Mobilisation is the link between what is promised by a supplier to a client during a tender process and how that service provider sets up its structures, systems and processes to deliver on that promise. Yet, many times it doesn’t get the correct level of attention during the tender evaluation phase or the time it needs post tender to ensure the most successful and cost-efficient setup of Facilities and Workplace Services. At Acacia we develop detailed mobilisation plans, which are used by our clients to track our performance during the set-up phase of a new contract. By doing so we build strong relationships with our clients through fully transparent and measurable deliverables that have been agreed at the outset.
In this article our aim is to de-mystify the practice of mobilisation and assist you and your company in understanding the most important aspects. So, when the time comes you can ask the right questions and understand the basics of what those answers should cover. We have a dedicated mobilisation team who regularly work developing our own mobilisation plans while dealing with and reviewing the demobilisation plans of outgoing service providers.
What to look for in a mobilisation plan?
The mobilisation plan should be comprehensive and cover all services in scope. The plan should detail how the service provider will implement systems and processes that are tailored to meet your needs. The plan should be time limited with key milestones that should be achieved during the mobilisation period. This will ensure that the client can hold regular meetings with the supplier to see that everything is on track.
There is often a due diligence period built into a mobilisation plan. This allows the supplier to carry out a detailed review of the building plant, equipment and fabric from a maintenance and condition perspective. It also allows the supplier to review existing records and reports as well as building and equipment certificates etc.
What to look for in a mobilisation team?
The team should have the correct skillsets for the tasks that have to be completed. For example, and engineer should be part of the team if technical services are part of the scope. Health & Safety specialists should be part of any mobilisation team as this is a discipline that is across all service lines. Other team members may include facilities specialists for soft services, supply chain management for logistics, finance, procurement and legal for example.
Why is mobilisation so critical?
A good mobilisation will lead to long term success of the contract. A well-executed plan ensures that everything is in place from day one. A successful mobilisation period helps the supplier and the client develop a positive working relationship that is based on transparency and trust. It allows time for both parties to understand how the other work and to finalise the performance mechanism that will be a key element of objectively measuring the success or otherwise of the service.
Hard Services are better with a soft landing
We all know the saying “Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail”, and for mobilisation, this is most appropriate. There are many facets to a mobilisation strategy; for Hard Services we focus on the assets – if it is plugged in or plumbed in, it’s our job to inspect and understand what kind of upkeep it requires. The first step is usually to conduct a condition survey; this provides a detailed report about the current state of all site assets and locations. This is the basis for not only the Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) scheduling but also for any capital replacements that may be required over the contract period. This ensures an accurate estimation of Operational costs over the contract period. Operation and Maintenance (O&M) and Safety Files, should be review to identify any specific warranty requirements, special maintenance details etc.
Building out schedules of maintenance
Developing a Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) strategy is the second stage of mobilisation and is really the scheduling and recording of all technical maintenance carried out over the contract period. The schedule is laid out in accordance with the agreed budget and at this stage we can easily flag any additional PPMs that are required based on the condition survey. This schedule should then be communicated and explained to all stakeholders before being signed off. Think of it as a proposal for maintenance which when approved will become a plan. This schedule is built in a Computer Maintenance Management (CMMS) system which is basically a database that stores all asset information, including type, location along with very detailed functional information. Within this CMMS all scheduled activities are stored and usually link in with a mobile application for your onsite technicians. At Acacia we use our own system called Azolla, which you can read all about at www.azollasoftware.com.
Ensure reactive processes have been setup
Planned maintenance is a tried and tested way to keep a building running with the least amount of un-planned downtime or expense. However unplanned work is a fact of life; things break plain and simple. What is important is having the correct processes in place so that in the event of a failure, the problem is responded to and resolved within the agreed timeframe (Service Level Agreement). To make sure anything that does break is fixed on time we have a 24hr x 7 x 365 helpdesk service. We work with all our new and existing clients to establish a clear reporting procedure around all FM related activities, which are measured against agreed SLAs to ensure issues are resolved quickly, helping maintain a trusting relationship.
To Sum Up
If you are considering working with a dedicated FM team to deliver Technical & Non-Technical services to your building, you should be paying very close attention to how that service commences. The mobilisation phase in our opinion is probably the most important period of our relationship with our clients. It is where we get to know the client, earn their trust by developing a bespoke, detailed and fully cost transparent plan. The detail in this plan and expertise we showcase during this stage helps us to develop a strong and robust relationship with our clients.
We have learned over many years that the mobilisation phase is the one in which trust is established and expectations and milestones need to be met. You only get one chance at a first impression, so we make sure to impress. If you are interested in talking to us about your FM needs, please feel free to contact our team today.