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Towards an Integrated Future of FM Industry

This vision led to the launch of the Skill Development Program called Cleaning Sector Skills for Indian Facility Management (CSSIFM) in partnership with two Indian Vocational Training Providers- GMR Varalakshmi Foundation (GMRVF) and Don Bosco Tech (DB Tech). The leading Machinery and Cleaning Equipment Manufacturers Alfred Kaercher GmbH & Co.A.G, Hako Werke Gmbh, Roots Multiclean, Vileda Professionals, Columbus Gmbh, Vermop Gmbh and several other German manufacturers have supported the development of the Training Program, Training of Trainers and curricula. Clean India Journal has been a strong media partner since the very inception of the program.

Since 2013, about 600 candidates have been trained. With placement rate accounting for about 90% at Facility Management companies, the trainees passing out of the program are high in demand. Given the huge demand for semi-skilled staff and overwhelming support for the training program, VDMA along with its partners has started the discussion on separate Sector Skill Council for Facility Management.

Towards-an-Integrated-Future-of-FM-IndustryThe session on “The Road to FM Sector Skill Council- Why & How?”, with Jasbir Singh as the presenter, comprised conjuring awareness about what Sector Skill Councils are, the intent and how it would benefit FM companies to have their own SSC. Jasbir Singh reflected on his experiences in SSCs and engagement with National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC). NSDC is the apex body of Govt. of India (GOI) for Skill Development that has already deployed funds for the formation and functioning of about 30 such industry SSCs since its formation. Some of the key benefits of the Sector Skill Councils are:

  1. The industries with SSCs will be in a better position to attract trained workforce to their sectors unlike FM that is largely dependent on the unorganized workforce. This, in the long run would adversely affect the competitive advantage of the FM as a sector if the sector continues to not have an industry council.
  2. A sector skill council in the FM sector would allow the industry to benchmark international standards and productivity analysis. The council will also be able to navigate the industry growth and participate in national policy creation.
  3. The workforce on the other hand will benefit from the streamlined training process and certifications recognizing their training. This will not only pump in healthy and confident workforce but also help remove the social stigma associated with the FM industry.
  4. The sector skill council will hence help improve industry prospects, entrepreneurship opportunities, inculcate dignity of labor and self respect.

The Open House Discussion- FM: Organising an Unorganized Sector highlighted the following:

Challenges with FM Industry

  •  The present scenario of this business is highly fragmented and major portion is with unorganized sector. The FM companies have not made attempts to improve this situation as they continue to operate under the norm of Minimum Wage structure. More often than not, the statutory compliance is paid a lip-service, thus, creating disincentive for investing in training and human resource development.
  • Considering there is no Indian FM Industry Association, the challenge will be to have a larger industry consensus for creation of an FM SSC. The FM industry is largely interested in ‘selling head-counts and selling minimum wages’ and so an industry council would compel such companies to gradually fall in line with compliances and investment in training.

Need for SSC

There was unanimity amongst the participating companies and organisations that going forward, the intent must be to drive the agenda of the FM Sector Skill Council and the key FM players must jointly work towards its formation. This would There mean the participation of large, medium and small size FM companies in equal breadth. For instance, Jolly Kochery, CEO, Blue Bell Integrated Facility Management Services Pvt Ltd emphasised, “We need to get this going. Cleaning is a Science and the driving force must be to improve the quality of our services.” Dr. S. Chandrasekar, Executive Director, Roots Multiclean emphasised on the continuous ‘readiness and relevance’ of the FM industry towards which SSC could play a critical role.

A clear Definition of FM

A clear definition of FM is critical to the formation of SSC. Such definition must take into account the global view of the FM that is not restricted to cleaning/house-keeping but includes areas like security and CCTV Camera Surveillance. The SSC must define the segments to be focused on in the initial years and gradually become representative of all possible segments to ensure standardisation and training.

Disruptors in FM Industry

FM as a sector must not only cater to the domestic market but also to global market. For such readiness and relevance (largely absent as of now), the FM must focus on creating disruptors. Lopamudra Das, HR Head, JLL spelt out three such disruptors that are already existent that drive the decision of IFM business: (a) Presence of Big 4 Consulting Firms (b) Technology that will gradually take over greater share of the services market and (c) Expectations of Client.

Focus on end-user segment

Some of the representatives also emphasised on the strong need for participation of end-users in formation of such industry representation and their stake. For instance, CRG Prasad from Vileda Professionals emphasised that the seriousness of end-users is very critical to the improvement in demand of services from FM companies. Pharma is one such end-user segment where the norms and compliances are very strict. Maheshwaram V, Director, IFMA India too emphasised on the importance of engaging and addressing the end-users.

Taking forward

In order to take the discussion to concrete ground and actionable points, Jayaram Nair highlighted that the need for the support for the industry players, industry bodies and other stakeholders for skill development in the industry sector.

The other parameters are:

  • Alignment of organized and unorganized market segment of industry sector in the proposal, and plans thereof
  • Robustness of overall plan and operating model
  • Ability to integrate the entire skill development framework into a scalable model, as per needs of both the employer and the employee
  • Ability to leverage financial requirements
  • Ability to leverage management capability

A core group of companies comprising Clean India Journal, VDMA, Roots Multiclean, Kaercher India, Blue Bells Integrated Facility Management Services Pvt Ltd, Just Rozgar, Volksy Technologies Pvt Ltd and Nimbus Harbor agreed to work towards these points with each other and disseminate the information about actions and developments to other players in the industry from time to time.

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