With rising labour, material and energy costs eating away at FM budgets, facilities managers need to optimise their supplier relationships to get more value for money. But how?

How can you improve the visibility and control around the way you work with third parties? How can you optimise performance and minimise compliance failures when you are dependent on so many different players located in different places? 

Here are 5 tips for getting a grip on your FM supply chain:


1. Sort out your documentation

If you haven’t got a single digital location to store all your key documents, you’re already in danger of losing track of vital data and information. Risk Assessment Methods Statement (RAMS), insurance, warranties, permits to work: all these vital files can float around in different drives, emails and filing cabinets making them difficult to locate and act on when you need to. But collecting them in one place is only half the battle. 

If you’re going to save time, money and control the danger of compliance risks going under the radar, you need to automate your workflows and make sure they’re directing action when it counts. 

Learn how to write and present a world-beating business case for FM software

Structure your data within a CAFM

Using Excel sheets is not enough. You need a proper document management solution as part of CAFM that locks key documents in place and makes them discoverable. A good CAFM will let you use metadata to trigger reminders and alerts, keeping you on top of what needs to be done. It will let you:

  • Set validity periods on documents
  • Trigger auto-alerts for expired documents 
  • Auto-lock contractors if you don’t hold valid required documentation for them
  • Make H&S records accessible and alert you to conduct inspections
  • Manage permits to work - so you always have the proof you need that staff are working legally

2. Improve your first-time fix rate

Improving contractor performance is a two-way street. But providing enough detail for an engineer to deliver better first-time fix rates can be a challenge. The right CAFM should offer the following work order features to improve task management:

  • Work order photos/videos - see the problem in detail
  • Asset-based data on work orders - understand potential issues and come properly equipped
  • Available service history of assets in order to recognise common faults
  • Allow spend uplifts to avoid a repeat visit or having to 'go to quote'

3. Improve service performance management

If you don’t have the data to monitor how your supply chain is performing it’s impossible to benchmark and maintain high standards of service. 

A good CAFM should come with the following tools to report on KPIs and actively manage trends:

  • Dedicated Contractor and Engineer portal
  • Tools to define service priority SLAs
  • Map contractor services to SLAs
  • SLA management of Contractor Responses, Time to Attend and Time to Fix
  • Real-time work order SLA management,tracking and alerts
  • SLA performance reporting
  • Engineer time and attendance tracking

4. Reduce callouts

Many businesses waste money on extra callouts when jobs should be consolidated. 

However, without the data to analyse and the digital tools to automate routing - it’s tricky to identify and action the opportunities. Look for software that can:

  • Deduplicate identical/similar work orders
  • Consolidate work orders for a single visit
  • Give custom reports and trigger notifications to alert you about these opportunities

5. Manage internal resources more efficiently

Many businesses struggle with visibility around work orders assigned to internal engineers. Businesses using spreadsheets and email to manage contractor visits can’t see what is being closed, where problems have arisen and how costs are mounting up. The most effective CAFM tools come with the following features.

  • Mobile friendly engineer portal
  • Custom workflows to keep jobs moving in ways that work for you
  • Time and attendance tracking
  • Engineer management dashboard
  • Performance analysis and reporting
  • Auto assignment of work orders
  • Work order costs reporting
  • Work order SLAs reporting

Using the right CAFM software will help you triage work requests more effectively and give engineers better visibility of their assigned work.

It will track how well they are performing, responding and how long it takes to close down jobs.

This will help you: 

  • Performance manage internal teams
  • Keep teams organised
  • Report more effectively to the wider business
  • Improve overall service

But, here’s the thing

It’s simple enough to list what a business needs to improve the quality and control the costs of their FM function, but it’s more difficult to implement the tools and processes that will actually make the difference. 

Companies who want to take control of their supplier relationships need to find a partner that can help them prioritise the changes that will have the most impact on their operations and guide them through the configuration and launch process. 

Make sure you have a roadmap before you start so you can:

  • Define required processes
  • Set up workflows
  • Migrate documentation
  • Configure reporting
  • Train teams
  • Launch software
  • Optimise performance based on results

If you don’t have that plan, and a partner to guide you, it doesn’t matter how good your software is, it could just end up being unused, unloved and a massive waste of money.

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Josh Greibach

Written by Josh Greibach

Josh Greibach is the CEO & Co-Founder of Expansive Solutions. His passion is delivering value through data-driven strategies. With a proven track record in leading successful teams for both B2C and B2B, Josh now focuses on rocking the world of facilities management with his FM software. He's here to revolutionise the industry and help businesses thrive in our digital-driven world.

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