Excel Use Formula To Create Dynamic List Based On Criteria Why sell off your assets?

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Why sell off your assets?

What is outsourcing? Just as the acronym ‘IT’ embraces anything from the electronic display system on a Boeing 737 to a BlackBerry, the generic term ‘outsourcing’ is an ever-expanding suitcase of options and opportunities. It is a term that has moved into common trade nomenclature without any very distinct definition. The Penguin English Dictionary also contends: ‘to obtain components, services etc. from outside suppliers.’ As far as consensus among experts, there is agreement that the key to successful outsourcing lies in ensuring that the company’s ‘core’ operations can be easily contracted out to a third party and managed elsewhere with little or no strategic impact. .

Back in the mists of time, that meant punch cards and payroll. Later, it was the public sector that took the lead in the outsourcing of catering services and said goodbye to the lovely ladies in black and white uniforms walking the tea trolleys down the corridors of Whitehall Power.

From there, we moved on to outsourcing IT maintenance and management. When you don’t know your HTML from your JavaScript, it makes perfect sense to hand over the responsibility to the company. Outsourcing can mean anything from contracting to run a coffee bar at Costa, to selling all your corporate-owned assets – as the Department for Work and Pensions and Abbey have done – and creating an agreement where you pay rent to return the premises. You need to run your business while the owner takes responsibility for maintenance and infrastructure.

From landscaping to energy management, waste management to transportation services, plumbing to painting, engineering to electronics, there is probably no business support task that cannot be successfully packaged.

The decision to outsource non-core functions can be very liberating for a company. It is very tempting to take responsibility for problems that are already perceived as annoying distractions that take people away from the core activities of the business. If there’s a pipe burst or the offices all need repainting, you call your account executive or helpdesk instead of a plumber or decorator. Someone else has to sort it out and sort it out quickly.

Making it work is rather more subtle. Success or failure will make or break the outsourced supplier, and getting it wrong can cause irreparable damage to the client company. Some such major crises and the concept of outsourcing may collapse faster than the technology bubble bursts. Mutual trust is at the center.

Bill Locke is group director of strategy and communications at Alfred McAlpine plc: “If there is failure, it will probably be the result of an error in approach. Outsourcing must avoid rigidity and be flexible about changes in the company’s needs. What? After an initial set-up period at one stage of the contract May not be a good fit. There’s a value and culture fit between the customer business and the outsourcing deal. We have to be able to understand what’s important to that customer. Be able to adjust and fit those demands into our approach. It’s almost like a chameleon.”

McAlpine recognized that it was well placed to develop its offerings in the growing outsourcing market. A long-established major player in the provision of the entire range of functions from roads to power, high-pressure pipelines to domestic meters, water to traffic management, the company began expanding to provide an integrated, one-stop-shop service for customers. .

In the early 1980s, the city began to respond warmly to this new business model. With limited capital investment, relatively low risk and the promise of long-term regular contract revenue, outsourcing appeals to shareholders.

“We were already the market leader in utility services,” Bill Locke pointed out, “and we had an enviable reputation for health and safety, integrity, honesty and customer care. We could see that our daily service delivery. It was important that customers could rely on, But we wanted to do more than that. We wanted to make the best.”

The ability to install infrastructure, lay pipes and build roads, pump water and maintain electricity systems was everywhere. A centralized management of all this had to be developed for each customer. All will have different and distinct needs, not only practically but also in terms of cultural and business ethics.

“Companies want more than cost reduction when they consider outsourcing,” says Noel Clancy, who manages McAlpine’s contracts with Nationwide Building Society. “Outsourcing should be seen as an enabler, allowing a company to focus internal business resources and management on core functional areas.”

Achieving this combination of service level and customer care is fundamental. “It’s all about understanding your customer’s business,” says Gordon Duffy, who manages an account with Electronic Data Services (EDS), an interesting example of an IT outsourcing company purchasing outsourced management services itself! “Of course we should deliver key performance indicators on service excellence, but it’s much more than that. It’s important to understand your customer’s culture; their goals, objectives, values. You need to understand their priorities. .

“It is very clear, when we talk to potential new clients, there needs to be an alignment of cultures, a mutual understanding that is open and honest in both measurable elements and more loving.”

Personal relationship management is most important during the run-up, or operational period, before an outsourcing contract actually begins. Gordon Duffy initially spent two weeks visiting EDS’ 30 sites from Taunton to Aberdeen. There are now 30 more sites in the portfolio. “The contract has recently been reset, adding 30 more sites and 90 employees. It is particularly important to evaluate each site and it is part of getting to grips with your customer’s business. It can be difficult, financial and operational, but you must be relentless and relentless. . Make sure you check everything.”

The EDS contract spans a wide range of tasks, from maintenance of building fabric to managing office functions such as reception, switchboards and reprographics. This includes landscaping, catering, project work and all management services. It takes a helpdesk with seven operators to manage and issue requests to the appropriate department for the task. Timescales, as set out in each customer agreement, must be strictly adhered to. Monthly meetings are used to report back on service delivery and ensure customer satisfaction.

Customer expectations can sometimes be unrealistic: “You may need to manage expectations to a degree,” says Gordon Duffy. “Sometimes the client’s perception is that it starts on day one and everything will be fantastic on day two, but that’s not real life.”

What Alfred McAlpine delivers, and this has been repeatedly and independently verified by its clients, is: “Our own culture of passion and integrity, of openness and collaboration, of being flexible and willing to change and evolve with the client’s needs and plans,” says Noel Clancy. As it were.

In the marriage between the outsourcer and the outsourcing supplier there is a dynamic that must work, and that requires constant care and attention. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be 100 percent problem-free,” but it does mean we fix problems immediately. We don’t just do regular customer satisfaction surveys. Instead, we provide a list of 10 questions every six months and our customers score us against them. Then We work to ensure that we close any gaps between those important, client-specific questions and the services we provide,” says Duffy. “As a customer’s business changes and evolves, so will those standards. What was important in January may not be so now, and we need to be able to respond to those changes with flexibility and adaptability.”

A decade ago, nobody in the UK had heard of the term ‘outsourcing’. Now this is common trade nomenclature. The global outsourcing market is estimated at around 58 billion euros and the breadth of what can be outsourced has gone from straightforward, self-contained tasks such as payroll to full asset outsourcing deals. The growth potential is huge and the opportunities for expansion are ample.

The first major outsourcing of real estate in the UK private sector caused a stir. Abbey decided to sell 1,500 of its properties to Mapeley in October 2000 in a deal worth £457 million. Abbey transferred its entire property portfolio of 603,900m2 to the Bermuda-based company with a range of structured leaseback agreements ranging from one year to 20 years. long Ernst & Young estimated the deal would save Abbey around £200 million over its lifetime.

Although the deal apparently kept a profit on Abbey’s books, raising cash wasn’t the driving reason for outsourcing. Instead, it was to match the portfolio with business plans. Abbey needs fewer local branches but more customer-friendly ones. It will depend more on e-commerce and web activity. It probably doesn’t need to be saddled with 1,500 properties.

The Abbey deal quickly led to other companies looking at various levels of outsourcing to streamline their core business operations and create better management structures. If the floodgates weren’t exactly opened, there were certainly new opportunities for companies that were able to offer a range of outsourcing services.

While some operating companies could take on an entire real estate portfolio on the scale of Mapeley, or like Land Security Trillium with the BBC’s White City Estate, the servicing and facilities management (FM) sector was broader.

Alfred McAlpine’s ability to spot potential and act to meet new market needs is evidence of management intelligence and a characteristic willingness to respond to opportunities with purposeful innovation.

Box out

Nationwide Building Society

Robert Cock, Operations Manager

The outsourcing deal with Alfred McAlpine includes all engineering maintenance at the nationwide headquarters in Swindon. Here, Nationwide Operations Manager, Robert Cocke explains why McAlpine was chosen to complete the contract.

“We had a very long and well-planned procurement process, once we agreed on the decision to go down this route. We short-listed three companies and chose McAlpine for a number of reasons. Broadly speaking, McAlpine’s business was better aligned than ours. The other candidates were what they would do. Not only do they talk well, but they actually deliver.

“We had their experience. We knew they would take appropriate and necessary action when necessary.

“During the interview and pre-award stages, as we visited the site and looked closely at management issues such as planning, motivation, innovation, dealing with employees, we found that McAlpine demonstrated consistency at all levels, from the shop floor to senior management. Their staff management, interactions with customers, The provision of information, keeping us fully informed, was all very well organized and handled. There is a huge level of commitment required to operationalize the contract to reduce from 37 to a single. One. McAlpine delivers on that.

“Openness can be difficult in these circumstances and the fact that we had an existing relationship with McAlpine helped. We have over 3,000 people at our main headquarters in Swindon and, with outlying offices, another 1,500.

“McAlpine is responsible for all engineering maintenance, reactive and planned, continuous maintenance and upkeep of buildings and providing a quality of service that allows us to focus on our core activities and not on the minutiae of facilities management.”

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