The facility services segment is dynamic in nature with different levels of service providers sharing the same space. Despite odds, the projection for India shows exponential growth in the coming years for the service segment in India. Vijayalakshmi Sridhar compiles views of a few facility sevice providers on the industry trends.
In the last three decades, the facility service segment in India has been growing rapidly and with just a handful in the organised sector, ascertaining the number of operators in this field has become difficult. This segment is unique, as the players, even in the unorganized sector – tend to commonly use the term “professional” to define the services they offer. Everyone who gets into the race ‘offers’ a combination of both technical and non-technical services and evolves to specilise over a period of time. Undercutting, under quoting, poaching and other detrimental factors is hampering the standards and smooth growth of this segment. While one can say these detrimental factors are prevalent in the Indian market for a long time now, do we see it changing now?
Training & Quality
Cost challenges and deffered payments largely influence the comprehensiveness of services being offered.
No doubt, quality delivery is possible with trained manpower. Presently, training is a roadblock; particularly developing the right skill sets that is required to meet the escalating demand is challenging. On site training is topped with refresher training to keep up with the changes. The current attrition rate is reported to be between 3.5- 8%, which is another major detrimental factor in terms of investing in manpower. Various initiatives ranging from attendance bonus to employee assistance, reward and recognition with promotions are being offered to maintain a healthy workforce strength.
In terms of quality, Rajesh Shetty, National Director-Facility Management, Colliers International, says, “ We see to it that there is continuity of knowledge and awareness among the workforce and the gamut of services does not suffer by people movement.”
Price vs Service
The business for service providers has been an effort to strike a balance between impeccable service quality and having a competitive edge. However, the customer expectations are rising. MK Padmanabhan, Chief Executive Officer, Faber Sindoori Management Services Pvt. Ltd says, “Since the definition of “Best” is almost an individual perception, whatever be the improvement demonstrated in the present scenario, it still needs further enhancement to keep up with the increasing industry demand. IFM companies are well versed with the quality standards and the practices to be followed to achieve the desired results, but when the price to meet the demand is not achieved, the cost cutting measures make it tough to realize the higher level of service expectations consistently. So the service providers truly feel the pressure, since the debate on compensating the right service charges for the right work to upkeep the level of expectations is still in the nascent stage.”
The cost cutting mechanism, however, is adversely affecting the service segment and damaging the client confidence in outsourcing services. There are service providers who have taken a bold stand in turning down contracts that do not meet contract terms. Nonetheless, being a very competitive segment, in the wake of the uncertainity in the ability to sustain standardized practices has taken the back seat.