Determine the Budget
Before calling for a service contract, you need to determine your expense budget. What is the estimated cost of maintaining the facilities, equipment and systems? Your scope is inadvertently tied to your budget (and vice versa) and your expectations for service quality. Standard practice is to refer back to historical costs and asset lifecycle planning. Getting the budget right means having a clear picture of what services you need, when, where, how and for what. If you’re calling for an all comprehensive maintenance services but your equipment is fairly brand new, then you may be paying much more for outsourced services than is needed. Budgets are a good benchmark against quotations received and is an indication of who is under or over quoting for the services.
Ask the Experts
If outsourcing for the first time, reach out to key service providers in the market to understand the dynamics, challenges and constraints of delivering outsourced services. You’ve got nothing to lose and vendors will appreciate the opportunity to showcase the latest developments and innovation in their respective industries. This allows you to scope the services with full knowledge of what’s possible. The specifications of the scope can also determine the quality and calibre of vendors participating in the quotation exercise.
Ambiguity Hurts Both Parties
If you’re requesting for maintenance services, you need to share detailed information about the assets. Essential asset information, depending on the type of services, can include equipment lists, quantities, brand and model of systems, system specs and any other crucial information that will affect the vendor’s proposed solutions, resources deployed and ultimately, how much you’ll have to pay. Adding on contract clauses to pass on the risks to vendors, while being ambiguous in the scope, will lead to vendors pricing in exorbitant fees to cover them. Be precise in the tasks and technical aspects of the scope with detailed supporting information. If you’re worried about confidentiality, sign a non-disclosure agreement with vendors or be selective in the type of services outsourced.
Be Clear on Expected Outcomes and Measures
Be realistic in your expectations. If you have a small budget to work with, scale the performance measures accordingly. This doesn’t mean cutting corners, but you’ll have to trim down the frills and freebies. Focus on achieving the essential outcomes identified and be clear on measures of performance.