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Home > Facility Services > Leader, Learner, Mentor…& Achiever

Sathish Rajendren, Chief Operating Officer – Facilities & Asset Management Services, Knight Frank India,

In a new series of articles, Clean India Journal will focus the spotlight on a single veteran of the Facility Management sector, who will share with us his or her professional and personal journey, pass on valuable lessons learnt, elaborate on the values to which he or she subscribes, and cast an eye on the industry’s future. We begin this series with Sathish Rajendren, Chief Operating Officer – Facilities & Asset Management Services, Knight Frank India, who has over 18 years of rich experience in Corporate Real Estate (CRE) for Occupiers, Developers & Investors for Facilities and Asset Management:

What was your strategy in 2020 and how will the FM sector look in 2021?

Our strategy for 2020 was twofold – for employees and for business. On the employee side, we were more focused on their well being, ups killing and productivity. From the business perspective, our focus was to ensure business continuity, provide multiple business models for sustainable operations and seamless return-to-office programs for our clients. We also wanted to in stil confidence in our existing clients with respect to change in workplace protocols and risk-free workplaces. The organised FM sector in India is worth $15 billion and continues to grow by 20-25% annually. The FM industry is positioned for a V-shaped recovery. Fortunately, the pandemic has brought FM into the forefront in the form of different opportunities that are all set to transform the sector rapidly in 2021. It’s time to reset the future of Facilities
Management and take a proactive approach as we move ahead in the growth curve to overcome challenges and leverage opportunities.

Industries are evolving, making CRE an integral part of their evolution, and this in turn determines the overall strategy of growth of any organisation. Which industries do you see will be taking the lead?

CRE has been playing a vital role in the process of business growth as workplace solutions are the key for the end-user experience and productivity. IT/ITES constitutes a major piece of the pie in the corporate real estate segment. BFSI, data centres, cold storage, e-commerce and logistics segments have the potential to grow and cross $120 billion in 2021 with an annual growth rate of 51% . These are the other major sectors that will be exciting for FM business growth in 2021, apart from commercial office space.

Accelerated technology trends are likely to impact the CRE market. What interventions and trends are you looking at for 2021-22, specific to India and globally too? 

Major disruptions have been witnessed in the CRE market over the last six to seven years due to the evolution in technology trends. Evolution of trends are rapid and started with ERP solutions; with IoT coming in, the change is massive. Other advanced developments in terms of technology solutions are picking up, with Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Cloud Computing etc being extensively used in CRE functional domain.

With industries in recovery mode, how do you perceive the property management companies stepping in to make the difference? 

Property management companies have been a significant partner in the RE industry for more than two decades as outsourcing of non-core business activities has become a common phenomenon. Insights in the market intelligence reports provided by property management companies are vital inputs for the industries to chalk out their next steps in planning workplaces, return to office, new project developments etc. As we move forward, the role of property management companies will be more strategic and long-term in nature, with facets like digitization, sustainability, hygiene, employee wellness and safety gaining importance. This will call for more collaborative efforts between
different user groups of the property.

Will the importance of Facilities Management business rise post COVID-19?

At this crucial time, facility managers have emerged as front-line warriors to ensure business continuity with the highest level of resilience from the very initial stage of the crisis. And they are the key stakeholders in our RE ecosystem, redefining workplace management solutions and recalibrating the standard operating procedures to ensure safe return of operations and business continuity.

FM being a custodian of the workplace built environment, it plays a very significant role in streamlining the expectations of CRE to ensure effective solutioning and to run the facilities smoothly. So, FM will certainly gain importance as many end-users have realized that FM plays a significant role in ensuring safe workplaces and Business Continuity Plans through implementation of effective protocols.

You have been in the spotlight with award winning milestones. How would you describe your achievements?

More than the awards, I always count on my blessings and continuous learnings that have always helped me to perform better. It is a constant effort and an evolving journey of almost two decades, with a passion to achieve something significant in whatever I do. Also, these achievements contribute to my academic knowledge enhancement, industry growth, nation’s economic growth and networking with industry leaders across the globe.

How has your passion for academics helped you grow?

Learning never ends. I believe the sky’s the limit for learning, and it does not have any age limit. Learning is an integral part of an individual’s development. My learning is not limited just to academics, but occurs always, even on the go – I learn from people around me, I learn from my everyday work-related challenges, I learn some new things from my teenage son and so on. It is these everyday life lessons that help me to be a better version of what I was yesterday.

I have a long journey ahead with a clear vision of approaching the industry in a manner that transforms business operations with a clear commitment to learning and developing talent. As a leader, I encourage my team to focus on learning and attaining additional qualifications which enhance industry-specific skill sets.

With my role on CoreNet’s Global Board and with RICS in South Asia, I have actively participated in a range of print and broadcast media, articles, speaking at industry events and have moderated a numerous global and regional panel discussions. This has helped me to grow into a profound management professional with determination to augment my knowledge and skills in a dynamic and diversified environment and contribute back to the fraternity. I’m also passionate about mentoring
young minds and helping them grow in their career spheres.



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