Q. What is the purpose of a Services “Center of Excellence”?
Avendra’s core purpose is to help our clients operate more efficiently with less risk and at lower costs. As part of our continuous improvement review, we found that through our Services offering (engineering, housekeeping and administrative), we can help customers overcome common challenges in contracting service providers. With the CoE, we have consolidated Avendra’s specialized expertise to dive deeper into service contracts and deliver best-in-class programs to customers.
Q. What do you offer Avendra customers beyond a list of contractors?
Not surprisingly, when it comes to service providers, most owners and operators want to find a qualified contractor at a competitive cost. Typically, they’ll find a local supplier to perform services such as window washing or landscaping. That often works out fine; however, there are considerable risks in this approach. For example, local contracts can be very one-sided and may fail to adequately protect a buyer from contractor negligence (e.g., injuries to self or others while on property) or poor performance (e.g., a poorly-maintained elevator inconveniencing a guest).
Avendra’s Services CoE rigorously evaluates prospective and existing suppliers. We have significant experience with and knowledge of insurance and indemnification and warranty provisions, as well as performance standards for suppliers in a variety of services categories. Our contracts are structured around current best practices in the industry.
From services like night cleaning to interior plant maintenance, Avendra provides customers the benefit of competitive pricing (through aggregation of spend) and the confidence that Avendra’s contracted suppliers are performing at a high level. We have established relationships with both national and regional suppliers, and we’ve developed strategies to address customer needs based on varying circumstances.
Ultimately Avendra customers can rest easy knowing their service suppliers are managed to a high standard and subject to comprehensive contracts.
Q. How does the CoE operate within Avendra?
Our team is focused on setting up and maintaining healthy service programs and increasing our reach. We’ve developed new initiatives and defined strategies to optimize the procurement of services for all types of clients. Members of our CoE work closely with Avendra’s Account Managers and Field Support to service the needs of our customers. There are currently 14 team members – five are based in Rockville, Maryland (Avendra’s headquarters) and nine are based regionally.
Q. What would be an example of how Avendra’s service contract programs benefit the customer?
Elevator maintenance is a good example. There are four big players in the U.S. who supply and maintain their own equipment, but they also work on each other’s brands – and Avendra has programs with all four.
This means that if an Avendra customer’s elevator needs repair in any part of the country, they are assured that they will be served by an industry leader at a competitive cost. The customer knows that the supplier has been vetted, that the contract will provide strong protections, the work will meet expectations and that support is available if any issues emerge. Avendra alleviates the hassle of supplier contract management, so owners and operators can focus on their businesses.
Q. Can you describe a current issue where the CoE offers solutions?
Laundry operations within hotels and other properties are undergoing significant change.
Hotels want to maximize functional and/or revenue-generating space. Yet those hotels with in-house laundry facilities have historically incurred the capital expense of equipment, not to mention the space constraints and the risks associated with chemicals and other materials.
As a result, outsourcing laundry operations makes sense and is the path many of our customers are choosing to take. That said, the decision isn’t easy considering that laundry is a huge expense and mission critical in a hotel’s operation. There is just no margin for error.
The Services CoE has developed programs with qualified and reliable laundry operators – both regional and national. Our structured sourcing strategy, strong contracts and strategic relationships with these suppliers can help clients make this key transition seamlessly and with confidence.
Q. What is one piece of advice you would give to an owner or operator?
My advice would be to take a good look at any new service contract or one that is up for renewal. Ask yourself: How am I covered if something goes wrong? How do I know I’m being charged a fair price today and into the future? If the answer is not clear, they should call Avendra or speak to their Account Manager or Field Support Representative. We are happy to help with their service needs.