Building owners and managers use requests for proposals (RFP) for a variety of reasons, from selecting office furniture to hiring a HVAC vendor. An RFP is often intended to provide procurement with an objective, transparent and cost-effective way to select a product, vendor or service provider for their facility.
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RFPs have worked well for decades, especially when comparing bids for a single service. Now the RFP process is so much more – offering an opportunity to examine the office environment of today and how a new solution provider can enhance the workplace experience of tomorrow.
In many of today’s corporate buildings, traditional private offices have been replaced with open, collaborative workspaces for everyone, including the C-Suite. According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, Silicon Valley has been at the forefront of developing open workstations because they believe there is a “tight correlation between personal interactions, performance and innovation, [and as a result] they are building cathedrals reflecting this.”
A perfect example of such a “cathedral” is a tech company’s new headquarters in Northern California that boasts an open workspace a mile long. While the tech companies of Silicon Valley may have been the launchpad for this trend, open workspaces have spread across the country – and all industries.
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With this new office footprint there are higher expectations regarding the workplace environment. Corporations can now outsource to expert facility solution companies that solely focus on elevating an employee’s experience and increasing their productivity at work.
A corporate office may need to make a change in its facility service provider, sending an RFP. As a response, they should expect an opportunity to collaborate with a workplace solution company regarding all service lines – both facility and office.
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The RFP process allows a company to see where efficiencies can be created, where innovative technology in equipment and products can reduce their carbon footprint, and how app-based inspections can capture and report service quality trends.
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A key differentiator of the RFP response today is identifying the service requirements of a space based on usage vs. a set schedule of cleaning or maintenance. There have been significant innovations in capturing usage data across a corporate office.
Replacing the dated handheld tally counter, facility operators are turning to new Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. IoT can include a network of sensors placed inside buildings, equipment, objects or products to capture data that can be sent wirelessly to a central location (i.e. dashboard) to be analyzed.
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These sensors not only capture data, but can send notifications to facility operators or service providers when a pre-programmed threshold has been reached, including:
- If a conference room or restroom door has been opened a specific number of times.
- If a paper towel dispenser is empty.
- If a trash can is full and needs attention.
- If significant employee density changes are taking place throughout the workday.
By capturing usage and traffic data, the facility solution company can allocate personnel and necessary resources to areas of a building that need attention. This helps with what’s known as workloading, a technique that “helps managers … as well as contractors, more precisely determine the time, labor needs and related costs involved [when servicing] a facility.”
When maintenance is based on building usage and not a set frequency, the result often includes cost savings, a reduced carbon footprint and an increase in measured service quality. The environmental footprint of facility maintenance is significantly impacted by the amount of harsh chemicals or water used.
The RFP process offers much beyond greener cleaning initiatives and innovative technology solutions. It’s also an opportunity to consolidate service providers – partnering with one contractor that conducts not only office cleaning, but also services such as:
- Handymen services for building repairs
- Project management for retrofits and renovations
- Meeting room set-up and A/V, mail room and courier services
- Inventory and supply management
- Lab support services
The big benefitis having a single point of contact for all facility services. This model provides consistent onboarding of building solution employees, streamlined communications, an elevated customer service and safety culture and a more efficient operation overall. It also means dealing with fewer invoices.
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The workplace of today is a unique habitat for each company, reflective of its goals and culture. The RFP process is an opportunity to ensure your workplace solution provider is a partner in an eco-system that allows your employees to thrive.
David Hogland is the Senior Vice President of Eurest Services (eurestservices.us), a sector of Compass Group, the largest provider of food and support services globally.