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EXCLUSIVE Richard Sykes of ISS welcomes debate on integrated FM approach versus insourcing

15 October 2013

Richard Sykes, CEO of ISS UK, has responded to a PFM interview with Martin Steele, MD of corporate services at BT, in which Steele talked about the need for service providers to be more transparent in their dealings with their clients. Sykes says he would welcome a debate on the benefits of an integrated FM approach versus insourcing.

In the August edition of PFM, Martin Steele was asked: What should FM service providers do to retain their clients' confidence and business? He responded by saying: ''The client will always aim for maximising the benefits of the contract. To do this they'll need a level of transparency that not many providers are prepared to give as they also want to maximise their end of the bargain... People talk about open-book policies but making it work in reality isn't that straightforward. There is often margin hidden in so many different places that when you bring it together it's a significant number.''

Sykes, on being asked to respond, said: ''We need to ensure the benefits of outsourcing are clearly understood by FM customers – we need to provide case studies and proof points to absolutely demonstrate the value of an integrated FM approach. We also need to emphasise how services continue to improve once a contract has been let as more and more innovations are applied. The market will continue to innovate, to bring best practice, to bring the best systems in the marketplace and to move services forward. It will be very difficult for an in house FM operation to gain those experiences and bring those best practices to bear.''

Pushed to deliver a riposte to Steele, Sykes said: ''Martin is a good friend and I respect his views. I don’t think there needs to be a riposte as such. I would, however, welcome a debate on the benefits of an integrated approach versus the insourcing option. Some organisations may not have experienced the full value from outsourcing they could have and should look perhaps at how the provider was selected and managed before considering an Insourcing option.

''The outsourcing market is certainly growing as more a more customers recognise the real value that can be driven by Industry experts.''

With respect to the lack of transparency in contracts between providers and clients, Sykes said ISS has an open-book policy with its clients, and concentrates on making the service better rather than worrying too much about the contract.

''You have to consider there’s something wrong with the supplier customer relationship when both parties begin relying on the contract and trust does not exist. There’s so much that goes into making a successful partnership and generally you need to have a simple flexible contract where the services and service levels expected are clearly understood.In the cases where a contract has broken down, it’s typically from the contract not being amended or developed over time. Businesses are constantly changing and moving on and the service needs to adapt to these business changes otherwise the contract will prevent service excellence.''

Read the full interview with Richard Sykes in a forthcoming print edition of PFM.

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