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Spotting the next trends in facilities management

Service providers and clients alike will need to give more attention to wellness issues

Gulf News

Facility management (FM) contracts from across the Gulf are predicted to hit $66 billion (Dh242 billion) by 2020. It has grown both in size and scope — evolving from a tactical service to a strategic discipline. Here are what I see will be the next set of trends in the industry.

Wellness

Wellness is a trend that will grow significantly within the UAE FM sector over the course of 2018 and beyond. It is part of a growing realisation that the internal environment of buildings is as important as external factors such as air quality. In fact, because employees spend so much time inside their workplace, it may be a more important contributor to their wellness — or lack of it — than the outside space. Facilities managers across the world are employing a holistic approach to the entire way that a user experiences a building.

Facility services companies such as ourselves have a responsibility not only for running buildings, but also for the welfare of the staff inside it. This isn’t just limited to the traditional health and safety parameters. It’s about making the environment a desirable one for people to work and live in. Fundamentally, we help to make employees happier.

Outsourcing and procurement

Following the collapse of Carillion, global procurement professionals realise more than ever that the small margins they previously thought were viable are actually a threat to the stability of their suppliers. The UAE faces similar issues, often with FM and security being a race to the bottom on price. One of the lessons to be learnt from Carillion is that businesses being forced into providing lower and lower prices, is simply unsustainable and could have a long-lasting and damaging impact on many of the suppliers in the UAE’s FM market.

Technology

Robotics and wearable technology are fast becoming part of FM in the UK and we can expect the UAE to pick up this trend in the near future.

Meantime, field service management will continue its trek toward complete digitisation. The days of paper-written tickets, work order creation, and tracking are ending. Computerised maintenance management systems (CMMS) will replace manual tracking logs and streamline FM. For example, our B2C offering, “Transguard Living”, is in the process of implementing a new phase of field service management linked to an Uber style frontend app for customers to buy services in three simple steps. This in turn feeds into the field service management function for service delivery.

The emerging FM trends will provide direction for facility services companies to look at the best way to reduce costs, gain stakeholder support, and improve profit margins.

— Stephen Beesley is Chief Operating Officer at Transguard Group.

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