A strategic sourcing approach can accelerate enterprise growth. Deeply knowledgeable on IT issues, procurement leaders offer a sophisticated understanding of how to make IT purchases impactful to the corporate bottom and top lines. The next hill to climb in delivering increasing value to the C-suite may lie in another significant expense category: corporate real estate. Companies outsource facilities management and related services to reduce expenses, and those expectations are met, but they soon learn that real estate strategies can provide even greater value in areas such as employee engagement, worker productivity and risk management. The right real estate partner with the right strategy in place can also help companies optimize balance-sheet and P&L impact, enhance employee attraction and retention, and meet strategic goals in areas ranging from M&A to sustainability. These goals are often the responsibility of internal departments other than real estate, so gaining the benefit requires strong collaboration among internal teams. If this collaborative spirit doesn't already exist at your company, bringing in a third-party real estate partner can help bridge communication gaps and align the goals of different departments to gain mutually beneficial results. Some areas where collaborative initiatives pay the biggest dividends include:
Real estate and facilities may be the most misunderstood corporate function in the world of sourcing. Despite the fact that real estate is one of the largest corporate expenses, senior managers often are only vaguely aware of all the myriad strategies that exist to reduce cost, manage risk and drive productivity. Real estate is a strategic corporate function that affects every aspect of the business, from the C-suite to Finance to HR, and the ability of business units to operate effectively. But often, corporate real estate (CRE) leaders are perceived as the guys who work in the basement and clean the restrooms. This misperception is somewhat dangerous. In a recent survey, more than 70 percent of CRE directors said they face high internal expectations for increasing productivity in the workplace and improving efficiency within their department, but only 28 percent feel "well-equipped" to meet these rising demands from senior leadership. The challenge is intensified by the growing trend of procurement professionals affecting real estate sourcing decisions. More than two-thirds of CRE leaders see procurement taking an active or even leading role in real estate decisions, but only 42 percent believe the procurement function is sufficiently knowledgeable about the facilities function to make informed decisions. The problem lies in the notion that real estate is a commodity service, so the goal of a procurement team is to find the lowest-cost provider. That approach might make some executives look good as cost-cutters, but the damage to the business greatly overshadows any incremental cost savings. Companies that fail to recognize how real estate strategy affects corporate performance will inevitably fall behind their competitors, in terms of their ability to attract and retain talent, maximize profit and mitigate a range of risks.