Skip to content

News & opinion

30 AUG 2018

Raising the bar: The importance of Procurement in FM

In July, RICS and IFMA published the Professional Statement on the Procurement of Facility Management. Author and Director at PwC, Derrick Tate, shares his insight into the value of raising standards in Facilities Management.

Authoring the statement

In my work at PwC I am trying to raise standards, I want clients to buy and manage FM better and I want suppliers to sell and deliver FM better. This Professional Statement is a great tool for surveying professionals to help us do just that.

Procuring an FM contract is a lot like running a marathon: you start out with a plan; you prepare thoroughly; you think you know what you are doing and what you want to achieve; it all goes according to plan for a while, then you encounter a problem or hit 'the wall', but you keep going. It might take much longer than you expected but eventually you cross the line exhausted. You are happy you have achieved your goal, but later as you suffer aches and pains you begin to doubt if it was worthwhile, you may even regret doing it and wish you had never started. But get it right and you are elated and starting to see the long term benefits of your accomplishment.

I am proud to have authored this document and the response to it has been amazing.

Derrick Tate
PwC Corporate Finance

Using the Professional Statement

The Professional Statement is not rocket science: most of it is common sense. However, this standard is the first step to set out some comprehensive rules and guidelines that should be followed when procuring FM. It’s a framework of simple, straightforward must-do's and a set of guidance notes covering planning, the procurement process and post-procurement activities. My aim was to make sure the basics are done correctly and to provide some guidance of the detail.

Get planning and procurement right and contract management should be straightforward, get them wrong and you will expend a lot of time and effort post-procurement.

The time is now for standards

The FM industry, the economy, and society are undergoing a period of rapid change. This year, we have had the collapse of one of the largest UK outsourced service providers FM companies, next year Brexit will become reality. Technological developments will drive change. FM will not be immune. We are used to buying services that have a cost base primarily made up of people. We know how to price labour, we know how to specify what labour needs to do. How do we price the use of artificial intelligence? How do we evaluate one machine learning algorithm over another? I don’t know the answers to questions like these now, but future editions of this professional statement will have to grasp this concept. Technology will become a key component of FM procurement.

I hope that the Professional Statement is helpful to the industry. Given the engagement work undertaken and stakeholder conversations, I want to see organisations stating in RFPs that they are going to follow the professional statement in their procurement. I hope that FM companies value this and respond to a professionally run procurement process that results in successful procurements and consequently improves contract delivery. I am looking forward to seeing the results.

Related FM news