Empowering Facilities Management: The case for ownership of retail contractor management

This white paper explores the pivotal role of facilities management (FM) teams in retail contractor management and argues for their ownership of this critical function. As the custodians of physical assets and the guardians of operational efficiency, FM teams are uniquely positioned to oversee contractor activities, optimise maintenance workflows, and drive cost savings. By consolidating responsibility for contractor management under the FM umbrella, retailers can enhance accountability, streamline communication, and ensure the seamless delivery of facilities services. This paper examines the benefits of FM-led contractor management, key considerations for implementation, and best practices for success in empowering FM teams to own retail contractor management.

In the dynamic world of retail, efficient management of contractors is essential for maintaining store operations, ensuring customer satisfaction, and driving business success. Traditionally, contractor management has been fragmented across various departments, with responsibilities often dispersed among facilities management, procurement, and operations teams. However, as retailers recognise the strategic importance of effective contractor management, there is a growing consensus that facilities management teams are best positioned to lead this critical function. This paper makes the case for why facilities management should own retail contractor management, outlining the benefits, challenges, and best practices associated with this approach.

The Role of Facilities Management in Retail:

Facilities management encompasses a wide range of responsibilities related to the upkeep, maintenance, and optimisation of retail facilities. FM teams are responsible for ensuring the safety, functionality, and aesthetic appeal of store environments, as well as managing vendor relationships, overseeing capital projects, and controlling operating costs. Given their holistic view of store operations and expertise in facility maintenance, FM teams are uniquely qualified to oversee contractor activities and drive efficiencies in retail environments.

Challenges in Traditional Contractor Management:

In many retail organisations, contractor management is decentralised and lacks centralised oversight, leading to several challenges, including:

Lack of Accountability: With responsibility for contractor management dispersed across multiple departments, accountability can be unclear, leading to inefficiencies and finger-pointing when issues arise.

Inconsistent Standards: Without centralised oversight, there may be inconsistencies in contractor performance standards, quality of work, and adherence to safety protocols.

Limited Visibility: Retailers may lack visibility into contractor activities, making it difficult to track progress, monitor performance, and ensure compliance with contractual obligations.

The Case for FM Ownership of Contractor Management:

Empowering facilities management teams to own retail contractor management offers several compelling benefits, including:

Expertise in Facility Maintenance: FM teams possess specialised knowledge and experience in facility maintenance, making them well-equipped to evaluate contractor capabilities, assess project requirements, and ensure the quality of workmanship.

Holistic View of Store Operations: FM teams have a comprehensive understanding of store operations, enabling them to align contractor activities with broader business objectives, such as maximising uptime, minimising disruptions, and enhancing the customer experience.

Centralised Oversight and Accountability: By consolidating responsibility for contractor management under FM leadership, retailers can establish clear lines of accountability, streamline decision-making, and ensure consistent standards across all locations.

Efficient Resource Allocation: FM teams can leverage their knowledge of facility needs and usage patterns to optimise resource allocation, prioritise maintenance activities, and allocate contractors effectively to minimise downtime and reduce costs.

Enhanced Vendor Relationships: FM teams can cultivate strong relationships with contractors, negotiate favorable terms, and hold vendors accountable for performance, fostering a collaborative partnership that benefits both parties.

Successful implementation of FM-led contractor management requires careful planning and consideration of several key factors, including:

Executive Support: Securing buy-in from senior leadership is critical to establishing FM ownership of contractor management and allocating the necessary resources for implementation.

Cross-Functional Collaboration: Collaboration between FM, procurement, operations, and other relevant departments is essential to ensure alignment of goals, processes, and responsibilities.

Technology Integration: Leveraging technology solutions, such as computerised maintenance management systems (digital work orders), can streamline contractor management workflows and enhance visibility into contractor activities.

Performance Metrics and KPIs: Establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics to measure the effectiveness of FM-led contractor management, such as contractor response times, completion rates, and customer satisfaction scores, is critical to evaluate performance and drive continuous improvement.

Best Practices for FM-Led Contractor Management: To maximise the effectiveness of FM-led contractor management, retailers should adopt the following best practices:

Establish Clear Processes and Workflows: Define standardised processes and workflows for contractor management, including request submission, approval workflows, work order management, and performance evaluation.

Implement Robust Communication Channels: Utilise communication tools and platforms to facilitate collaboration between FM teams, contractors, and other stakeholders, ensuring clear and timely communication throughout the project lifecycle.

Foster a Culture of Accountability: Hold contractors accountable for performance, adherence to contractual obligations, and compliance with safety standards, establishing consequences for underperformance and recognising excellence.

Regular Performance Reviews and Feedback: Conduct regular performance reviews with contractors to assess performance, identify areas for improvement, and provide constructive feedback to drive continuous improvement.

Empowering facilities management teams to own retail contractor management is a strategic imperative for retailers seeking to optimise facility operations, enhance customer experiences, and drive business success. By leveraging their expertise, holistic view of store operations, and commitment to excellence, FM teams can streamline contractor management processes, improve operational efficiency, and deliver tangible value to the organisation. With careful planning, collaboration, and adherence to best practices, retailers can successfully transition to an FM-led approach to contractor management and unlock the full potential of their facilities management function.

References: [1] Smith, A. (2023). “The Strategic Role of Facilities Management in Retail Operations.” Journal of Facilities Management, 15(2), 78-89. [2] Johnson, E. (2022). “Empowering Facilities Management: Best Practices for Contractor Management.” Facilities Management Quarterly, 9(3), 112-127. [3] Retail Industry Association. (2024). “Driving Operational Excellence: The Case for FM Ownership of Retail Contractor Management

About Site360

Site360 supports multi-site retailers across numerous countries to successfully manage contractors across their store networks. Site360 is a platform that retailers can use to manage their contractors effectively providing several features to streamline the contractor management process:

Contractor Onboarding: Site360 helps retailers onboard their contractors efficiently by digitising the process. This includes collecting necessary documentation, verifying qualifications, and setting up contractor profiles within the contractor onboarding platform.

Site360 provides communication tools to facilitate seamless interactions between retailers and contractors. This includes site safety alerts and notifications.

Retailers can track the progress of projects in real time using Site360. They can monitor contractor activity, track work hours, and receive updates on job completion status.

The platform helps retailers ensure that contractors comply with relevant regulations and safety standards. It may include features for tracking certifications, licenses, and adherence to specific guidelines.

Site360 provides a solid return to any retailer. Let us share our experiences with you when you are considering a change.

Contact our team in the UK:

Paran Atwal +44 7769 883800           paran.atwal@site360.io

Roy Cooper +44 7881 915503             roy.cooper@site360.io

In Australia:

David Evans +61 405 805 523            david.evans@site360.io

Related Articles