As a result of demographic changes, growing customer expectations and technological development, there is a growing tension between the standardisation and personalisation of public service delivery towards 2020. But how can FM providers and services industry experts complement the demand for differentiation without correspondingly increasing the public service costs?
According to a 2012 IPSOS MORI market research study conducted in nine countries, surveyed citizens responded that two of the top three priorities for governments should be “to better understand the needs of citizens and communities” and to “make sure that services are tailored to the needs of people who are using them”.
While there’s always been a certain degree of personalisation in the public services, it has largely been limited to a superficial level. The reason for this? Costs. When public service institutions and governments are asked to cut costs, standardisation is the right approach to increase efficiency and improve the bottom line. In order to overcome this obstacle, it is critical for public sector organisations to work closely with private sector partners that can introduce scale, provide long term stability, and bring forth the necessary technical capabilities to employ a system of mass customization.
Mass customization: Doing more with less
Mass customisation has become the new frontier in industry competition for both manufacturing and service industries as it makes it possible to accomplish “more with less”. It represents a tremendous increase in personalisation without a corresponding increase in costs. In many ways, mass customisation entails developing a greater relationship between service providers and citizens that will allow for faster, more accurate, and thus more effective service provision.
Customize at the local level
In this regard, FM providers and services industry experts should focus on providing standard services with the option to customise at the local level - where contracts are personalised, responsive, and flexible in order to meet the needs of the local community. FM providers should also focus on developing project pathways for front-line service employees that take into account their personal preferences and allow them to specialise in a particular function of a given service. For example, having some individuals dedicated to cleaning and maintaining hospital wards, while letting others be dedicated to servicing the hospital foyers. Service at the point of delivery is improved by having those employees fulfill their preferred functions. FM providers are in that sense well-suited to assist public authorities in efforts to increase the personalisation of public service - they are experts at managing mass customised solutions while maintaining service excellence.
Personalise with technology
Technology opens new platforms for co-creating with citizens, which not only provides a personalised experience, but also enables them to design the services themselves. This moves beyond the idea of mass customisation towards mass personalisation. Adopting technologies in the public sector, gives citizens the ability to choose the ideal solutions that offer the most desirable outcomes for themselves and their communities. Active participation from the local communities and local public authorities is necessary to successfully integrate self-enabled and personalised service provision. Without their participation, mass personalisation at a community level becomes exceedingly difficult. So long as the necessary support from the central authority, FM providers, and others private sector actors is in place, individuals and communities alike will be able to design robust and responsive tailored solutions to public service delivery.
The future of the public sector depends on an ongoing effort to optimise and transform operations and services. To read more about the strategic optimisation and transformation issues facing the public sector - read our blog post: Seven optimisation and transformation issues challenging the public sector or download our Whitebook - Future of Public Sector Outsourcing.
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