European FM in turmoil

29th of June 2012 Article by Pedro Chidichimo

Pedro Chidichimo, president of Sealed Air's Institutional and Laundry business unit which produces Diversey cleaning and hygiene solutions, writes in his latest blog for ECJ about an interesting industry trend that he calls 'Smart Service Programme' and how it can help FM companies enhance economic value to their customers.

The facility services industry is in turmoil in Europe. While more and more small and medium-sized companies are closing their doors, making the total market shrink, the remaining building occupants are more demanding than ever. According to basic macroeconomic rules, when the offer is bigger than the demand, prices fall. But wait, there is good news...

During my conversations with many of our biggest - and not so big - customers in this industry, global, European or local facility management companies at the ISSA/INTERCLEAN exhibition in Amsterdam, I have detected a serious trend in the market that I would like to share.

Many building service contractors are developing interesting services that I call a 'Smart Service Programme'. The concept is an integrated solution customised to individual customer needs, enabled by their expertise and technology to manage building cleaning (and related services). The objectives are to enhance the customer's experience, to reduce the total cost of cleaning, and to improve compliance and standardisation.

The programme is rooted in one simple concept: creating economic value for the customer: demonstrating and delivering measurable operational savings on site(s). A few companies I have met recently understood very early and clearly that all they need is:

• The right cleaning solutions (chemicals, tools and machines). Bet on innovations that use less chemicals, less water, and produce less waste

• Clear and tested cleaning processes, with continuous improvement and analysis to update standards and staff training in all sites

• Auditing technology. A clear set of KPIs and a way to measure results is mandatory in order to prove the benefits of the Programme for the customer.

A Smart Service Programme is our most important differentiator where we are demonstrating we know more about the needs of our customer than the customer, and that given our expertise we have the ability to create important measurable value for them, enhancing their customers experience and generating important operational efficiency improvements. And as an added benefit, performance in health and safety criteria and the sustainability profile of the customer will be greatly enhanced.

The key to success is making the mind shift into selling and demonstrating value creation (measurable results) to our customers. We need to transform our industry to capitalise on our knowledge, to become consultants in facility management. Many other industries have taken that bold step before us, why can't we?

To contact Chidichimo, email:

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