Dutch companies go from cleaning to FM

24th of October 2013
Dutch companies go from cleaning to FM

As Dutch correspondent Nico Lemmens of ISS Facility Services reports, more and more cleaning companies are broadening their scope of services.

As reported in ECJ’s last edition, more and more Dutch cleaning companies are broadening their service scope, often in collaboration with other facility service businesses like catering and security companies. International research shows that the Facility Management (FM) industry is evolving from bundling services towards an industry that provides workplace management solutions.

Management within the FM industry needs to better centre its activities towards providing more customer-oriented approaches towards service delivery.

FM providers’ service concepts need to go beyond looking at the workspace as a built environment for increasing efficiency and reducing costs. They need to offer service-centric approaches that reflect, support and improve core organisations’ strategic objectives, brand, culture, and workplace productivity at the right price point.

To do this, the FM industry is evolving towards providing a range of workplace management solutions. The challenge for FM providers is that these solutions are becoming increasingly intangible and rely on customers’ subjective judgements of how well they support core organisations’ goals and values.

Workplaces are part of a ‘total value’ bubble where organisations can shape the experience that customers and employees have when interacting with companies. This experience covers the entire workplace experience from traditional, hierarchical office designs (private cubicles and offices with regular seating) to more mobile solutions (remote work, hot desks, and project-related seating).

The transition towards service-centric delivery in workplace management requires that FM providers focus on three elements: intangibility, customer integration, and heterogeneity of services. Intangibility: FM services are increasingly performances, actions and experiences. They cannot be judged according to the same criteria as normal tangible goods.

Customer integration: FM services in the future cannot be provided without extensive customer integration and even co-creation, where customers co-create and co-provide services. Some services require little customer involvement, while others are highly customer-centric.

Heterogeneity: ensuring consistent service in the face of service heterogeneity remains a key challenge for FM providers. Services become heterogeneous because they are performed by humans (performance can vary daily) and because customers’ requirements can change over time in a hyper-competitive, global economy.

To be on the leading edge of providing customer-centric services, FM providers must be aware of the challenges that core organisations face. Cleaning companies that are broadening their service scope, must know what they are up against.


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