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The Age of the Specialist

Article by Tessa de Grijff

In the past twenty years, facility suppliers have been showing a keen interest in growth and expansion. This happened mainly through the addition of new services. Those who provided reception services went into catering, while several cleaning companies decided to dabble in security. This mechanism created large, ‘jack-of-all-trades’, full-service Integrated Facility Management suppliers.

In healthy economic times this multi-service model seems to work just fine. Clients tend to have a less critical attitude towards services and be less cost driven. And, to be honest, it does sound convenient: a one-stop-shop for all your facility needs.

However, you’ll probably agree that making visitors feel at home is a completely different ballgame than arranging catering. Also, a good cleaner does not necessarily make for a good security officer. The truth is that organizations become more critical when the economic wind starts blowing in their faces. Imperfections in the service are noticed. This is exactly what is unfolding at the moment.

All the services mentioned above – reception, security, cleaning, catering – involve highly specialized tasks. The right training, skills, attitude, and full dedication are required to perform them at a high level.

As an active party in the market there’s a risk involved in randomly adding new services to your arsenal. There is a big chance that you’ll have to disappoint your client at one point or another. The new services rarely get the dedication, attention, time, and focus they deserve when organizations are merely looking for revenue and market share. This is not the way to create truly high level services, because the amount of time invested in recruiting, training, and guiding the right people is simply not sufficient.

At bouwens&, we decided on day one never to aim for growth in size, but rather for growth in quality. Obviously, we too had to resist the temptation to add a number of services to our operation. We consistently chose to turn our energy towards improving and fine-tuning the services we excel at and love. Will that make us the biggest fish in the pond? Probably not. Will it make us the best in the business? We’ll let others decide that.

What matters to us is being a specialist, and being proud of it. When we do something, we do it right and with all our hearts. We listen, observe, and always have an open line of communication with the client to know their current requests and needs.

We expect to see specialized services – mostly in reception, hosting, and security – on the rise in the coming years. It’s time for a new Age of the Specialist. We are more than ready.