(photo: Oleg Magni)
27.11.2019, 12:10

From Service Provider to Strategic Partner

Facilities Management, FM Magazine, Sourcing & Procurement, EMEA, UAE

Yunusa Aminu, FM consultant with Dubai-based Gregory & Jones Consultants, makes the case for the wider adoption of ISO 41001:2018 as a benchmark for customer collaboration in facilities management.


The key to a successful Facilities Management service model is collaboration. A collaborative approach between the service provider and demand organization is fundamental to realizing the objectives of any project. A vital step that supports this strategic partnership is the terminology adopted by of the ISO 41000 standards, using the term ‘’demand organization’’ to replace the traditional use of ‘’Client’’. This creates a comfortable platform towards better collaboration.


The most important step in any engagement for a service provider is to understand the objectives of the demand organization. Many service providers enter into contracts with a conventional strategy: to execute a series of pre-planned tasks, meeting traditional Key Performance Indicators.


The pace at which technology is dominating the industry gives rise to a service model that challenges the strategic front of FM. Service delivery execution is fast becoming data driven with the digitization of service approach through real time data processing. The service provider should be equipped with expertise that will enable analyzing this data for providing strategic advice and informed decisions that support the demand organization’s objectives.


Dubai has pioneered smart initiatives that will further enforce the need for demand organizations to seek strategic partners.


A report on Exploring Digital Clusters recently released by Jones Lang Lasalle (JLL) describes this stating ‘’New ‘digital geographies’ are emerging globally as technology and digitalization change the nature of how and where we work and live. Nowhere are these changes more apparent than in Dubai, which has developed a reputation for the rapid adoption of new technologies and radically different approaches to city building.’’ (JLL, 2018).


Disruptive trends such as the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment by the Emirates Green Building Council (EGBC) have seen major developers the likes of Majid Al Futtaim signing up for the commitment which translates into a need to develop more strategic service models to achieve these ambitious goals. Service providers must move away from task-oriented practices to objective oriented strategies to meet these changes.


The demand organization must also shift its focus from solely sourcing the most commercially competitive service provider towards identifying the right strategic partner. Understanding project objectives allows for development of tailored solutions to match the uniqueness of every project.


Many organizations aim to achieve a strategic partnership through a Joint Venture. However, the strategic benefits of setting up a Joint Venture fails in many cases owing to the underlying service model where the demand organization focuses on driving down costs and the service provider is forced to operate with negligible profit margins.

"Both the demand organization and the service provider (in-house or external) should share a mutual vision and understand the desired outcome and objectives of the demand organization". (ISO 41012:2017).


There is a dire need for a shift away from the traditional service models. Both demand organizations and service providers need to embrace the future of service delivery by improving collaboration. Emerging smart cities and digitization in FM will amplify the need for this shift.



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