Impact of Technology
The second Master speaker of the day Markus Aschis the Deputy Chief Executive Officer& Vice Chairman of the Management Board at Alfred Karcher, GmbH & Co. KG. The company based in Germany is one of the world’s largest manufacturer of cleaning equipment. Markus presentation focused on the technology and its impact on FM companies. He rued the fact that as cleaning solution provider, they enter a project, when everything is already constructed and sometimes it becomes difficult to maintain. According to him, cleaning is not about a cleaning product or equipment but, it is an entire process that varies for a hotel, industrial facility, mining operations, so on and so forth. He said, “The seven trends in marketplace today include technology, urbanization, globalization, healthcare, sustainability, individualism and demographic development. In the increasingly connected world, the resources are availed from all over the globe and access to technology is getting easier. This means that going forward, just providing technology would not be enough for customer retention, it would need solution and service competence. Maturity of demographic population means that instead of technologies developing in western world and then getting adopted elsewhere, the innovations will happen more in emerging markets and then embraced in western countries. The ageing population in Japan, Europe and America demands more automation & ergonomics to keep people healthy and in workforce. This also means more emphasis on IAQ in the office spaces as maximum time people spend is in their offices.” Markus emphasized that the increasing urbanization has led to congested urban environments and combining of functions within buildings leading to more complex FM operations. “The future trends comprise, focus on maximum customer interface, personalization of products and services and consumers becoming producers namely Prosumers,” he said.
Talking about impact of technology on cleaning, he stated that communication between building, machine and user is the future. “Combining the building knowledge with cleaning knowledge will give efficiency. Driving the change will be cleaning on demand, low frequency & high frequency areas cleaning, robotics for cleaning simpler areas along with advanced communication process and efficiency of processes. Awareness of cleaning is still low in FM as it is not a visible product but let’s not forget that it can drive customer satisfaction,” he added.
Real estate & Supply chain management
The panel discussion following the presentations was on the topic of changing face of real estate management and how it leverages technology. The discussion revolved around changing landscape of real estate and the way of working inside those buildings. Sajit Sankar Managing Director, Integrated Facilities Management & Asset Services, India, Cushman & Wakefieldmoderating the discussion raised the questions of labour intensive Indian firms being really ready to go beyond CAFM & CMMS and adopt IWMS – Integrated workplace management system. Shamsher Sindhu, Head – Infrastructure and Projects, Kotak Mahindra Bank was of the view that stricter labour laws on anvil will drive IWMS implementation but what is needed is the availability of cost effective, home grown products as well as example of such a system already implemented somewhere for the company leadership to experience. Shirish Tare, Director, Urban Infrastructure Venture Capital Ltd. felt that while parts of IWMS are being implemented in isolation, to implement it in entirety, the firms will have to involve the end users. Sreedhar Saraswathi, Business Head – South Asia; ARCHIBUSagreed that with raising real estate cost, FM has become a core business enabler than cost center. “Change of mindset or cultural change is needed for technology to become a driving force,” he said. Padmanabhan Kannan, Head – Corporate Real Estate & Workplace, Mindtreestated that FM deals with people, processes, vendors and various systems and IWMS integrates all these systems in a single framework for better performance. “To achieve correct application and use of the technology, vision of the FM head becomes critical,” he emphasized.
Taking forward an important aspect of the real estate management, which is the Supply Chain Management, the next discussion focused on it, as a catalyst in FM outsourcing. Moderating the discussion S. Narayan, Founder & President, Integronstarted with stating that today FM companies are expected to not only maintain property but entire townships, municipal services and property management property, going beyond single building across locations. This has made the job of procuring & planning for services across multiple functions & places a complex issue. Vikas Rawat, Vice President – Operations, Nirlon Ltdpointed out that while at project stage, right material and right cost are key to procurement, at the maintenance stage, the assurance of supply and guarantee of price with minimum cost escalation over time becomes essential. Aval Sethi, Head – Supply Chain Management & Procurement, Asia, Integrated Facility Management, Jones Lang LaSalle Property Consultantsmentioned the challenge of sourcing materials from vendors across spectrum of services and satisfying clients at the same time. According to him, IT led supply chain, emphasis on sustainability & compliances, risk management with in supply chain and technology driven delivery modules are some of the latest developments. Navin Upadhyay, National Manager – Procurement & Capacity Management, Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd.added that FM has now become a specialized segment and some of the important considerations while outsourcing FM include, value for money, efficiency & optimization in manpower and materials and streamlining of facility management. The biggest challenge in FM industry remains the quality of manpower. To address the issue of skilled workers in FM, Ruediger Schroeder, Managing Director, Karcher Cleaning Systems Private Limited informed about the three-year vocational training for cleaning professionals in countries like Germany and Switzerland. If the same practices are followed in India, he feels it will bring government recognized skill sets into the industry and recognition of cleaning industry by the society at large. Comparing the international FM industry with Indian industry, he pointed out the lack of understanding of logistics and delivery process in supply chain and not giving due importance to after sales service by counterparts in India.