THE RELATIONSHIP QUOTIENT: FROM DEFENSIVE TO COLLABORATIVE
By Jennifer Peltenburg
In today’s increasingly competitive FM landscape, success depends more than ever on supplier relationships: how effectively FM companies are able to select their suppliers and then manage and grow those partnerships. However, very few FM companies are uncovering the advantages of engaging suppliers throughout the contract journey. One of the main issues is that FM providers are still too focused on taking on the defensive approach, by merely implementing policies and monitoring suppliers, rather than engaging them. While policies, supplier codes of conduct and other conformance clauses within supplier contracts are a critical first step, they are usually pushed with the aim to penalize the suppliers for non-conformity. With this approach, suppliers are not motivated to bring new ideas to the table or discuss im-provement. Monitoring supplier performance must work synchronously with supplier support and engagement and communication helps suppliers and FM providers see their different challenges.
Due to the nature of this current scenario, the relationship between FM company and third-party supplier is a ‘transaction’, whereby, the FM company receives a price, without much robustness surrounding the solution. In essence, it means that the FM company does not have the best picture in terms of what the third party supplier is contracted to do – and in some cases, the end result of third-party delivery is consistently scrutinised. Further, the third party organization is not engaged to support the FM company, and treat the project simply as a transaction (because that’s how we treated them in the first place isn’t it?), hence, there is no valid relationship to build on.
An engaged and informed FM provider not only understand the needs of the client but is also open-minded towards issues the supplier has and is willing to foster a collaborative way of working together. Successful suppliers, on the other hand, are those that create more value by optimizing their effectiveness at every step of the value chain while keeping innovation at the forefront. By working together, and taking a forward-thinking approach, it allows both parties to have ‘blue sky thinking’ and tackle a project with meaningful ideas that generate a win/win for everyone, and most importantly the client.
Inspired by a leading Dubai Developer that has been working with several FM Companies, KGFM recently organized its first Supplier Engagement Session in Dubai. Attended by over 25 of our key and potential suppliers, the session familiarized KGFM’s suppliers with the company’s culture, values, processes, supply chain management policies and effectively what we would like to do with our partners now and in the future. This has enabled our partners to understand the Khansaheb brand, and its vision and mission, together with its objectives, so that the third parties have better knowledge and transparency of Khansaheb’s expectations. In addition, this also generates a forum for education and knowledge that supports our partners’ professional growth. This is the key to a successful relationship, from bid management to post service delivery, serving as a partner, not a supplier.
We want to take a proactive approach to innovation, where we constantly introduce our clients to more efficient and sustainable solutions and ideas, whilst contributing towards taking the regional FM industry to the next level. We believe our partnerships play a key role and look forward to continuing the program that will not only enhance our service delivery but more importantly generate positive relationships now and in the future.
(The Author, Jennifer Peltenburg is the FM Director of Khansaheb)