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Tricks Of The Trade: “In Or Out?”

Written by Tricks Of The Trade Columnist. Posted in Ask The Expert, Columnists, Facility Management, Featured Post, Magazine, Professional Development, Topics, Tricks of the Trade

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Published on June 21, 2013 with No Comments

By B. Kevin Folsom, CEP
Published in the May 2013 issue of Today’s Facility Manager

QWhat are the pros and cons of outsourcing facilities management functions? Are certain functions better to outsource than others?

Thomas Benes
Facilities Operations and Services
OGE Energy Corp
Oklahoma City, OK

AAs always in the facilities management world there is no easy answer. However, I’ll make an effort to address the basic pros and cons of each approach.

Insourcing of facilities management is only as a good as the leader leads, manages, hires, and fires. Some of the pros of insourcing are that staff members tend to have more ownership and pride in their work and that safety training is specific to the institution. One con is that there are a lot of details to be managed.

Outsourcing facilities management is only as good as the contract is written and the work is inspected. The pros are: there tends to be less details to manage and, overall, outsourcing is often less expensive. The cons are that the contractor has less ownership and motivation to look out for the institution (e.g., its energy efficiency). Also, the contractor will most likely be generally, rather than specifically, safety trained.

It seems that the easiest outsourcing option is one that does not deal directly with facility occupants or highly confidential areas. I seem to find it easier to train in-house staff how to deal with our building occupants and manage high security areas. Your customers may not remember what you do, but they will remember how you make them feel.

Something else to consider is available contracting services in your area. You don’t want to be stuck with the only contractor in town that provides the desired service. The same goes with in-house staffing. Always remain apprised of the contractors that can backfill a competency where a specialized staff member may abruptly leave.

About Tricks Of The Trade Columnist

Tricks Of The Trade Columnist

Folsom is director of campus operations at Trinity Christian Academy in Addison, TX. Previously, he was director of facilities & plant operations, and energy procurement & efficiency at Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, TX, where he worked for 25 years. He is the recipient of numerous awards from the associations of Higher Education Facility Officers and Energy Engineers for facility and energy management practices, industry leadership and involvement, and writing. He has also provided facilities assessment consulting to several organizations through All questions have been submitted via the “Ask The Expert” portion of the magazine’s web site. To pose a question, visit this link.

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