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Red Sky Property Services Pvt. Ltd, India, is a part of the Red Sky Group, which has been providing property maintenance and contracting services throughout the UK and Ireland for over 17 years. Christie Cherian, Managing Director, Red Sky India, speaks to CIJ

The Red Sky has grown from very modest beginning with just a couple of vans and a handful of staff to over 700 employees today. Red Sky commenced operations at Chennai in May 2008. “Our mission in India is to become the best property maintenance company by providing professional services through well trained staff and to deliver the best values to customers.”

In a market of over 2000 FM companies, Red Sky aims at providing its clients with a neat, clean and orderly environment. “We are servicing 25 sites mostly for corporates and plan to extend the service to airlines, international airports (Trichy/ Mangalore), TN Agriculture University (Coimbatore) and hospitals.”

Apart from its Chennai office, Red Sky has opened an office in Bangalore in September 2008 and now has sites at Coimbatore and Hyderabad. “Bangalore is much more cosmopolitan with more corporates that believe the office should reflect the company’s brand and image.”

The range of services provided by Red Sky includes – property maintenance, contracting services, commercial cleaning, pest control and annual maintenance contracts. “Under the property maintenance, we have Response Maintenance (RMS) and Planned Maintenance Services (PMS). RMSs include in-house help desk/call handling/historical costs and maintenance reporting/pre-agreed rate schedules and cost control procedures with full documentary backup. PMSs areas are monitoring and diagnostics for all types of buildings, pre-planned preventative maintenance, detection of weak areas/leakages. All areas concerning building repairs, electro-mechanical aspects such as air-conditioning, ventilation systems, plumbing and drainage are cared for. Areas where air-con effect is being lost owing to poor insulation and energy loss are highlighted.”

All services are rendered by staff trained to follow Red Sky’s standards. “For recruiting staff, we have tie-ups with companies that provide us with trained manpower. There is no question of outsourcing staff as direct supervision will not be possible. This business is labour intensive and involves a lot of training. Hence importance to retain trained staff and reduce attrition. It is normal to lose some staff annually but all steps are taken to ensure that staff remain with us. This makes our company different. We look at ways to provide incentives on a long-term basis. Since our staff work at premises even when occupants are away, it becomes an additional responsibility to have known and trustworthy workers.”

In its first year, Red Sky has been operating with around 150 workers and the number is expected to rise to 500 by end – 2009.

Besides quality staff, Red Sky believes in quality service. “If you look at the by line below our logo it reads: ‘Whatever it takes’. What it means is that, if we do a job and the client is not happy, we are ready to go back and do it again, so that we satisfy the customer!

“Our USP, as we have it in the UK, is best practices, with best materials. We have awareness programmes on cleanliness and environment for the staff who take ownership for the service delivery. ‘In time, every time’ is another of our tag lines. Besides, transparency, traceability and key performance indicators (KPIs) aid our performance. ‘Customer comes first’ attitude is adopted to ensure the customer get the best attention.”

Even in times of recession and cost-cutting, Red Sky has special packages for clients. “Yes, everyone is cutting budgets, so we try to be flexible. So if clients tell us that they are reducing by say 15 or 20%, we modify our service to suit their requirement. When using hotel rooms, I leave a note on the bed saying ‘don’t change the sheets’. Why waste water washing sheets everyday when my stay is for just two days? That’s the same principle, we use in our servicing. When times are difficult, instead of completely stopping the service, you can modify it.

“Constant and regular interaction with the customers helps us to learn more about their business and we are able to improve services and thereby customise the services. A customer may have a pantry catering to an international company with expatriate staff. We offer classes in Spoken English to staff servicing the site, so that they get another skill, adding to their development. We offer them promotional opportunities too. A good supervisor in a hospital can be promoted to head a facility and manage 20/30 staff.

“We also try to bring in some new inputs, innovations, technology into the work we do. ‘Reach and wash’, a new technology used for cleaning windows sets it apart from the usual “ladder & bucket” approach. We use the best products and equipment. When we do our assessments, we send people to study things carefully. We encourage our people with training to pay attention to be observant and also to be proactive. We are trying to bring a culture change. We are an international company and we adhere to set standards. Red Sky also does some energy saving, waste disposal and recycling programmes, all as part of a holistic management”.

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