Facilities management (FM) and procurement need to develop a better relationship according to a panel of experts.
The panellists who contributed to the Trade Interchange webinar hosted last week, stated that a good partnership between FM and procurement is very important.
Les Stratford, chair of the British Institute of Facilities Management said: “Procurement people could be more engaged at an operational level, they should come and meet the client and understand what their drivers are, as well as what the FM team is trying to deliver.”
According to the panel, both functions need to work together to develop a partnership and learn from each other. Stratford added: “Procurement could take more time to explain that FM needs to have a good understanding of process, and explain why decisions need to be made.”
The webinar experts also stated that procurement departments need to take into account the challenges that facilities management has to face. Ian Jones, director of facilities and estates at ITV explained: “My procurement director sat next to my team’s help desk for one year and listened, watched and looked at what we did. He understand what we were trying to do for the company. Once he did that he came to one of the most valuable members of my team.
It was also important for the panellists to note that both FM and procurement bring specific skills to the process. International facilities manager and organisational strategist, Dave Wilson said: “Procurement has got experience of best practice in putting documentation together, it is able to access the executive suite possibly more easily than FM.
“FM is really interested in getting the show on the road and if you are in negotiations it really weakens your hand if you look to eager to get the contract completed. Procurement can pull the reins back.”
Despite the benefits of the two departments building a better relationship, there seems to still be a fundamental disconnect. Jeremy Waud, chairman of Incentive FM Group said: “There is friction as well as frustration between FM and supply management”
Jones added: “FM is always responsible for the service that is being delivered, they are the customer for procurement and the procurement department needs to understand that.”