The Indian facilities management (FM) industry is in the midst of rapid developments in end-user industries, which has led to considerable growth of commercial activities in metropolitan cities such as Delhi /NCR, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Chennai, and Bangalore. The forecasted CAGR over the next 3 years in the FM Industry is estimated to be 17.19 per cent by a Technavio Report. The majority of the Indian market today is still comprised of the unorganised sector, however due to the growing influence of urban development, post the modernisation, and the Rera act; the market is now moving towards a more organised approach. In effect, FM services are steadily gaining popularity among commercial as well as residential clients.
The recently announced plan by the government to develop a 100 smart cities is a clear indication of the growth opportunities in the FM space in the country, as it now goes beyond just the Tier I cities. This plan is expected to see a surge in investments (nearly $200 billion) into infrastructure sector, which would inevitably create a need for professional FM services with majority of the newly formed market is expected to be structured keeping in mind the concept of the smart cities. The growth in real estate in the country is expected to increase with the people’s preferences now leaning towards a safer, cleaner and more secure environment. Also with the IT boom in the country paired with the E-commerce investments by companies such as Amazon and Alibaba, the overall need for infrastructure and organised spaces is only going to increase, which makes the future for FM quite bright.
Facility management in different sectors
The term Facility Management broadly encompasses the maintenance related activities of all classes of Real Estate Projects – Commercial, Residential, Infrastructure, Retail, Hospitality and Industrial.
The Services are broken up into a few broad categories -
- Soft Services: Housekeeping, Horticulture, Pantry/office services, Pest control, Club house Management, Guest Relations, Help Desk
- Hard Services: Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Energy Management & Consulting, helpdesk, Information Technology & Support
- Security & Safety: Visitor Management, Fire Safety & Systems, Emergency/Quick Response, Guarding, Access Control Systems
- Accounting & Billing: Financial Controls, Billing, Forecasting, Lease & Occupant Coordination
One of the biggest challenges faced by the industry today is the availability of the manpower. The FM industry requires professionals, semi-skilled and unskilled manpower. The supply of professionals that are able to handle large scale infrastructure projects is still relatively low (especially when it comes to technical services) in India, and hence keeping pace with the rapid growth the industry has to offer is a big challenge as even today majority of the professionals require thorough training and time to understand their role. On the other hand, although there is an abundance of unskilled manpower in the country, there are still two underlying problems that FM companies face. The first problem is training the unskilled manpower to adapt to systems and processes to run a professional FM service, and the second problem is retention of manpower as the unskilled staff are highly prone to switching jobs.
The other challenge in India today is the market perception and acceptance of unorganised players. Today, there are thousands of unorganised players in the FM industry that enter the market with a focus on only 1 or 2 services such as housekeeping or pest control. Majority of the market is still willing to accept a less professional and organised service for a lower cost. This also creates a hindrance in the organisational aspect of the sector as most of the small players do not comply with statutory compliances and insurances which means they are able to offer services at a lower cost as compared to the organised players. Although this does help in introducing FM services to clients that may have been otherwise reluctant to venture into this space, in the long run though this would not benefit the industry progress that is aiming towards a more professional approach.
Technology and Automation
We believe that technology is already playing a massive role in the way the FM clients are serviced & businesses are running. Processes that are already implemented are: - Capturing and analysing data through training and operations, performance rating module which gives a precise report for every employee on the basis of quality of work, knowledge, attendance and training needs. Keeping a tab of equipment and machinery performance on site with respect to status, knowledge and the condition of the equipment/machinery which also gives an understanding of the service outcome at regular intervals. And extrapolate analytics and insights which is a detailed analysis of the site with regard to site performance, client feedback, employee performance and training needs. The FM industry is gradually shifting towards a more automated service delivery, with companies offering technology driven platforms. The growing footprint of facilities management in the country would require innovation and demand in Specialised Engineering Services, covering areas such as energy efficiency audits, and Green Building concepts. Companies will begin using Artificial Intelligence/Internet of Things to make themselves more efficient in the future.
The market will soon witness a greater demand for quality services that shall abide by the international standards, which could also mean that the smaller unorganised sector will merge with the large players in the market. The market is also expected to mature and people would begin to look at FM as a more holistic services which includes all the different verticals such as Housekeeping, Pest Control, Engineering/Technical services, Security, Front Office etc., and clients would prefer to deal with one company rather than smaller individuals that do not provide all the required services under one umbrella. In the future the growth of various sectors would help shape the FM trajectory in the country. The opportunities are vast so as long as the FM players evolve with the market demand, it will provide employment for millions of individuals in the country in the coming years!
(The writer is City Head – Bangalore, SILA)