Being into the profession of housekeeping and facilities management one thing we can say for sure is that we really use a lot of products while conducting our business. In fact, if we start counting the number of products we use on a regular basis the figure can quite easily jump over 3 digits. There are so many things that are consumed every day for maintaining the facility of the client.
Another vital fact of the entire consumables story is the fact that the choice of products that we have to use as a facility manager is also highly influenced by customer preference and the nature of the business that he is running. Everything has to be aligned with clients expectations and his budgets. Integrated Facility Management company as a business is all about flawlessly serving our customers. The customer is really the king here and there is nothing that we can do or say to displease him. Let’s be frank here, Integrated Facility Management company in India is highly disorganized and the clients have many options to choose from. Add to it the new companies being formed which fight for the same business basis price. Yes, India is a price sensitive market and every client an Integrated Facility Management company would encounter would at one moment of pitch boil down to pricing negotiations. Unlike the western market’s clients in India take pricing negotiations as a vital service feature. This makes the decision of using the products even more vital.
Take the case of mechanization, for example, the clients in the western countries prefer a fully mechanized IFM and housekeeping solution. This cannot be done here India owing to the different nature of climate. Here we have lots of dust and dirt, so providing a quality service with the use of robots can never work out in India. However, the clients in India have started to demand the same hence we as IFM service providers are forced to use some elements of mechanization.
In India, we as responsible business niche must push the use of green cleaning agents. However, this seems like a distant dream now. We need to make people aware of the benefits of green cleaning agents and the harm that traditional chemical agents bring to their facilities. We really need to boost things here. Another challenge that we face in India is that whatever green cleaning agents are available in India are not much effective when compared to their USA counterparts. In the western countries, there is a green cleaning agent available for every cleaning operation which is better than its chemical counterpart. Here in India, the situation is not so and we really need to develop this segment as taking care of sanitation and health of the building’s occupants is also one of the duties of the facility management staff or team.
Challenge is not just in understanding what the client needs but also in implementing it. In absence of a comprehensive cleaning agent, the IFM company is forced to use multiple cleaning agents and this creates a tradeoff between the clients budget and his expectations. We have to manage and strike a balance in such cases.
The scenario becomes even more challenging when serving the government sector. We know this first hand because we have the experience of serving the Indian Railways. It is very difficult to impress such big and prestigious clients. Their demands and rules are very unforgiving and chances of making an error are almost nil. You just have to be on your toes while providing service to them. Hence the choice of products to be used in this case becomes of vital importance. Things have to best and they have to be in budget also.
The debate of price value equation is also there. The only way to beat this debate is to incorporate latest housekeeping and IFM technology in practice. Everybody knows that technology makes every process more efficient and workable, same is true for IFM (Integrated Facility Management Services) also. The better technology you use for your client the more satisfaction and value he will derive from your services, this will also help in narrowing down the choice of products that you have to make for rendering the services. This will also ensure that your team is under less fatigue and is able to be more productive human wise. We all know that nothing can replace the human touch when it comes to giving overall satisfaction to the clients.
Another very practical and real issue with making a product choice is the deferred payments from clients. Let’s be real here we all have faced this issue and are facing it even now. It’s like a trend in India. What clients fail to realize is that deferred payments mean a break in cash flow for us the IFM companies. At times this might lead to making a product purchase decision under duress. This is something which should be changed as it would really enable the IFM companies to lead a more progressive role in providing better services to the client.