By 2020, India’s urbanization investment requirement is of $1 trillion,” reports McKinsey Global Institute. Hence, it is high time for India’s Facility Managers to get ready and equipped for managing complex buildings and related infrastructure in sustainable and “smart” ways. John Ringness, CEO, NEXT FM Solutions, Vancouver and President IFMA’s Global FM Consultant Council who serves on the Board of Directors of IFMA Mumbai Chapter elaborates.
With my experience as the Chief Facilities Officer earlier at Lavasa and presently at Kohinoor Group, Mumbai, I have had the opportunity of witnessing the important journey of Facility Management in India, and understand the essential role the industry should play in the sustainable built environment within the country. Over the past six years there has been a tremendous amount of change in the world-wide FM profession and coupled with the recent local political focused drive and economic activity; more than ever, the need for professional sustainable facility management expertise has grown exponentially. So, it is imperative that we apply the global best practices in conjunction with the practicalities of the local context.
A paradigm shift is occurring from low price to cost value model. The industry must start addressing lifecycle which is the number of years or cycles an asset will operate before it is made redundant. Manufacturers will always sell to a willing market and once consumers start demanding a longer lifecycle, the manufacturers, will produce them.
As India moves towards urbanization, increased demands on the electrical grid and water supply will not only impact the business continuity but society as well. We need to understand the intersection of economy, social and environment factors and the four elements within Facility Management i.e. People, Property, Process, and Technology.
Let us focus on two of these elements – People and Property.
It is appropriate to first address People because without people, the FM industry could make a lot of noise but just be found, spinning its wheels and going nowhere.
One of the encouraging trends in India is the appointing of Facilities VP or Chief Facilities Officer in a company reporting directly to the MD/ President level. This type of proactive strategic working relationship brings an aligned rhythm to both the long term strategic direction with the tactical execution of mission objectives. This realignment establishes FM on par with the other Strategic Business Units, sending a strong signal to the other departments within the corporation and its customer base.
The move usually communicates that FM is so much more than a cost centre but also a revenue generator. The effectiveness and efficiencies of the FM services carried out positively or negatively impact customer acquisition, employee retention and of course the bottom line. 96% of all dissatisfied customers never complain about the product or service they receive, however 91% of those 96% simply never return to purchase again and they will tell their friends and family about the poor delivery of product or service. So the condition of the built environment with its FM employees and systems who deliver the services is extremely important.
Another consideration is training of and for the FM employees at all levels. Its not simply training that is required but it is essential to have credential training with consistent follow-up program for effectiveness. An interesting development is occurring within the FM world; with the access to the internet, anyone can pull key words or jargon off the net, but when one starts to peel back the discussion, it does on occasion lack depth of experience of practical workings. If a vendor comes to pontificate his company’s services or products, adopt the strategy of “show me”; this quickly illuminates the gap between a good talker and current reality.