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Finance Minister - Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta

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The collapse of about seven banks in Ghana has triggered interest in how banks are managed and operated.

Written By Kwame Nsiah-Wiafe - The recent happenings in some of the banks in Ghana have brought out some lapses within the banking industry.

Banks support circulation of funds in the economy towards promoting economic development and growth.

It is, therefore, not surprising that the recent steps taken by the Bank of Ghana (BOG) to sanitise the banking industry have generally received commendations.

It is in the interest of all well-meaning Ghanaians for Ghana to have a robust and efficient banking sector to help the economy function and grow.

The collapse of about seven banks in Ghana has triggered interest in how banks are managed and operated.

Some have attributed the failure of the banks to poor corporate governance by top executives.

Others have also faulted the regulator (BOG) for poor supervision.

Consequently, experts in banking and finance in Ghana have shared their insights and opinions on the way forward.

In view of the above, I wish to recommend that it is time for banks in Ghana to consider outsourcing their facilities management functions to professional facilities management companies in Ghana.

With this approach, banks can then concentrate on their basic core function of allocating funds efficiently in the economy as stated above.

The intention of this write-up is not to suggest that the failure of the banks is attributable to facilities management.

However, the whole point of this write-up is to draw the minds of decision makers to the many benefits of outsourcing their facilities management function - something the banks should consider as they implement reforms in the sector to improve operational efficiency.

Facilities management explained

The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) defines facilities management as a profession that encompasses multiple disciplines to ensure functionality, comfort, safety and efficiency of the built environment by integrating people, place, process and technology.

From my perspective, Facilities Management (FM) can basically be described as functions that support and maintain the built environment of an organisation by taking care of non-core activities of that organisation.

A built environment in the context of an organisation is a man-made workplace which is safe, secure and conducive for undertaking business activities.

Functions that can be outsourced by banks

A properly managed and well-maintained workplace is quite motivating for both employees and customers.

As part of the ongoing reforms, banks should consider outsourcing the following Facilities Management functions to competent Facilities Management companies.

These services can be treated as a "bundle service" or “integrated service “and handed over to Facilities Management Companies to execute.

Another approach banks can consider is the Total Facilities Management approach.

The British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) explains FM Bundled Services as one supplier managing two or more FM services for a client.

It further explained that FM Integrated Services is similar to the bundled model, but a number of services are delivered by one organisation under a single management lead.

With regards to Total Facilities Management (TFM), BIFM defines it as a model where the entire matrix of FM service delivery is outsourced under a single contract to a single FM service provider organisation that may subcontract or self-deliver some or all of the FM services.

There are enormous benefits to be derived from any of the models explained above.

The “Hybrid Approach” where some FM services are kept in-house and others outsourced using any of the earlier stated approaches can also be used. This will allow banks to determine a bespoke FM service delivery model for their particular needs.

For instance, in a banking environment, security is likely to be retained in-house whilst other FM services can be bundled and outsourced.

The following services stated below can be combined and outsourced using any of the models stated and explained above;

Soft services

1. Janitorial and housekeeping

2. Vehicle fleet management and courier services

3. Fumigation, disinfestation and pest control services

4. Landscape and utility management

5. Waste and sanitation management

6. Catering services

Hard services

1. Air-conditioning maintenance and management

2. Plumbing installations maintenance and management

3. Building operations and maintenance

4. Generator and pumps maintenance and management

5. Lighting and electrical systems maintenance and management

6. Civil and carpentry works

7. Fire detection and suppression systems maintenance

Why banks should consider outsourcing their facilities management function

There are enormous business benefits to be derived by banks if they outsource their FM functions to FM companies using any of the models explained above.

Apart from getting benefits from bringing on board an outside expertise, banks will also be free to concentrate on their banking core goals.

Banks can, therefore, perform their core business with assurance that their non-core services stated above are running at the highest standard.
Other business benefits are stated below:

• Contribution to bottom line

FM companies have in-depth knowledge on how to manage an organisation’s largest and valuable assets such as buildings, equipment, installations and other environments that house important elements of operations. Therefore, the FM company will contribute to the bank’s bottom line by properly managing and maintaining the long-term physical assets of the bank which usually represent substantial investments.

• Substantial cost savings

Substantial cost savings can be achieved.

This is because FM companies enjoy synergies and economies of scale with facilities service providers, which serve as a powerful negotiation tool in determining cost of service provision.

FM companies are, therefore, in a better position to use strategic and tactical strategies to reduce banks’ operational cost on their facilities.

Bundling facilities services can help create synergies between services to produce efficient and effective results.

• Improved business performance

Banks can freely concentrate on their core functions to increase competitive advantage in their market.

This will enable banks to function at the most efficient and effective level as a result of properly managed value-for-money facilities services.

• Single point of communication

With any of the models, banks will enjoy a single point of communication with the facilities management company.

Dealing with different service providers providing varied facilities management services can be quite frustrating and time-consuming.

In some cases, some service providers do not even have any other means of communication apart from verbal communication.

With the above-mentioned approach, all communication regarding FM services will go to the single FM company.

This will result in an effective communication and responsiveness to resolving FM problems.

Service delivery is, therefore, improved and downtime of equipment is also reduced.

My conclusion is that business models keep changing. Banks are using technology to improve their business activities.

Also, shareholders are becoming more interested in how their assets are managed and maintained.

Employees give of their best if the right environment is created.

Facilities management is fast becoming the tool for creating conducive working environment and efficiently managing the assets of an organisation.

The time has come for banks in Ghana to outsource their facilities function to expert facilities management companies.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach in FM services procurement. The approach selected should be based on individual bank requirements.

The writer is a Facilities Management professional with many years of experience in the Facilities Management sector in Ghana and a member of the International Facility Management Association.

Tel : +233-244-580-856 Writer’s E-mail: knsiah@brollghana.com


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