The arrival of BS11000, which focuses on collaborative working, together with BS8572, the new standard concerned with the procurement of facility-related services, provides procurement and facilities management professionals with an opportunity to redefine their working relationships.
Working in partnership has become a rather trite and overused phase in recent years. BS11000 uses another word to capture the essence of working together in pursuit of a common goal – collaboration.
Procurement professionals should be involved from the outset to help their client, develop the project’s aims, objectives and the values under which all will work together. The next step is equally critical, the knowledge-gathering phase when the desired outcome is mapped out and how to get there, the team members are identified and recruited, while the processes to be used are defined and implemented. Once the project/relationship is established, the management of the team and its working relationship becomes of primary focus. Get this right and the project goals will be delivered.
Launched late last year, BS8572 provides a useful roadmap for procurement and facilities teams to work through in pursuit of getting the best contract and best service in place. In line with BS11000, the start point of BS8572 is to clearly identify the aims and objectives of the project. Once that is defined, it leads on to the RFI, pre-qualification and RFP processes and then, of course, the evaluation phase and finally contract mobilisation and project close out.
Once a service partner is selected, the creation of a ‘relationship management plan’ to establish how the partnership will function is a great way of getting everyone on to the same page. There is no reason, either, why a simplified version could not be used for individual relationships. The plan should capture the project/relationship objectives, the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders and the operating models and practices to be used. It should also map out the processes to be used for delivery of the project/service. The final elements should focus on measuring performance and outcomes and dealing with issue resolution. BS11000 recognises that all relationships must eventually come to an end so it provides guidance on managing this phase too, identifying triggers for disengagement leading to the production of an exit strategy.
My favourite collaboration quote is from George Bernard Shaw and captures the essence of the benefits of working together: “If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.”
Tips for collaborative working:
1. Understand the players and what lights their fire.
2. Choose the right model/framework for your relationship.
3. Make sure you get the specification right.
4. Collaborate and improvise – make sure you use the BS11000 roadmap as you go.
5. Take time to review and reflect regularly.
6. Remember, this is a relationship so both parties will need to work at it.
7. An exit plan should be agreed and on the shelf, ready to use when the relationship comes to an end.
☛ Les O’Gorman is associate director of facilities management for UCB