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‘Long term contracts will accelerate penetration of automation’

Rajesh Shetty, Managing Director, Real Estate Management Services, Colliers India

What impedes a more rapid acceptance of automation and new technology? Post-Covid, will corporates still settle for outdated, less-efficient solutions? Rajesh Shetty, Managing Director, Real Estate Management Services, Colliers India has all the answers.

In your opinion, are FM/housekeeping service providers aware of all the latest available cleaning solutions? If not, why not?

Yes, the FM and the housekeeping service providers are well aware and also fairly conversant with the latest technology-enabled cleaning solutions. However, their utilisation or adoption at the ground level has been very selective and slow, owing to both investments required and migration of skilled resources to other industries.

With business resumption post Covid, corporates will pursue moving away from the erstwhile resource dependencies and upgrade to capitalise on the full benefits of technology advancement, accelerating the change and migration to newer cleaning solutions. Soaring labour costs and demand for a more hygienic and safe work environment will only hasten and encourage newer implementation of cleaning solutions.

In your opinion, what advanced cleaning solutions available globally are not yet available in India? Why does India need them?

Green cleaning is going to be the way forward and has been well adopted globally, and in India, it will make its mark soon with all corporates executing the same overall focus on sustainability. ESG is at its peak and has taken center stage now. Green cleaning solutions are essentially about the implementation of cleaning regimes that use recycled material products to reduce or eliminate the usage of plastic waste, with the primary focus area on the reduction and control of infection transmission in the built environment.

In your opinion, how much and how well has automation penetrated FM at your facilities? What is needed for this trend to rise further?

Though automation has increased considerably over the years, its on-ground utilisation is still at the lower rung of the FM business, and still has a long way to go to cover the full spectrum of FM business, and across a wider range. Contrary to the belief that upskilling of resources is the challenge, it is the mindset of higher initial investments and uncertainties around the return on investments amongst the stakeholders that is slowing down the successful migration to full automation. Entrusting partners with long-term contract tenures will further accelerate the penetration.

 What products and softwares are needed to increase the element of accountability in housekeeping?

At the core of housekeeping accountability is the adoption of the Japanese ‘5S’ best practice, which needs to be diligently followed and imbibed to sustain any housekeeping program. The usage of sustainable products addressing the safety of users and that of the environment is key. Strict adherence to the instruction manuals is vital in avoiding any violation, reducing the downtimes and thereby ensuring higher productivity.

From a software perspective, tracking and reviewing critical parameters with provisions to make advanced analysis that would further enable task re-prioritisation and readjustment of schedules would add more accountability to the overall housekeeping program.

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