Administrative & Cost Benefits of Exterior Services Management®
The Cost of Exteriors Management
Do you have a complete understanding of the costs associated with exterior services? Have you ever analyzed how much time and effort is spent managing your exteriors? I have spoken with countless facility managers at the regional and corporate level and each has given an estimate of anywhere between 10 and 20 percent of their resources are spent managing their exterior services. However, management is a time factor. What about the direct costs of managing your exteriors? Do you have a clear comprehension of the dollars spent in processing, management, training and labor? Many people do not fully evaluate the associated costs and the inevitable effect on resources and the bottom line. Nor do they realize the extensive benefits and savings gained by utilizing an Exterior Services Management (ESM) company.
De-centralization and Its Inherent Costs
Companies with numerous locations in a regional or national footprint face a daunting challenge. First and foremost is establishing consistency of service and brand across various locations. The second challenge is attempting to manage several sites spread over a large geographic area. These locations can potentially be served by hundreds of contractors who, in turn, can generate thousands of work orders and invoices. Unfortunately, many people only address the conduct of the work in the field and give little or no time to realizing the additional costs associated with managing a large portfolio of locations.
There are additional costs associated with a de-centralized operation that may not necessarily affect the bottom line, but clearly impact your brand and customer perceptions. If each location level manager is responsible for his or her exteriors, you are left with numerous location exteriors that present a different perception to each customer. You have not achieved your exterior “brand”. Costs are much more difficult to monitor and your district or regional personnel do not have the “on location” time necessary to ensure consistent and economical services. Location level personnel are primarily concerned with operations, customers and sales, as they should be. They possibly lack the education in the myriad of knowledge required to achieve effective total exterior management to ensure aesthetic and customer-attracting exteriors. Fortunately, there is an answer to these dilemmas. ESM provides a cohesive and centralized way for the regional or corporate level management to monitor their locations and, in turn, reduce their costs, increase their “on location” time and offer a consistent aesthetic brand to their customers.
Advantages of Centralization
Listed below are a few of the various benefits and direct cost savings that a professional ESM company will provide through detailed and thorough management of your locations.
- Economies of consolidation – By packaging your locations into one well-managed contract, you gain consistency and centralized control. Additionally, most ESM companies will offer discounts or extended contract options that can drastically reduce your costs.
- Reduction of staffing, paperwork and processing – The systems employed by an ESM company may significantly reduce or eliminate the high administrative costs associated with managing hundreds of locations and contractors. Each month, you will receive only one invoice that details all services provided. Work orders are handled in a similar fashion and the processing cost is often diminished by greater than 70 percent.
- Call center loads – An expert ESM company will provide you with a format to handle any inquiry calls with professional monitoring, tracking and resolution. This eliminates the need for expensive call centers and allows your field people to focus on the customer rather than the exterior.
- Risk management – A professional ESM company will provide substantial blanket liability coverage to your exteriors and their operations. This will considerably reduce the demands on your staff for updating and maintaining hordes of insurance certificates, business licenses and contractor-related certifications.
- Quality Assurance – The problem of “on location” awareness is completely eliminated through the use of a comprehensive quality assurance program. Trained professionals will inspect your facilities on a regular basis and provide all of the media and reporting necessary to manage your exteriors from an “off-site location”. Web-enabled data provides you with all of the information necessary to ensure that the brand you choose to project is achieved.
- Personal Relationships – Some companies elect to leave important exteriors decisions and management issues at the location level because they see centralization as difficult and intimidating to the location level manager. This could not be further from the truth. An ESM company will establish a working relationship with the location level managers, which gives them a sense of involvement and ownership. Regular visits by the ESM staff ensure that your location managers are in the loop with the benefit of brand consistency and cost saving management from above.
What is not using an ESM company costing you?
Ask yourself these questions to garner a sense of the actual costs of exterior services management.
- What are the cost differences between processing hundreds of invoices versus just one electronically submitted invoice?
- How much travel expense is associated with district, regional and corporate-level facility management?
- What costs result from managing multitudes of insurance certificates and sub-contractor contracts over a region as large as the United States?
- Do you have assurance that your risk management is 100 percent?
- How many hands touch a work order at your company from the moment of the initial call-in to the point of completion and payment? Your call center? Corporate facility manager? Regional management? Location management? Accounting? Mailroom?
- Are your call center expenses higher than you prefer? Is your call center workload taxing your current resources?
- How do you want your location personnel spending their time?
- Do you have a complete exterior service program? Landscape, irrigation, parking lot maintenance, snow removal, etc. that meets your expectations and needs and projects your brand?
- Do you have accurate historical data and costs recorded by service? By location? By district or region? Would you like to?
The ESM Choice
If you were able to develop an exact, or concrete, cost to any of the questions above, you are now on your way to understanding the costs associated with exteriors management. If you want to minimize administrative costs, increase consistency of brand, allow your team more time to concentrate on the customer and achieve professional exteriors management with vital information always at your fingertips, then you may be a candidate for ESM. A professional ESM company can achieve these benefits and soft cost savings with minimal transition and immediate savings of time, money and resources to you.