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A road‐map for outsourcing facilities‐related services in SMEs: Overcome criticalities and build trust

Roberto Cigolini (Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy)
Giovanni Miragliotta (Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy)
Margherita Pero (Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy)

Facilities

ISSN: 0263-2772

Article publication date: 23 August 2011

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to focus on the outsourcing facilities management (FM) services in small to medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs).

Design/methodology/approach

The paper employs a Define‐Measure‐Analyze‐Improve‐Control (DMAIC) methodology. A survey in Italy, a country quite representative when talking about SMEs, is first presented and evidence from the field is discussed. Stemming from the evidence, a road‐map is presented to overcome these criticalities and to support, also in SMEs, the diffusion of the outsourcing of the FM services, whose benefits in terms of higher efficiency and better service are already being experienced by larger companies. The proposed model is then validated through the extensive survey on small and medium‐sized Italian enterprises.

Findings

The survey shows that the current level of adoption of advanced outsourcing practices is very low: less than 5 percent of the companies in the sample resort to a single supplier delivering multiple FM services. The adoption rate of such practices is hence very low, and the survey has pointed out three different levels of causes: size‐related, cultural, and managerial.

Research limitations/implications

The survey used in this paper is based on a questionnaire but does not consider non‐respondents. The database of companies provided by IFMA – Italian Chapter – could also possibly introduce bias.

Practical implications

Starting with the early recognition that the main problem in the field implementations of result‐oriented approaches lies in determining whether the expected results have been achieved and that two key tools are available (i.e. the service level agreement and the reporting system), the model suggests a new organizational and managerial structure, even simpler than the traditional (i.e. not integrated) approach. To design the kernel of the control system, DMAIC has been used, after a specific customization.

Social implications

Results show a widespread outsourcing of the facilities‐related services in the larger organizations and some hurdles of the smaller ones in exploiting all the opportunities offered, so that – on average – the management of facilities‐related services represents an opportunity to exploit rather than an actually implemented methodology.

Originality/value

Only a few international contributions refer to local environments: here an extensive survey involving more than 1,000 Italian companies is presented.

Keywords

Citation

Cigolini, R., Miragliotta, G. and Pero, M. (2011), "A road‐map for outsourcing facilities‐related services in SMEs: Overcome criticalities and build trust", Facilities, Vol. 29 No. 11/12, pp. 445-458. https://doi.org/10.1108/02632771111157123

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited