Digital transformation
  • 13 May.2021
  • 3 min read
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Facility Management leaders in UAE reveal their strategy to invest in technology

by Sumit Nawathe

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In our previous article, we tried to explore key driving factors that are responsible for the growth of regional facility management firms in the MENA region. We have seen how the agile approach, customer centricity, and extreme focus on upskilling of the blue-collar workforce have helped those firms to stand out and perhaps defeat global players.   

After publishing that article, we received a couple of feedback from our readers, they wanted to know more about the activities, vision, and perspective of those regional facility firms towards technology. After all most of the firms share a different set of difficulties and challenges while trying to find out ways to differentiate themselves and provide value to their clients.

Hence, in this article, we thought of sharing more details on those aspects. We followed the same principle of research as we did in the previous article and gathered the publicly available information and data to come up with our findings.

Due to the unsettling economical conditions, It is evident that organizations of all sizes are refocusing on their budgets to become more competitive and resilient in nature. For FM service providers, business continuity and operational efficiency have become even more critical. Hence, FM leaders are depending on a diverse set of digital tools to boost efficiency and ensure that clients receive the services they require, when and where they need them.

Leveraging the data

Imdaad facility management services focus on analyzing the data accumulated from their BMS over a long period. With deeper data analysis capabilities their systems can fx more than 90% of the faults remotely without human interventions helping them to drive greater efficiency and reduce costs for clients, as well as overcome the challenges of social distancing. 

Mahmood Rasheed, COO of Imdaad believes that “Companies that embrace advances in areas such as IoT and automation are set to reap the benefits in the long-term” and he makes sure to follow the same when it comes to investing in early-stage technologies for at Imdaad 

Ejadah, a leading FM firm now focusing on moving from the traditional planned and preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance and reliability-based maintenance (RBM) which is a step-by-step instructional tool on how to analyze system’s failure modes and define how to prevent or detect those failures early. They are confident that RBM will ensure greater safety and environmental integrity improved operating performance and greater maintenance cost-effectiveness. 

Workflow management & CAFM 

Imdaad has recently adopted a smartphone-based solution that provides real-time tracking of operational data. When a work order is generated, the system automatically searches for the nearest technician and assigns the job, enabling the FM team to allocate resources more efficiently and ensure rapid responses to clients. 

On the other hand, Gopalakrishnan, Director of Operations at Emrill suggested that Over the last twelve months they have adapted and evolved their existing services rather than launching new services. 

Emrill’s existing efficiency-enhancing app for the blue-collar workforce enables them to log faults, upload photographs and raise queries, so they can work through a checklist of actions to be resolved and completed. With the addition of new mobile application, technicians can also access all asset-related information, including manuals, references, contact information for special, approved services providers and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) diagrams. 

Emrill has expanded the capabilities of its CAFM platform, FSI Go to ensure optimum usage of the CAFM mobile apps. Now technicians can access FSI Go on their mobile devices and can log, update and close jobs without leaving the site. This has helped them reduced the dependency on paper-based logbooks and also improved accuracy and increased efficiency by approximately 10-20%.

Energy Management:

Farnek facility management firm emphasis implementing  IoT and AI to ensure efficient energy management services. Nadia Ibrahim, head of a consultancy, Farnek recommends the three key principles for conserving energy efficiency in a building.

A. Measure, monitor, and control energy consumption, 

B. Automation of equipment/system controls, 

C. Benchmarking energy performance of buildings

Following those principles, Farnek has been carrying out successful energy management for iconic landmarks including Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall. Over the last four years, Farnek was able to reduce total energy consumption for those facilities by 17%, which is 31,000 tonnes of CO2, representing AED22m in cost savings. 

Nadia Ibrahim, Farnek believes that “Having a good energy management system not only reduces utility consumption but also potentially provides huge savings.”

Last year Farnek introduced and conducted the first-ever virtual energy audit at one of their facilities, since this does not require onsite visits, these audits can be conducted relatively quickly and cost-effectively, compared to physical audits.

Indoor Air Quality

After CDC’s new report on Covid-19 as an airborne virus, the air quality has become the main concern among all commercial real estate stakeholders.

Tarek Nizameddin, senior executive director at Ejadah, said “The pandemic has opened the eyes of facility managers on the issue of ‘Sick Building Syndrome’ (SBS) which was not a priority in the region prior to 2020”

The causes of SBS are frequently attributed to pathogens including viruses, bacteria or fungus or ventilation, humidity and temperature-related issues. But fortunately, The industry has now learned the importance of disinfection and monitoring of the facilities. Leaders are focusing on ventilation, humidity and temperature controls, and ensuring that all are properly functioning where the system maintenance schedules are precisely followed and recorded. Most notably, facility managers are now more involved with the requirements to notify regarding any unusual individual symptoms or environmental concerns.

There are many other innovative practices these regional facility management firms are implementing and delivering added value to the end customers. Out of all the success stories of technology adoption, one thing becomes clear that facility management services can no longer be differentiated based on the cost of the service. You have to create that competitive edge by delivering what clients might need tomorrow.   

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