upstream - The Newsletter of Incentive FM Group

UK Businesses are missing a trick

Incentive FM Group DirectorsDirectors and senior managers in many UK businesses are missing out on substantial savings and efficiencies in the way their buildings and working environments operate, according to Jeremy Waud, managing director at Incentive FM Group.

“They tend to see facilities management as a necessary fixed overhead and never think to benchmark it or commercially challenge it in a way they would in other parts of their business,” says Waud. “Yet, when a company is prepared to be open minded about change, there are significant financial rewards to be had.”

A good example of this is the major consultancy project Incentive FM Group undertook for Northcliffe Newspapers, which involved a full review of all the facilities management operations. It covered numerous properties nationwide and identified savings in the region of £700,000 – around 10 per cent of Northcliffe’s estimated facilities management spend of £7m.

In addition, Incentive FM created a facilities management strategy and implementation plan designed to improve services and increase efficiencies. A standardised best practice model for facilities management delivery across Northcliffe Newspapers was introduced.

One of the barriers for companies to overcome is the fact that FM budgets are often split across a number of departments such as property, estates, HR or facilities, meaning that each departmental budget is individually relatively low and often flies under the finance director’s radar. These departments are run by in-house teams who are generally interested in maintaining the status quo, rather than challenging the current model and outsourcing more activity.

“It’s a bit like asking turkeys to vote for Christmas,” explains Waud. “They automatically assume that any suggestions made by an external consultant or third-party contractor are a criticism of their working practices and the outcome will inevitably involve cutting heads.

“At the very least, companies should consider a ‘healthcheck’, which in every case I have seen is covered many times over in savings made,” he concludes.Incentive FM Consultancy

By Jeremy Waud, Incentive FM Group Managing Director