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Evolving FM through COVID-19

Ivan Foo • 12/05/2021

As the world recovers from COVID-19 with a potential resurgence in infections due to variant strains, Facilities Management, like many other businesses, face an urgent need to transform internally to meet increasing challenges and adapting to changes in how the built environment is being utilized. Locally in Singapore, the Real Estate Industry Transformation Map that was launched by the Government in early 2018 fortunately created a foundation for the market to quickly adopt improvement measures needed to navigate through the COVID-19 outbreak. However, more needs to be done as we revisit some of the core drivers that are leading the revolution.  

Technology plays a key role in overhauling how FM services are being delivered and is becoming the main differentiator between service providers. The solutions in the market are wide-ranging; from simple off-the-shelf software that improves communications or removes administrative work, to heavily customized applications that streamline and automate workflows. All solutions achieve either one of two objectives that matter most to clients; improving the service level and customer touchpoint or reducing the dependency on manual labour and increasing productivity, with the latter gaining traction as labour woes continue to plague service providers.  There is unfortunately no one-stop magic solution available in the market today to address the challenges, and it often requires a detailed evaluation of the FM value chain and the client’s expectations.  

As FM service providers continue to explore the wide range of technology solutions in the market for adoption, ongoing reskilling and upgrading to staffs’ competencies are also required to complement and support the changes brought on by technology deployments. This is not limited to front-line operational staff that will likely be required to utilize IT applications during their work, but also to the managerial levels as they implement and integrate various solutions that is data-analytics driven. The same goes for clients as they acknowledge new ways FM services are delivered through lesser on-site manpower, often with deviations from traditional FM processes. A successful transformation is thus heavily dependent on the mutual agreement between FM service provider and the client in setting out clear service deliverables and KPIs, how these are met or assisted by the technology deployments, and a transition timeline with periodic performance reviews.  

C&W Services understands the complexities in navigating through this difficult period, and firmly believes each individual client has their unique priorities and objectives. Careful evaluation and deliberation on various considerations such as existing delivery process and client interface are therefore exercised when adopting current solutions proven in other projects, to arrive at a customized solution that will improve service outcomes. We look forward in meeting the upcoming challenges with all stakeholders in the built environment.  

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