Vendor Management Best Practices for Facilities

Maintaining vendor management best practices is the best way to ensure that a facility functions optimally. These best practices start by keeping detailed contact, service, and maintenance records and extend to contracts and service-level agreements. Measuring vendor performance and selecting the best vendor for each service is also essential. Discover seven of the best vendor management practices that apply to any facility.

1. Keep Track of Vendor Information

Facilities should keep detailed vendor records in a centralized location. Most locations rely directly or indirectly on facility management software, which allows for paperless workflows and makes it possible to sort and organize information as needed. This especially helps when it comes to benchmarking your facility management vendors, as well.

While a single, small facility may be able to manage vendor and work order information in spreadsheets, facility management software is a better choice for larger facilities or multiple locations. Rather than comparing software packages, an organization can more easily and quickly achieve best practices by entirely outsourcing facility and vendor management.

2. Centralize Service and Maintenance Records

In addition to contact information for vendors, it is helpful for facility owners, managers, and staff to be able to access records of service and maintenance. This information can help demonstrate compliance during audits and planning for preventative maintenance. 

Centralized records are only as useful as the quality of facility communications, record-keeping practices, and stored data. The stakeholders of a facility can rest assured that vendor management best practices are being observed when these records are being centrally managed by skilled professionals who use proprietary systems running on a cutting-edge software stack. 

3. Set Clear Terms in SLAs

The service level agreements that facility owners and managers establish and maintain can make or break vendor relationships. It is important to set clear specifications in these contracts. One of the benefits of outsourcing facility management is that these agreements may be formed between a facility management company and contractors or vendors. 

Many types of contracts and SLAs may apply to vendors. Rather than weighing the pros and cons of cost-plus, lump-sum, unit pricing, or time and materials contracts, an organization can establish clear terms with a comprehensive provider of exterior facility management services.

4. Assess Vendors Through Criticality Analysis

Criticality analyses should guide any facility that contracts with vendors. Some of the most important aspects of asset criticality include cost, customer service, customer experience, expertise, response time, safety, and quality. Facility stakeholders can track, compare and ultimately select vendors in terms of these factors. 

A facility management company can also perform criticality analysis based on the needs of particular facilities. Working with a company that has vetted field partners can simplify this analysis by ensuring that all participating vendors have a proven track record for every factor that falls under criticality.

5. Align Vendor Management Best Practices and Key Performance Indicators

The best practices that guide vendor management should align with the key performance indicators of vendors. Some of the most significant KPIs for facility vendors include backlogs, customer service levels, schedule compliance, and quality. Backlogs are measured in hours and are converted to weeks during the process of facility management planning. A healthy total backlog is approximately four to six weeks. Two to four weeks of the ready backlog should also be available. 

A good track record for customer service that starts with response time and continues through schedule and quality assessments is also significant. Work should be completed on time, and “mean time between failures” and “mean time between maintenance” are other relevant KPIs to use when assessing vendors.

6. Manage Risk by Using Reputable Vendors

Facilities can manage risk by relying on reputable vendors. The size and scope of a facility will determine its overall level of risk. Suppose staff and stakeholders do not have the time or specialized skills to assess risk accurately. In that case, it is worthwhile to outsource this measure to a facilities management service alongside other operational requirements to maintain best practices.

It can be difficult for the manager of an individual facility or multi-facility organization to identify whether a given vendor is reputable. A facilities management company is likelier to have encountered and worked with many vendors. This exposure can allow for more informed and accurate calculations of risk.

7. Outsource Vendor Management to a Reputable Firm

As the six preceding best practices suggest, maintaining rigorous vendor management standards can be a labor-intensive and time-consuming requirement for facility owners, staff, and other stakeholders. It is advisable to outsource vendor management rather than lose sight of these important standards.
These vendor management best practices may apply to any facility. Grounds Control USA has more than 30 years of experience and over 800 vetted field partners, making us the best option for multi-location exterior facilities management for commercial, education, entertainment, government, healthcare, hospitality, industrial, multi-family residential, retail, and office facilities.