The facility management industry in Kolkata has been slowly expanding with corporates, hospitals, mall, etc., now resorting to IFM across properties. Adding to this expansion is the growth in infrastructure, smart cities and multi-national companies that have set shot in Kolkata. Rina Choudhury, Managing Director of NIS Facility Management Service Pvt. Ltd, traces the growth of her company alongside the FM segment in Kolkata.
While facility service companies were being engaged over the last decade for various requirements separately, the shift from engaging multiple service providers to a single IFM service provider has been seen largely over the last few years.
“Until recently, even hospitals had one contractor for housekeeping, one for cleaning, and so on. With increasing awareness, hospitals are slowly trying to outsource nonmedical functions to facility service companies,” says Rina.
Besides hospitals, some newspapers and even IT players, have started hiring IFM service providers.
One of the other drivers of FM in Kolkata is the construction companies. “Most of the new buildings coming up are green buildings, and FM has become an integral part of their operations. Malls is another big sector. Nowadays, even schools are also outsourcing all non-core activities to FM companies,” she added.
NIS Services manage over 1,000 properties across India. “We are preferred vendors for INOX, Reliance retail, Spencers Group and Easy bay. This has been the case in the East region, and is now true in the north as well. Whenever a property is acquired, NIS is informed. We move in with the security team, then housekeeping comes in, then the electromechanical part. We’ve got some clients in Bengaluru and Hyderabad as well,” explains Rina.
“We took around 35 years to really establish ourselves as the preferred vendor for the eastern part of the country. Vision-wise, we believe in three things: commitment, transparency and taking care of people. We want to take this forward pan-India. That is the reason we are taking a little more time in understanding the right client, so we get into business with the right terms, without diluting our vision. We are also growing with our clients and developing with them.”
NIS is an old company, but are not old! The industry started thinking about digitization much later, but there are people in this company who are visionary, so they started thinking about it long ago. The entire objective of digitization is to improve the workforce. “In FM, reduction in manpower is not so much possible since we are also doing customer-facing jobs. But digitization brings in a lot of efficiency.
“We are working with IT companies, to get our clients’ equipment monitored. We are also shifting our approach. We too were doing plain housekeeping and security, but now we are into integrated FM. In fact, we are doing more of IFM than anything else. And unlike other organisations, we are not outsourcing, but doing it in-house.
“Ten years ago, we used to offer projects to clients based on their expectations and demands. When machines were deployed, clients wanted to know how many. When people were deployed, they wanted to know how many. Over time, the expectations of clients have changed. Now, they are going more into SLA-based. For example, they want toilets to be cleaned, without issuing any order, in whichever it could be done, as long as it is done.”
Digitization helps understand which machines and people are idle. “On an hourly basis, we are trying to allocate work accordingly. This also helps us manage multiple projects with the same manpower. Multi-tasking will grow, but the specialisation will remain. Digitization requires an initial investment, and no-one can tell what the returns will be. It’s not so tangible. Clients are a little shy of spending on this.
“Earlier, the daily reports reached the client at the end of the day. Now, they want to see everything online. Also, digitization saves on storage space. It is better to be in the Cloud, and take out a report whenever you want.”
With a manpower strength of around 16,000 employees on the rolls NIS also hires from nearby areas in other parts of India. “We recruit from villages, and train them in our academy. They don’t have to pay for their training.
“Attrition rate is only 6%, but we get disturbed by this, because it is a constant irritation for us. The kind of growth we are aiming at right now, we need to retain more manpower. Swiggy and Zomato are competition, since they offer fast and big money.