Facility Management en Africa. Estás listo

Facility Management in Africa. Are you ready?

Within a few years, by 2100, half of the world’s 20 most populous cities will be located in Africa. Even if prediction details and factors vary, all sources consulted agree on this. The Global Cities Institute increases that number even further to 13 out of 20, situating other metropolis in India, Philippines, Egypt or Pakistan. What is most interesting is that all the data confirms that none of them will be in America, Europe or China. This is key to prepare the grounds, see where we are headed and understand that Facility Management needs in Africa will change considerably in the coming decades.

With population increase, the needs of individuals are thereby incremented, and this has an impact at all levels of society. From the most basic needs, such as food, housing or transport, to other aspects that are more related to FM, such as work or entertainment. This reminds me of the impact that dormitory towns had on foreign workers who built—and still build—Dubai, and are located up to 50km away from the city centre and almost double the population of the city itself. The impact of traffic, residues, safety or energy supply, made it necessary to regulate these settlements, something which had not been anticipated. We know that, over the years, everything changes and evolves, since we have aided in the design of new FM models for the worker cities of oil and gas companies, which demonstrate greater interest and that lessons have been learned.

It is worth remembering that support functions of Facility Management are not only happening in office spaces. We can find them in cities, as we have already mentioned, but also in hotels, business centres, and industries. Not to speak of public infrastructures, where people interact, all of which must possess more or less advanced models of FM: hospitals and health facilities, education centres, sport areas and all government buildings. If these spaces already provide a service to a large number of people, imagine what could happen in megacities of 70 million inhabitants.

The African experience

From all my travels to Africa, I remember especially Nigeria, Ghana or South Africa, where I learned so much. Training sessions  and conferences helped me get acquainted with another style of doing things and a different level of maturity in FM, neither better nor worse. I have many recollections from those days. They range from teaching with two armed guards in the room, because there was a minister present, to meals that still make me tremble. It is worth sharing that, whenever Christian prayer was scheduled to come first in the morning, Muslim prayer would come first in the afternoon, and next day, the order would be reversed. A tell-tale sign of respect and harmonious living that inspires food for thought. Those are incredible memories, indeed.

FM must be adapted to every sector and varying circumstance, but in order to do this we need to know how to operate and judge what is most important, case by case. We cannot speak of maximizing life cycles or predictive maintenance, if our main concern is how many power cuts will happen every day. “Classic” approaches are not applicable and, either the model is readily understood, or it serves no purpose at all. On the other hand, and this varies depending on your point of view, people have been at the heart of design for quite a while. If it is not useful to people, it is simply not valid. That is how creative solutions emerge, born from our need of making things work smoothly. Procedures and methodology are replaced by effectiveness and efficiency, taken to extremes.

Selective demand

During these months of confinement, I have had the pleasure of sharing a few meetings—online sessions, this time around—with friends based in this great continent. I have been able to appreciate a similar evolution to what I witnessed in Latin America in the 8 years we have been working there: the best know-how is demanded, but it must be adapted to the particularities of each country and company. Final users know what they want, are highly trained and demand quality and personalized solutions. Even regional managers of multinational companies are asking their global FM directors for permission to “do things their way”, since impositions from headquarters do not apply or are not realistic.

On the other hand, if you want to provide a good service in what will seemingly become the most populated continent in the world, the best strategy is to understand and listen first. Paste and cut styles of large provider companies will be met with considerable resistance. Perhaps that is why their presence is not as widespread as in other continents. The potential volume of this market could well mean that integrating “culture”—a buzzword which has been quite popular of late—is worth the effort. In this case, we would be speaking not only of final user culture, but of understanding managers and how business is done. We will see how everything plays out and whether we will be able to adapt, but the opportunity is there for the taking.

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FM Observatory is a platform which develops and disseminates Facility Management information. It’s accessible to all those who’d genuinely like to participate. Ethical use and objectivity are essential, and all results must be shared. You decide how long you devote to it and what you want to achieve.

You can participate as:

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All contributions will be given credit in completed projects.

Research

Projects

We are part of the European research group and we work in international teams to develop different types of initiatives:

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We also work for service providers who require support with decisions linked to:

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Research

Standardisation

As accredited experts in the drafting processes of European and International standards on Asset and Facility Management, we are the perfect partner to assist you with:

  • Standards alignment
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FMHOUSE is the only Spanish-speaking consulting firm that participates in these processes.

Research

Publications

At FMHOUSE we think that progress made in Facility Management should be shared, so we strive to produce and publish the following material:

  • National and international trends
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The “FM Observatory” is open, should you like to contribute with a publication.

Consultancy

Workplace

Our view of spaces or workplaces from a Facility Management perspective leads to a better understanding of such a need as a service, as it is essential to apply the same logic and methodology.

Generally we offer:

  • Assessment and optimisation
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We apply our knowledge and experience to offices, learning spaces, shopping centres and the industrial environment.

Consultancy

Benchmarking

In order to make the right decisions, clear accurate market data as well as facts about the organisation itself is essential. In the Facility Management environment, this is even more critical due to the impact it has on business.

Examples of benchmarks:

  • Operating costs
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These services are requested mainly by end users, but also by service providers.

Consultancy

Customer Experience

Facility Management’s overarching goal is customer satisfaction, whether they are internal or external. Understanding their feelings and needs is the key to offering a good service.

Our support is based on:

  • Satisfaction assessment
  • Customer perception
  • People-oriented models
  • Change management

We strive to understand and get to know our clients’ customers, in all sectors and types of businesses.

Consultancy

Digital Transformation

The Facility Management world is experiencing a major transition to digital environments. We help our clients understand how it impacts them and assist them throughout the change.

Our areas of support are:

  • Process digitization
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  • Digital culture
  • Technological response

We operate as independent advisers, not as brand vendors.

We advise end-users and service providers.

Consultancy

Service Models

All kinds of companies need to define or improve the way in which it structures supporting activities provided by Facility Management.

Our main products are:

  • Status diagnostics
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  • Grouping and models
  • Help with tenders
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Our proposals are structured according to individual requirements.

We help end customers and also service providers.

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