Sumit Sabharwal, Managing Director, OCS Group India
Over the past decade, facilities management (FM) and the expectations of it have undergone a sea change as the emphasis grows on managing customer experiences as much as the space – be it a workplace, mall or hospital.
Traditionally engaged to provide housekeeping, FM companies today offer a host of services aimed at enhancing productivity, collaboration and community in the workplace.
FM services and their providers are constantly evolving, innovating and transforming to ensure their competitiveness in an ever-changing market. Below are some key trends predicted to shape the future of the facilities management industry in India and around the world in 2019.
The role of IOT and data analytics
A leading analytics firm1predicts that by 2025, data analytics will be critical for energy savings, reduction of total lifecycle costs, business efficiency and sustainability. Data can help measure the key drivers of performance – property and people – and the links between them. Efficient collation and analysis of data can help organisations streamline their operations to ensure compliance to environment obligations such as energy conservation. Understanding this, facilities management firms are making data analytics an integral component of their service offering.
According to market research firms2, the advent of IoT (the Internet of Things) will be one of the major trends in FM in the coming years. IoT employs technologies such as predictive maintenance, which results in lower operational costs and increased productivity. There will be increasing demand for cloud-based facilities management solutions as well. This will help maintain consistency in services provided at multiple locations and will lead to better knowledge sharing on the latest techniques to improve facilities.
AI to shape workplaces
With robots doing everything from handling mundane jobs to performing complex operations, Artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer a distant dream. FM service providers that use AI can become value-added partners by delivering sustainable solutions in an industry that is high cost, high expenditure and heavy maintenance.
The advent of integrated services
Increasingly, corporates are outsourcing their daily operations, allowing their in-house teams to focus on more strategic aspects of the business. Integrating services results in a more streamlined and smooth functioning of operations. This strategy also ensures there is a single point of contact for all amenities, as well as consolidated accountability. This works for both small and large enterprises looking to maximise their efficiencies and minimize time lost handling day-to-day tasks.
Fuelling the demand for FM services is the advent of the co-working office market. India’s co-working segment has witnessed strong growth over the past couple of years. Co-working spaces aim to create a collaborative experience for its tenants and FM services that focus on the delivery of this through efficient management of operations, cost compliance through technology intervention and wellness measures will be more sought after.
Wellness in the workplace
One key aspect of the workplace growing in importance is wellness. According to a Corenet survey3, 80 per cent of employees agree that a company’s wellness offering will be crucial in recruiting and retaining them over the next 10 years. Employers must provide not only a neat and clean workspace but a holistic healthy working environment. As our environment continues to change at a rapid pace, FM partners with services addressing healthy workspaces will be in high demand.
It is clear that the focus has shifted from facility-centric activity towards end-user satisfaction. FM is becoming a core value-driven service with the ability to impact overall business, providing customized offerings that meet corporate and end-user demands while providing smooth day-to-day running.