5 minutes: Deepak Sharma
Five minute interview with Deepak Sharma, CEO, QBG Services
Who are you and what does your role involve?
I joined QBG services in 2010, at which time the company had already established a strong presence, having been in place since 1987. Clients have included DEWA, Dubai Police and Ritz Carlton among others.
When I came on board, the company consisted of just over 500 staff and was primarily concerned with cleaning services. A small part was into security. I wanted to set up something really big through the wisdom I had gained from past experiences and local knowledge. In the last two years we have grown by almost 350% and have evolved into an integrated services provider.
What’s new for QBG this year?
QBG is focusing on its integrated service offering. Coming from the ground, we have the advantage of knowing the ground realities. Keeping our services in house allows better control over the quality, and gives us the flexibility to offer services at a competitive price.
CSR is also a key area of focus for us over the next year. The shareholders firmly believe that making money is important but paying back to society is equally as important. An issue surfacing at present is stranded workers as a result of organisations closing down. We’ve said out of the hundreds of workers here, maybe there would be 30-40 interested in continuing their employment.
So far a few discussions have taken place, if this works it could turn out to be part of our CSR objectives. A welder in one organisation or an AC contractor in my organisation is essentially the same thing.
Rather than a worker facing difficulties in visa cancellation, returning home empty handed and advising friends not to go there [Middle East] because it is not a good place, we’d like to extend that support.
There are a lot of companies struggling to get manpower and if those resources available locally, I’d happily offer them the work. If I can get around 400 resources, I can absorb them. We are still very much on the lookout.
Do you find the industry has changed in the last 5 years?
Prior to coming to QBG, I was part of G4S. In 2002 I received the approval to set up G4S Facilities Services in this region. When I went to the economic department to get the trade license, they couldn’t understand what FM was. Yes, I believe FM has changed, rapidly as this region continues to grow, but there is still a long way to go.
Where do you see this area in 5 years time?
What I see as the biggest grey area at present is the ultimate users; people looking to manage their assets on a day to day basis and not looking at it over a longer period. In a tower you are presented with two different companies and choose the cheaper alternative.
Pretty soon you realise the lifecycle of your property has gone down. The AC shaft that could have been fixed in one go has been opened fifty times. I think the biggest challenge is to educate the ultimate end user. The end user has to realise that if they are dealing with a quality provider, quality doesn’t come cheap.
This education needs to be put into place, especially with the OA now coming on board. The next five years will be challenging but continuing growth will see people starting to appreciate the value adds sooner or later.
Why would you encourage graduates/people to join this industry?
I honestly believe the FM industry will be here for a very long time to come. The place is growing by leaps and bounds, new structures just keep on coming. You should get into this industry because it will reward you in the long run. If you want to be an entrepreneur later, this industry offers a lot of opportunity. FM is the future.