Ensuring a seamless approach and creating cost efficiencies for customers are key priorities for service providers in facilities management (FM).
David Rose, Head of Projects at Wates FM, shares his thoughts on the increasing value his Special Projects team brings to customers, and to their budgets.
No matter the industry, when a customer has a need, the words ‘we have the answer’ is exactly what they need to hear. At Wates, our business model is based on the solution, whether that’s innovating within the parameters of our contracts, encouraging our customers to use their buildings differently or extending our services to address their challenges. Our Special Projects team forms an integral part of this approach. We are a dedicated team working alongside our FM colleagues to deliver high risk projects; those that require specialist expertise or that fall outside of traditional FM. In doing so, we provide a complementary service that our customers value.
While we work hard to build trust, we are also acutely aware that working with new service providers or building contractors can be viewed as a risk by our customers. When it comes to appointing contractors, there is due process that ensures customers know they are appointing the best people for the job. Nevertheless, there is a degree of trust that is essential to this process. Our customers know us, and so they know that they are getting a strong, professional and expert team. In many cases, the Special Projects team works alongside our FM colleagues with existing customers and this gives us a uniquely trusting relationship from the off.
This has been the case at Twycross Zoo where the FM team has been a partner for six years. The team provides a range of hard FM services across the estate, including external landscaping, mechanical and electrical services, maintenance and refurbishment of the zoo’s 64 buildings. On occasion, our team is brought in to deliver specialist projects. So when the zoo needed a new enclosure for their population of bonobo apes, they called in the Special Projects team, who could apply our specialist expertise in fabric and MEP to create the perfect environment for them. This was done while working alongside our FM colleagues, giving a seamless service, and continuity that is so vital.
While the Special Project team’s aim is always to add value to customers, we also add value to each other as colleagues. When our team embarks on a project alongside our FM colleagues, we can draw on each others’ experience and knowledge . The more strings you have to your bow, the greater your chance of overcoming a challenge. Our experience spans many sectors, from heritage to offices and lots in between, and there are many instances where the unexpected will rear its head, presenting challenges both for us and our customers. The breadth of our expertise means we can find a solution, but more importantly it gives us the confidence that it’s the best solution. We are a team with diverse skills, and this is our greatest strength.”
Creating cost efficiency
Tightening budgets are a growing challenge for all of us as operational costs rise while the need to invest in estates remains unabated. Our customers are continually looking for cost efficiencies, and this is where our business model comes into its own. Working alongside our FM team, our Special Projects team can take on new projects where a customer may have otherwise needed to source a new contractor. Seeking new suppliers or service providers can be a risky, costly and time- consuming process, and so being able to call upon an existing relationship can save both time and money.
We are also in the unique position of being able to link up with our customers’ capital expenditure and planned works pipeline, which enables us to provide tailored and prioritised solutions that deliver efficiencies and economies of scale. This creates a collaborative working environment where our customers can map (and in some cases bring forward) their planned works because they have a robust and expert team at their fingertips.