Upadyay added “Indeed, long time contract is the way to go. For our projects, we are just not looking at the project cost for that point of time but enclosing in the project package, two years or three years of DLP plus the total cost of operations, if I give comprehensive AMC to a vendor, what will be my total cost of operations for eight years which is three years of DLP plus five years of comprehensive AMC.”
The client whose emphasis on cost is end up working with FM providers who are literally body shops, employing workers at minimum wages with no experience or limited expertise. “But, if the client is willing to pay upfront then the FM companies too offer skilled man power with experience. However, with robots coming into cleaning industry, we are already looking at more use of equipment and less of manpower deployment. I think the future is robotic cleaning and eventually the connected FM or the Smart FM concept will link up with these robots and with the main frames systems at the back which will integrate the entire supply system into one large eco-system and will deliver more efficiently with less manpower,” explained Sethi.
Narayan was of the opinion that as the clients are not willing to make investment into the services delivery base or renting of equipment, the large clients or large service providers will have to form alliances. Upadyay concurred that there was a difference between IPC and non- IPC and as per his personal outlook IPCs were more specialized.
Considering the FM and cleaning industry is quiet large in India, Schroeder was of the view that suppliers, service providers and other stake holders needed to collaborate in improving the industry standards. He said, “it is the procurement and finance departments that have to comprehend and approve of the costs implications of getting a good quality service. Public and businesses need to be made aware of what we are contributing – better property management and preserving values of assets. This is really not understood.”
Narayan said, “Talking about NSDC having a hospitality sector skilled council which will actually certify right from a house keeping attendant to a supervisor and a manager, is there any move in the industry to deploy operators certified by NSDC only?”
These concepts have just started to begin but, in the last couple of years’ businesses have been looking at diversity partners and working with NGOs to develop their skill sets, added Sethi. “It will probably take sometimes for clients to start recognizing the value and really ask for trained people with certification, as they will come at a cost rather than minimum wages”.
Upadyay, “I will be willing to pay extra for a certification if it comes with certain efficiency and value addition. If today I am deploying some un-skilled labor, who is say not certified and doing something in X-hours, I expect somebody who is certified to do better than him so, somewhere that cost component will come but having said that, better quality is equally important.”
Rawat, “If you can deploy more qualified persons offering better performance, one is willing to pay more as bringing in efficiency reduces the number. So if efficient man power is adding value and at the same time not impacting the budget considerably then it’s an absolutely acceptable proposal. To retain manpower deployed by third party we have taken initiatives like offering various facilities and cash incentives. Earlier we use to churn almost 30% manpower every month, now we retain almost 95% of manpower.”
Schroeder added, “If workers don’t know what they are doing, they are not producing hygiene standards and are not effective, so what I see from equipment supplier point of view is a huge potential to increase the productivity and delivery of good results. For example, German VDMA, has been conducting skill training program for past four years to work with the cleaning council. We need less people but better educated people who will get more money and they will stay longer in the industry. In countries like Germany, Austria, Switzerland and so on cleaning profession is a vocational training job which needs three years of education so people are trained cleaners, they are getting good salaries and recognition in the society.”
Concluding the panel discussion Narayan remarked that while, steps like long term contracts enable service providers to invest in technology, equipment and service, the skill training helps offer quality manpower and efficiency for which clients too are now supporting the service providers.
Indeed, long time contract is the way to go. For our projects, we are just not looking at the project cost for that point of time but enclosing in the project package, two years or three years of DLP plus the total cost of operations, if I give comprehensive AMC to a vendor, what will be my total cost of operations for eight years which is three years of DLP plus five years of comprehensive AMC.
– Navin Upadhyay