Eurest Services: A Healthy Appetite for FM Outsourcing – Steve McGregor

Outsourcing support services to a single global service provider can remove operational complexity and deliver bottom line results, says Steve McGregor, international business development director at Eurest Services.

In an economic climate where companies need to 'stick to their knitting', the burden of managing a myriad of support services, from the staff restuarant to the reception desk, has made the option of using a third-party provider an increasingly attractive one.

Eurest Services, a business unit of the FTSE 100-listed Compass Group, has been providing facilities management (FM) services - and in some cases integrated FM (IFM) services - for many years, to companies ranging from National Grid to Shell. International business development director Steve McGregor, the executive behind many of the firm's deals, explains why IFM outsourcing has become a CFO concern, and highlights the importance of standardisation and consistency in these types of deals.

How do you define IFM? How does Eurest Services fit into this category?

Our broad definition of IFM is the full outsourcing of a client's property and real estate functions, including all of the FM components.

Another definition, which is also referred to as an 'integrated support services' or 'multi-service' model, is where a single supplier constructs an integrated solution that leverages and maximises a 'manage and do' model that has self performance at its core across the fullest suite of hard (e.g. technical, building services, maintenance and operation), soft (e.g. catering, cleaning, external grounds, security) and business office (mail, reprographic, reception) services. Over the past ten years Compass Group has been proactively building its multi-service capability across a number of sectors - including business and industry, healthcare, offshore, remote and defence - in order to compliment our world-leading catering services pedigree, and in direct response to our clients' needs and objectives.

What has caused IFM deals to gain the attention of CFOs?

From our experience the challenging 'new economy' has been a catalyst for accelerating towards efficiency outcomes within the business and industry sector. The financial levers are many; as well as the usual headcount reduction and upfront savings, they include improved cash flow, risk transfer and greater budget visibility. By not having to invest in in-house service provision, a client's balance-sheet performance improves, and by having a single service provider offering performance management information and financial reports, considerable time and resources are saved.

Who are the key stakeholders in IFM deals? Where does the CFO fit in? How are these types of outsourcing relationships governed?

There are a number of governance models dependent upon scale, nature, scope and geographies. Typically they consist of executive sponsors (often including the CFO), user representatives, and operational, HR, finance, procurement, legal, health, safety and environmental teams. The client's senior finance leadership is often challenged with creating and evaluating request-for-proposal submission templates, revenue projections and baseline spends as savings-based details.

Our most successful international deals follow tried-and-tested processes that leverage our proven 'matched-pair model' to ensure effective and transparent relationship contact, single international agreements and consistent benchmarks, and of course enable web-enabled reporting and analysis. This brings increased pace and effectiveness in decision-making, clarity, and consistency of performance against key performance indicators. Simply put, if you can't measure it, you can't manage it.

How does Eurest Services maintain consistent standards of service delivery across geographies?

Standardisation and consistency has been an area of considerable investment for Compass Group, culminating in a single global operating platform, the Compass Service Framework. Our solution is an award-winning, home-built system that first defines our globally applied service management model, captures and publishes our global operational service procedures, and finally determines the computer-aided FM and knowledge management platform we need to effectively operate on or with. Another important aspect is our ability to pull together a global community of practice experts. This community is pivotal to driving innovation and standardisation.

Each country has a member for each service line (from cleaning and security through to office services and project management) and together they work as an international community. They review local country practices, innovations and industry developments to determine the best available practices; they become our delivery procedures.