Defining Needs and Managing Performance of Installation Support Contracts

Perspectives from the Commercial Sector

by Laura H. Baldwin, Sarah B. Hunter


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This study describes an analysis of best commercial practices in purchasing facilities services and food services and how buyers and providers apply performance-based practices in their contracts. The authors interviewed relevant personnel at six commercial firms that are prominent buyers or providers of these services to draw "lessons learned" for the Air Force. They found that (1) two-way communication is at the heart of productive buyer-provider relationships; (2) a reasonable number of meaningful performance metrics can enhance communication; (3) contracts that describe what is needed rather than how those needs should be met support provider efforts to innovate and reduce costs; (4) benchmarking can enhance evaluation of proposals or performance; (5) formal contractual incentives can be a powerful tool; and (6) contract flexibility can yield important performance and cost benefits.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Recent Policy Emphasis on Performance-Based Services Acquisition (PBSA)

  • Chapter Two

    Gathering Information from Leading Commercial Buyers and Providers of Facilities and Food Services

  • Chapter Three

    Research Findings on Services, Contract Types, and the Use of Performance-Based Practices

  • Chapter Four

    Implications for the Air Force

  • Appendix A

    Interview Protocols

  • Appendix B

    Examples of Performance Metrics

  • Appendix C

    Reported Use of Performance-Based Practices

Research conducted by

The research reported here was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted within RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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