Do internal maintenance services really need ‘big brother’ watching over them?

It has been very interesting to note how more and more RPs are seeking a more ‘commercial approach’ to running their maintenance services.

We are currently working with the Executive teams of three groups within the sector to help them to achieve the model that is right for them.

They all have different R&M delivery models and have different decisions to make unique to their circumstances. However all are considering the role of their asset management and ‘client’ functions in terms of their internal maintenance (I think I can call it DLO) options.

Does the group who might bring their R&M services in-house need to client their internal ‘contractor’ in the way it does its external contractor?

Does the group who has a strong client over its DLO continue to ‘man-mark’ its performance?

And does the group who hadn’t even considered clienting their internal service start to do so?

Some deeper questions start to arise including:

  • What additional value does the Clienting function bring?
  • What confusion can it cause in accountability?
  • What does a typical clienting resource cost – £40k per annum?
  • Does it end up in a dog fight with the client/contractor at the cost of the customer?

It is difficult under the current financial climate to afford to do things once, never mind doubling up?

Does it actually make sense that Senior DLO staff are being run by less experienced client officers?

Given that other key functions of the organisation delivered by internal teams do not have a ‘Big Brother’ watching over them (except for their line managers of course) why should an internal maintenance team be afforded the special exception?

Is it down to trust? Is it down to the size of the budgets in those areas? Have previous and even current governance requirements driven this requirement? Is it really steeped in out-dated thinking that does not really get to the root causes of performance issues?

As Einstein said: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them!”

Although it might not be right for all, one thing that is clear and proven (in our view) is that you can build a very successful maintenance service by establishing and embedding the right infrastructure and culture – without the need for creating duplication, fragmented accountability and the inherent divisive behaviours that it can sometimes bring.

In my next blog I will be discussing the trading account mechanism – another model which is again being billed by many as the only way to have a commercial internal maintenance team.

Blog posted by Rob Bryan