FM Growth
  • 19 May.2021
  • 6 min read

#CREate FM 25 Talks with CRE Changemakers | Episode 2

by Umesh Bhutoria



#CREate FM 25 Talks is an interview series with CRE change-makers and Doers. With this, we intend to bring out first-hand experiences and best practices on digital transformation, energy management, and sustainability initiatives from industry leaders. 

Umesh bhutoria Interacted with Manoj Bharadwaj to talk about normalizing aspects and to see how an FM company looks at technology from carrying out the perspective and not so much disruption perspective. 

Brief about Manoj Bharadwaj,

A facility management professional, based out of Gurugram, India. He has done his master’s in information technology. after PG he started his professional career with a big multinational company handling global /local client and enterprise applications. He is also a Microsoft certified professional and lean six sigma expert. Now, representing Cushman & Wakefield in their integrated facility management and asset services business as a subject matter expert 

Q.1 Have you seen any big changes in the last 5-6 months in the way IFM works? Largely across hard services, such as maintenance & operations?

I always feel that evolution is unbeatable. We are so agile and adaptive that we are converting the disasters into the opportunity and I must say that the covid pandemic has accelerated the O&M business by bringing technology into the picture. To manage remote facilities from home I need a very agile and simple technology in place to effectively do my job here I would like to cover two major points. 

Let’s start with the aspect of touchless technology or contactless technology. For example, When I enter the office, I either need to sign up to register or need to make an entry into the system, but nowadays people do not want to touch anything. So starting from when you enter into the facility until you leave it, the facility management team needs to focus on how to make your entire experience safe and healthy. That is possible if the application uses Artificial intelligence or a machine learning framework. If any solution is designed or developed without them then I don’t that would survive another year, that’s my gut feeling. 

The next thing I want to cover is the change in mindset, so FM managers and FM leaders are thinking out of the box now, they are trying to reframe or restructure the benchmarking for facility management, with the help of IoT solutions, drone technology, or with the power of AI/ML. They have learned to maximize the efficiency in operations and now that can be managed from home or even from a mobile phone. People are now actually implementing it and focusing on how to keep assets optimized and improve lifecycle. 

Q.2 Pre covid there was no significant attention to a business case on IoT, analytics but now things have been changed. Is it because the contracts are changing (not limited to Cushman and wakefield) which is why FM is now looking to increase productivity and considering technology as allies?

Pandemic has not affected the big business contracts, but I would say that before this situation we had choices, we can manage manually or adapt with technology. But now we have very few options to do it and if we go manually we will survive. 

So we must have those sets of technologies and those sets of tools in place to be productive and efficient. So I need to know the entire thing from the system (application on mobile or laptop) without any need to ask for a technician. 

Q.3 How do you go about starting out trial projects which are not too far-fetched, but also not too short-sighted. Do you have any thoughts that you can share on how you typically prepare for trial projects? 

So most of the organizations right now are managing their businesses from their home right now, and have very limited access to people at the site. So we have realized that the trials for the deployment of any of the technology pieces are crucial nowadays. I am mostly spending a lot of time on risk management and risk analysis of different perspectives so it’s not related to a single piece. You also need to think broadly about the ROI. So I want to point out that there are 4 major ROIs aspects, leaders are now focusing on,

One is the experience of the employee, our contractors, partners, or the delivery champs. I need to deliver a safe and healthy experience to them and to do that, we need to focus on trials because now we have a very good time to spend on trials and we can also do detailed planning for the trials, not just a prototype but serious long term plan and due diligence to create long term strategies 

The second aspect is efficiency and operations. So if I’m working on a project then experience is the number one aspect, I’m giving it to an employer or the business who is running the show. If I am at home and my people are scattered at the facility then how to manage things? So within the trials, we need to make sure that the trial is not just a prototype or just an example but a full proof solution with all the checks and balances.

Q.4 Can you name that one project that you pulled off in the last six months that you are proud of and what learning could your peer group take away? 

Okay, so I only want to share one or two things because, in the past few months, I have delivered technology solutions for dozens of clients, so just wanted to highlight a few of them which are on contactless technology which was challenging for clients to accept and for us to deliver. These solutions were new to clients, partners as well as for us. Another example was the AI-based thermal scanners which are important to capture the temperature as well as recognize whether the person is wearing a mask or not. It will also recognize the frequency of the visits and send specific messages to them about the changing policies and safety precautions the facility is following. 

Another example is a visitor management system where you don’t need to sign or touch a paper. The system will take your photo and information. It will also help you select your beverages during the meeting. And the most interesting part is when it senses that a certain meeting room/team of people asks for a specific beverage then it will automatically recommend the type of beverage next time the person visits the room/ office. So now we have the efficiency as well as the data on how people interact and behave in the facilities. 

Q.5 That means you not only address one problem with the touchless technology but also improve efficiency and productivity as well. So how many such installations have you have implemented across India? 

That’s a big number. But I just want to share the key learning. So it’s not just we are doing it but everyone is trying to explore it now. So I also want to share one more thing on how you have to deliver the key learnings from these projects 

We are managing 50-plus clients so you can imagine the volume of requests and heat of deliverables. however, It is possible only with a good program management approach. So if you have a good program management approach You’ll deliver it flawlessly sitting at your home without going to the site. People are learning project management foundation courses because it comes in handy for managing big clients. It will help you differentiate clients based on a methodology to approach them. So that is going to be the main factor to initiate and deliver something.

The second thing I would say is the good set of tools to manage them and I would highly recommend Microsoft teams. That tool saved 50% of my job of tracking and collaborating with my team stakeholders, partners, and clients. So with that single app, I can manage everything. I have also applied the Six Sigma approach in my day-to-day work. That helped me to be effective in other projects be it a touchless, chatbot or any ERP solutions 

Q.6 How do you go about managing your client’s expectations when you start something, How long do your typical trials last?

The expectation from clients can be anything, but we do think whenever we are establishing a project for a client considering the current scenario. We need to tell them that to establish a foolproof system or the solution, we need to focus on trials and we need your support as well. So without your support, we will not be able to do it. So that is the number one thing.  

We need to check certain things such as the training part, remote working conditions, etc. Even though we are looking for trials for 6 months we need to have a contract for 2-3 years. because now we are spending more time, energy on trials so we need to establish a long-term goal and a relationship with the client which is always a win-win situation for both of the sites for a partner or a client. 

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