Comment – The Collapse of Carillion

Adrian Pendle, Managing Director of specialist electrical contractors, Intersafe, comments on the impact on independent contractors following the recent collapse of IFM giant Carillion.

Adrian, what is your reaction to the recent news about the collapse Carillion?

Obviously, we are deeply concerned for the thousands of Carillion employees who suddenly find themselves out of work, but it has been encouraging to see the industry rally around them, with lots of support being offered on platforms such as LinkedIn, as well as the official support for the learners and apprentices who are just starting their careers within the facilities management industry.

Has Intersafe been affected by Carillion’s liquidation?

Thankfully, Intersafe are not immediately, nor directly, affected, as we do not supply any of the large FM companies which focus and select suppliers purely on price. Intersafe are focussed on delivering a high quality service, and we would be unable to sustain this at the rock bottom prices these larger FMs demand.

Longer term, we hope that the trend towards consolidation within the FM industry will reverse, with more end users considering a return to, and appreciating, the value of specialist providers.

Do you think the business model of the Integrated Facilities Management companies is flawed?

There is definitely an opportunity to question a business model which focusses solely on cost reduction, without regard to quality of service.

Several industry leaders have already commented that the industry must learn from what has happened, and that this should act as a catalyst for change from a cost-driven service model to one that is driven by longer term value.

I have no doubt that most organisations will now reflect and ask themselves if they are doing the right thing. Inevitably, some will conclude that they would be better served by using an independent, high quality, specialist contractor.

How does the service offered by a specialist contractor compare to an integrated FM provider?

End users need to outsource services, but when they outsource to an IFM they lose a lot of control and there is always risk associated with that. As a specialist contractor, Intersafe are focussed on working with the client to provide a bespoke service, which minimises disruption to the end user. We offer a flexible service, we pride ourselves on the quality of service, and we use fully qualified, full time employees who receive a decent salary.

What opportunities do you see for Intersafe as a result of a potential shift within the industry?

As I said, I think the opportunity lies in end users who will realise that the loss of control is not worth the risk and would rather regain control and use a specialist contractor.

There is a reason why Rolls Royce Motor Cars, The Four Seasons Hotel in Hampshire, Cineworld Cinemas, The University of Winchester, Sunseeker, Huhtamaki, Thermo-Fisher Scientific, Mulberry and many more already choose to use Intersafe.

Just because you are a large organisation doesn’t mean that you don’t or can’t use independents. These customers appreciate a flexible service and the control they retain. I am sure more organisations will follow their example over the coming months and years.

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