The Facilities Management industry has overgrown over time, from individuals performing maintenance works on a few buildings to companies overseeing operations of large, complex and diverse portfolios. Real estate owners are now aware of the prominent role the facilities management plays in enhancing their return on investment (ROI). By utilising innovative technologies and sustainable solutions, modern FM companies can support the industry reduce costs and increase efficiencies, while maintaining, and often enhancing, service and quality; in addition to extending the life cycle of their assets, contemporary FM is taking center stage.
Therefore, having the right, capable facilities management company on board, that has the knowledge, know-how, and expertise to provide an affordable, smart and more importantly quality driven service is essential and is critical for the sustainable growth of the sector in the long run. ‘CM today’ talks to two such FM companies – Khidmah & Al Fajer Facilities Management – on some of the best practices involved in maintaining residential sectors.
Khidmah pride themselves for being able to provide integrated services that never compromise on quality, yet considered affordable. What sets them apart is the fact that they offer a larger spectrum of integrated facilities management solutions that include home maintenance, MEP solutions, and soft services. “We also offer professionally trained lifeguarding services that are not offered by many other peer companies, giving us an advantage in the market,” says Abdulla Al Wahedi – Chief Executive Officer at Khidmah.
Al Fajer Facilities Management too sets the bar on the wide array of services across cleaning, landscaping, security, engineering and a lot more offered to the residential sector. The company recently completed its ISO 41001:2018 certification, the world’s first international Facilities Management System (FMS). “Our approach centers on providing KPI driven services, delivered by comprehensively trained workforces and using the latest in innovative technologies. The cumulative result of these priorities is that our clients and partners are empowered through greater compliance, greener cleaning solutions and more optimal energy management,” adds Sangeetha B, Deputy CEO of Al Fajer FM.
It’s all about being an all-rounder when it comes to the residential sectors. However, there are a few best practices that are making an impact on many of the units. Wahedi says that their services are both technologically powered, and sustainability-driven. “We have also adopted measures such as environmentally oriented waste collection and disposal, designated recycling bins for plastic disposals among others in our communities to create an environmentally friendly surrounding,” says Wahedi, who adds that one of their core services, which not many in the sector offer, are professionally trained lifeguards.
Wahedi also elaborates on its plan to reduce plastic and thus promote the use of biodegradable plastic in soft services and waste management operations. Additionally, Khidmah is also taking several measures to reduce its use of plastic by 20% in 2020. These measures include launching many recycling initiatives and processes, reusing Dry Liners, and using biodegradable items such as paper bags, Wooden Cutlery, Muslin Pouches, Glass Bottles, and Canvas Bags.
According to Sangeetha, three of the most important best practices, in the context of residential FM, are creating a skilled and knowledgeable workforce, choosing the right technologies and tracking processes effectively and end-to-end. “FM partnerships can add value through consulting and advisory services for owner associations, upgrading residential real estate business models by making outcomes consistent and enhancing asset management. For instance, simple changes, such as intelligent lighting, can have a significant impact on energy consumption, asset lifecycles, and occupant experiences,” she adds.
None of these are complete without the right set of training. Both companies pride themselves on providing a wholesome training experience at their respective centers. The Khidmah’s Training Centre conducts workshops and lectures to train their staff on the use of the technological equipment and machines that would allow the company to elevate the productivity and efficiency of its manpower while extending the lifecycle of the machines. Staff is also trained on the use of cleaning materials in an eco-friendly manner.
Sangeetha points out that at Al Fajer FM there is a concerted focus on staff in residential units contributing to high standards of customer experience, “and our Al Fajer Emergency Medical Services division also trains our staff in critical lifesaving skills, so they can assist in responding to crises if required,” she adds.
Both the companies have always believed that adopting the right technology, hiring the right teams and thinking out of the box, can drive efficiencies across the board and add value to clients. “As a practical example, we have installed smart thermostats, smart lighting, Wi-Fi-connected electrical outlets and smart door locks which can provide lower operating costs on energy bills, improve health and productivity for occupiers, assist with real-time surveillance and enable a faster emergency response,” explains Wahedi.
They have also launched the ‘FM Connect’, an application designed to further enhance the company’s service delivery by optimizing task allocation to technicians in real-time to leverage technician specialties and geographical locations and more importantly, provide timely services to the clients at market leading delivery standards.
Al Fajer FM, on the other hand, has introduced technologies that significantly reduce water consumption in cleaning use minimal chemicals and pollutants. The company is looking at robots for façade cleaning and is introducing new grease extraction and duct cleaning systems. “We have commissioned a fleet of green cleaning trucks and Al Fajer FM’s security department is identifying upgrades in tracking technologies and biometric systems. Our digitisation efforts include a new ERP system as well as fleet management and camp management solution.
Technology is the most effective tool to ensure efficiency, sustainability, and impeccable customer experiences, and Al Fajer FM is committed to attaining the highest standards in all these outcomes,” says Sangeetha. With the onset of many upcoming residential units, it is only natural for companies like such to be prepared and introduce best practices on all fronts – be it residential or commercial.