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Trends in Banking Janitorial Services, Landscape and Handyman Operations
Philosophically, the idea is simple: concentrate on your core business and outsource other activities, such as banking janitorial services. When it comes to building maintenance, landscaping and commercial cleaning for banks, outsourcing has become a trend. But what are the finer points that make this practice so compelling? They can be categorized under three C's: competition, consistency and compliance.
The 3 C's of Commercial Cleaning for Banks
Competition: Mergers are forcing greater competition among banks. Thus, they feel pressure to lower costs, increase sales and improve service. For example, in a September 2004 "Update to Investors,"1 Wachovia CFO Bob Kelly, a leader in the banking industry, included the following in a statement on the company's strategic focus:
building customer loyalty
execution of revenue growth strategies
improving cost structure and operating efficiencies
financial strength and corporate governance
SouthTrust merger approval and successful merger integration.
In direct and indirect ways, the outsourcing of facilities services can impact many of these initiatives.
Merging banks' shareholders wait expectantly for the cost savings promised as a result of a merger. Outsourcing facilities services, such as commercial cleaning for banks can go a long way toward delivering those savings through economies of scale. Rather than handling these activities at the local level, the bank can negotiate a favorable contract with a single banking janitorial services provider able to service all the bank's branches. Expenses are leveraged across locations, and with consolidated billing and a single source of contact, the bank spends less time on administrative tasks.
Indirectly, outsourcing banking janitorial services can also help meet sales goals. With a mandate to push product, branch managers these days are often out in the community calling on business customers. You'll find assistant managers in the branches -- not in an office behind a desk, but out greeting customers. This leaves very little time for non-banking activities. For example, take carpet cleaning or HVAC repair. When banking janitorial services are outsourced, branch personnel might simply log onto a web site and place a work order. The service is billed centrally and charged back to the branch. Before outsourcing, more time and steps would have been involved in commercial cleaning for banks, especially if a change in local vendors became necessary for any reason.
As banks vie for the same customers, service and customer experience has taken on a new meaning. Ironically, in these days of online banking, banks are finding that there is no substitute for face-to-face customer interaction. Some banks even offer play areas for children and have taken their tellers out from behind the glass. Is a manager's time better spent improving customer relations or putting out bids for banking janitorial services? Yet a spotless and functional environment is also part of the customer experience and reflects on the bank's brand. Once a mundane distraction, landscaping, handiwork and commercial cleaning for banks all become something done with scientific precision by an outsourced expert. The bank and its customers benefit.
Consistency: A bank's brand amounts to one of its most important assets. When 1500 branches all need to support the brand image, standards become paramount, especially when it comes to commercial cleaning. For banks, outsourcing helps provide a consistent image from branch to branch.
An expert banking janitorial services company will follow standard processes to ensure high quality in every location and provide measurable results through standardized reports. Quick responses to emergencies will be handled through 24-hour call centers. In addition, as mentioned before, pricing and administration of banking janitorial services will be consistent.
Compliance: In light of Sarbanes-Oxley, INS crackdowns and terrorism, banks cannot take chances with their vendors. Through outsourcing with a large, respected provider, the onus is on the facilities service company to follow correct accounting, disclosure, reporting, hiring and subcontracting practices when providing services such as commercial cleaning. For banks, safety, security and environmental concerns should also be a top priority. With the bank having centralized control over the relationship, the branch managers are relieved of that responsibility and risk. The contract with the banking janitorial services company is managed either directly by the bank's facilities manager or, increasingly, through a management company.
Some facilities services companies also offer options for environmentally friendly "green" commercial cleaning. For banks working toward their LEED-EBOM (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design - Existing Building: Operations & Maintenance) certification, those companies can implement products and procedures required to earn points toward certification.
Partnering Makes Cents
The number of functions that banks will outsource in the next five years is expected to increase by as much as 20%. 2 Again, Wachovia serves as an example, because the bank's web site affirms the benefits of outsourcing non-core activities, such as banking janitorial services, "Thanks to the help of a diverse range of suppliers and advisors, we are able to serve our customers, communities, and employees more efficiently. … [outsourcing] supplements the Wachovia team through relationships with a diverse range of suppliers who share our goal of delivering top-notch products and services." 3 Companies that provide landscape, handyman operations and commercial cleaning for banks can become a crucial partner in helping banks succeed in a highly competitive industry.
Learn more about banking janitorial services from ABM.
2 "The Advantages Of Outsourcing Non-Mission Critical Functions," Deborah Gavello
Western Banking Magazine, Dec 03-Jan 04.