The concept of total facility management which looks at performing all the non-core activities of the client is complex in nature as it covers a wide range of tasks. It is essential for both the client and service provider to clearly define the quality of services and the manpower required in the contract. However, a service provider faces challenges in the series of steps involved before the deal is sealed, says Prashant Sule.
Firstly, getting the contract into force is a time-consuming process. “The site survey, making of the proposal, deliberation on the various services mentioned in the proposal, sequence of presentations made to various departments including the administration… all takes time before reaching consensus on the contractual terms with the client. It does not end there. The contract is then deliberated upon by the finance department where the final blow is dealt on.
It is administration departmentwhich slashes costs after cutting cutting corners in terms of equipment, materials, processes and manpower. The finance department, which believes in getting the best services in least prices, then deliberates further on the cost and brings it down to its bare minimum.
The frequency of cleaning, the area to be covered, existing state of the surfaces and the range of services required are a few of the variables that affect the price of the contract but is not taken into consideration by the client.
“This excercise of cutting down cost takes over six months in its desperation to start off, the administration department, having got the management approval, expects the service provider to start operations as of yesterday!” says Sule.
In the bargain, as often happens, the service provider is faced with the practical problem of procuring trained workers and in most cases has to source local manpower. “In the case of PCIES, we create a team comprising of 40% existing trained staff and 60% new recruits. Ideally, the client should confirm the contract month prior to start-up and also pay additionally as training charges. This way from day one of the contract, we will be operating with trained staff on the site. But in most cases, the client is reluctant to pay training costs or even for staff uniforms. Their contention is that the service provider is getting an opportunity to do branding in the client’s premises,” explains Sule.
PCIES uses the well-equipped training centre of PCI in Karjat, Mumbai. This residential training centre with accommodation for 25 people is also used for training senior staff members. As far as the washroom hygiene services are concerned, “the staff is trained at the Mumbai office.
“PCIES offers special feminine hygiene services whereby sanitary waste receptacles are installed in washrooms and serviced periodically depending on the usage. The staff members are trained to handle the receptacle hygienically, empty the contents in collection bags, replenish the inner lining with the germicidal cover and the disposal of the sanitary waste at our centres. In the process, they are taught to ensure to leave the washroom clean and hygienic.
“Besides, we are extending our services in this segment to include the entire range of washroom products and services. PCIES will now bring the quality services of Cannon Hygiene to India. In the case of hygiene products, we have around 1000 clients as of today. There is an entirely separate workforce for hygiene comprising of 50 people and that of maintenance services is around 700 people.”
PCIES is servicing over two million sqft area which also includes industrial facilities. “We provide services to many offices and small establishments and are steadily growing. The company has more than 55 clients across the country for cleaning services. There are quite a few factories like Videocon in Aurangabad, where we do complete cleaning of the premises – within, outside, roads and façade. Other industrial facilities include Raptakos in Thane and Chennai; Videocon, NRB bearings and Sterlite in Aurangabad and TVS in Bangalore.”
Backed with the experience of servicing in hospitals through OCS, PCIES is looking at expanding services in the fast growing healthcare sector in India. “Majority of hospitals in Bangkok are using OCS services. We plan to move the same standard of services to India. We will be focusing on large hospitals, especially private hospitals. The potential is huge and prospective clients can view the modules that we have in other places. I have personally gone and seen quite a few hospitals in Bangkok and we are really doing a fantastic job. Currently, there are many healthcare centres coming up in South India and our services will be available to them.
“Home cleaning is another fast developing segment which is a novelty in this part of the world but is popular in the UK and Europe. Household help is unaffordable and people prefer to call in a cleaning agency once in a fortnight or month. This frequency suffices in houses or complexes that are completely sealed. Currently the business demands higher manpower because of the great distance between locations. Once this catches on it would be big business with higher profit margins.”
Finally, there is a wide range of activities that PCIES is engaged in and offers professional services in all segments but quality delivery is possible only with the proper understanding and coordination of the client. “I would like the clients requiring services to be very wary as to whom they are awarding the contract to because there are costs involved at every stage that need to be taken into consideration. Considering that the service provider is handling the property and dealing with valuables of the company, confidential information and other such small and large components, it is essential that every person who comes to the site needs to be police verified, and police verification comes at a cost.
The client refusing to pay for this triggers off a security hazard which could have adverse consequences. Clients should look at a service provider who is organized, ethical, complies with all statutory requirements and definitely one who has trained staff members who have undergone verifications.”