Campus buildings and grounds are one of the largest and most complex assets for a university, college, or private institution. Facilities comprise one of the largest expense categories for campuses but also represent a wealth of revenue-generating opportunities. Rising expenses on complex assets present an abundance of challenges to campus leaders. What steps should campuses take to address these challenges? Facility outsourcing can provide additional solutions and benefits to the growing needs for campus leaders.
Earlier this month, C&W Services Frank Hollister, Senior Director for Higher Education, presented at the Association of Independent Colleges & Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP) during the Virtual Campus Leaders Forum. As an AICUP member for the last 25 years, Frank and former Associate Vice President of American International College (AIC), Jeffrey Bednarz, discussed effective ways to identify key drivers, evaluate a campus and determine goals when exploring facilities outsourcing options.
Outsourcing can be a powerful strategic shift with the right partner to provide tailored solutions and strategies that fit with the current processes. Frank shares, “When C&W Services talks to campuses, we listen to fully understand and share the current state of the business. We try to paint a picture of what the future state would be to finance and facilities leaders through an apples-to-apples comparison.”
For example, opportunities in skilled trades are in high demand. By establishing a strong skilled trade program and internal promotion opportunities, an outsourcing partner cultivates in-house potential, preparing employees for advancement. Jeff shared his personal experience at AIC, stating, “C&W Services has done a great job of setting the next person up through succession planning and leadership training. They cultivated individuals in-house to advance from within. One employee, who comes to mind, started as an equipment operator, then became an HVAC technician, and now fast forward ten years later, he’s a Regional Manager.”
Many clients seek a true outsourcing business partnership that provides value and collaboration in a shared vision of success. “C&W Services can evaluate if a client is looking for a single service, bundled services, or a fully integrated model. Many outsourcing companies can do all three things, but they’ll need to ask what the specific needs of the unique campus are and what specific goals they want to achieve,” Frank says. “Colleges and universities outsource in a range of areas (e.g., food, bookstore, IT services), and facilities outsourcing is no different. Facilities outsourcing services can provide but are not limited to custodial and grounds maintenance to providing a clean, safe, healthy, and beautiful environment through maintenance, energy management, technology, and office-related services. Good outsourcing partners align with the campus’s mission, vision, and values. The more outsourcing companies can do to cultivate a culture of alignment and accountability, the more return-on-investment campuses will see.”
Find an outsourcing company that provides a high level of service and performance that draws students in, enrolls them, educates them, and keeps them engaged. “Raising the value of campus facilities and improving a university’s brand, mission, values, and culture is incredibly important to C&W Services,” states Frank. “The employees may have a C&W Services logo on their uniform, but they have the college brand in mind when they go out in the field and work each day. That’s a win-win. Focusing on people, students, and the campus culture are vital components of a successful outsourcing partnership.” By leveraging the outsourcing partner’s expertise, the campus is well-maintained, clean and safe, and its buildings and grounds are an asset to recruiting, retaining, and engaging students. Jeff says, “Campus leaders are in the office, and our frontline outsource partner staff are the boots on the ground. They are the ones out in the field to raise red flags or be there for our students in need. C&W Services provides an exceptional experience.”