While outsourcing facilities to a service provider, clients must look into the necessary compliances that have to be fulfilled; Cost is secondary,” opines Manoj Agarwal, Head of Operations, CSJ, L&T Realty.
“Whether the service provider is doing serious business or just working to garner short term profits can be ascertained through their supervisory capabilities.”
The success of the outsourcing model largely depends on the standards set by the client company, standards expected of the service provider and the standard level agreed upon by both in a particular contract. “The SLA has to be prepared after addressing the specifics which should include the need, desired mechanisation of cleaning, labour involvement and also take into account the challenges during peak hours and so on.”
“We are outsourcing facility services to Green Asia Facility Management Pvt Ltd, which provides security, housekeeping, pest management and technical services.”
Most service providers today have successfully structured their entire service model. Workers being the backbone of services, any loophole or shortage can take a toll on the service provider and lead to a chain reaction down the line. Hence, on the safer side facility service companies are now keeping about five to 10 workers as buffer, in order to avoid the consequences of absenteeism. Over and above, keeping janitors/security staff motivated, engaged and well trained should be the motto of the service provider to garner profit from the business.
“On site, we too co-operate at various levels when needed. For e.g., while heading the InOrbit mall, Hyderabad, I managed to provide separate area where Muslim people could offer their Namaz. Such small facilities do help keep them motivated and happy.”
This also strengthens the relations between the client and the service provider. “In turn it puts both on the same wave length and there is more transparency in terms of billing or service failure. It is a partnership where both need to pat each other.”
Some for the activities that lead to a healthy relationship between the two include joint sessions and training facilities where the client could exactly mention their needs/way of service and service providers could train their men accordingly. “Such training and transparency will be robust if evaluated and consolidated properly.”
Similar is the case with cleaning equipment, consumables and accessories. If the provider does not have the latest equipment, the client must make them aware of it and not compromise. This helps not only in meeting cleaning standards but the growth of both the service provider and the client. “For instance, if a service provider does not give janitors microfibre but cotton cloths for cleaning purposes, then the client should demand for it. This will make service providers aware of the fact that microfibre not only improves cleanliness but it is cost effective in the longer run. They would agree as ultimately it is their business and not the client’s; the discussion must move with positive understanding.”
Requirements should be mutually understood. A broader width escalator cleaning machine not only cleans the escalator efficiently but also does that in a very short time, which is essential in a mall. In parking area, it is wise to use ride-on scrubber drier while inside the high traffic areas a walk behind would suffice. “We have a combination of wireless battery operated ride-on and walk behind machines.”
“Now-a-days, what is happening is that if one provider bids for contract at some price, another one tries to seal the same with 30% lower price. As service providers run on very low margins, clients must look into the service facility details and think that for a short gain they may have problems in the long run. Clients rarely look into the cleanliness compliance but at cost. They too at their end must refrain from unnecessary deductions and not just remain focussed into their own profits.”
“With the message that ‘Cleanliness is next to godliness’, we have put sacred images at corner places, where people are used to throw and spit. This has helped us to keep those areas clean.
People don’t walk more than 8-10 steps to throw waste into the bins, hence bins must be placed at regular/proper distances so people will not throw anywhere but only into the bins. “We have put small boards showing the dustbins directions as well.”
L&T Realty has its presence in west, south and in Chandigarh. It is soon coming up with one of the largest malls in Navi Mumbai having a metro station and commercial complex.
Success of facility services also lies in supervision. Whether the service provider is doing serious business or just working to garner short term profits can be ascertained through their supervisory capabilities. It will also reflect, the vision of the service provider and how effectively it is transferred to the janitors.