– Pradeep Lala, MD and CEO of Embassy Services
Facility Management (FM) is an amalgamation of art and science. The broad FM domain involves tasks such as Housekeeping, Security & Surveillance, Technical & Engineering Services, Environmental Health and Safety, Building Compliance, Energy Management, Water Management, Waste Management, Project Management, Asset Management, Soft Services, Risk Management, Landscaping & Horticulture, Pest Control, Business Support Services, etc. Each of these functions dwell into specialised processes and sub-functions basis the types and scales of infrastructure.
As a practice, FM starts from areas as small as our households all the way to large IT/ITES business Parks and industrial warehouses. While the support services in a modern-day apartment is a simple example of what FM involves, the scale and diversity of these functions in a much larger system requires professional and qualified teams to fulfil operational tasks.
Facility Management has evolved from just cleaning and safety to employee welfare and business optimisation
While the conventional role of FM was to simply keep the spaces safe and hygienic, today FM contributes to larger needs such as reducing carbon footprints, sustainability, attracting and retention of best talent, and even overall happiness and welfare quotient of people at the workplace. A facility is judged by how clean, green, efficient, and sustainable it is; these are very important to employers, employees and builders.
A good facility management team will pursue a predictive and prescriptive model of operations which means that they are constantly studying the efficiency of all the man/machinery and checking if there is any scope for malfunctioning/outage. This reduces monetary/time loss for organizations that are dependent on this infrastructure.
Brief role of a facility manager
A facility manager overlooks the day-to-day functioning and maintenance of a premise. The role involves managing staff stationed for Housekeeping – sanitation, cleaning, hygiene; Security – manpower, surveillance systems, emergency response, fire and safety, visitor/vendor management; Utilities Management – electricity, water, HVAC; Waste management – dry, wet, water; Horticulture – landscaping, pest control, etc. Some facilities require much more specialised services that come under a Specialist Services Group who work in EHS (Environment, Health and Safety), Project Management, Audits & Certifications, Compliance, Energy Management, Technology implementation, Risk Management, Engineering, etc.
Skills required to be a facility manager
The most important skillsets for a good facility manager are people management and clear communication. Since the system involves multiple people and multiple roles, a good facility manager ensures delivery of their tasks through constant communication and scrutiny. While some organizations still use paper checklists and verbal communication formats, advanced Facility Management organizations make use of customised technology tools to analyse data. A basic qualification coupled with a degree in engineering or hotel management is the most preferable skillsets for the industry.
A great career option for the youth
Every building, premise, etc. requires a facility manager without whom it cannot function properly. Traditionally, this was done by the Administrative wing of the organization. However, many have realised that outsourcing this complex function allows them to focus on their core business area which results in ease of doing business and increased efficiency, thus, cost and time savings.
Over the years, with exponentially growing real estate markets and MNCs venturing into India, and the pandemic reshaping the needs of modern businesses, the demand for certified and compliant facility management services has skyrocketed. The industry is estimated to hit over 400 Billion USD by 2025 with a CAGR of 18% which means that there will be Lakhs of jobs generated in this sector. This will allow many Engineers, IT Graduates, Hotel Management Graduates, etc. to pursue FM as a successful career path.
A word of advice
Take a quick walk around your home, apartments, and locality. Make a detailed study on the various things you see wrong, unclean, malfunctioning, leaking, etc. If you are able to rectify them and create preventive measures that stop them from happening in future, further if you feel a sense of fulfilment doing it, you will surely make a good facility manager. This activity will also show you the importance of proficient facility management which is the most people-centric and integral part of our ecosystem.