IFMA Slice of Orange Newsletter Feb. 2024

The Best Third-Party Contractor

Third party contractors play a vital role in facilities management. They are used for a variety of important tasks ranging from specialty equipment servicing to inventory auditing, compliance testing, routine servicing, and preventive maintenance. What are we looking for from these third-party contract firms? We want them to service equipment that our staff cannot; we want to reduce overall costs, we want efficiency; we want accuracy particularly when it comes to regulatory compliance all the way to fixing the right HVAC on the roof; we want timely actions; we want to prevent major incidents; we want an overall increase in productivity and keep our buildings running smoothly. We want to be able to make decisions faster and more accurately based on third party provider feedback. A provider that can do all of this and more would be our definition of an ideal or best third-party contractor. So, what are the hurdles in the path of a third-party contractor that prevents them from meeting your ideal contractor criteria? Let’s examine a few of these:

Productivity: Our facility is large, its complex, our facilities manager spends half a day just accompanying the third-party contractors through our site so they can understand where everything is at and identify the specific mechanicals that needs attention. What a waste of our time and theirs as well. We can’t shrink our facility or change the layout or reduce the assets, we need find a way to increase productivity and thereby reduce our costs drastically.
Direct costs: We recently asked a VP at a major facilities management company about how often their third-party contractors fix equipment that wasn’t broken due to their inability to locate the broken equipment and the answer was ‘it happens all the time’ and what is worse is that they paid for the contractor to go out to the site twice – lots of time and money wasted. How do we accurately locate the broken mechanical so that the contractor finds and fixes the correct one, the very first time.
Time is money: Third party contractors aren’t at your facility every day, so they aren’t as familiar; they constantly have new employees that are still learning. They get lost frequently; they circle around looking for a piece of equipment to fix or a critical panel to check; they are frustrated at how difficult it is to find them, and you are frustrated that you were paying overtime while they were searching for the location and asset. Even routine tasks like collecting from recycling bins are hard if the bin is not easily visible, recycled paper piles up and overflows until the next scheduled pick up.

Attracting talent, whether it is to your facilities team or for the third-party contractor, is hard and these types of issues that cause employees wandering around the facility with an archaic floor plan or a spreadsheet printed out or the more expensive way of having a senior person on your staff walk the contractor from location to location cause a lot of frustration. Nobody wants to do tasks that have zero value add. So, what is a possible solution? Fortunately, there is one, a solution that can move your current third-party contractor towards your definition of ideal. That solution is a digital version of your facility via an app on your phone or tablet, this app works like the GPS in your car, all the assets are tagged, any problem assets are highlighted, you are guided from the parking lot all the way to the specific mechanical that needs to be fixed; to all of the panels and sprinklers and fire extinguishers that you need to inspect. All of the prior inspection notes, special instructions are all on the digital map on your phone; the third party no longer needs your senior personnel babysitting them, the audit work is done 8 times faster, the right mechanical is fixed and fixed the very first time, saving you money. You can make faster decisions at lower costs and spend your time on important topics that aren’t emergencies. Your team will love you; your contractors magically tend towards ideal.
Want to give it a try? Call InMapz, our app does all of this and way more for less than it costs for coffee.

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