fmME supplier focus: Chandan Singh, Dhofar Global
Chandan Singh, group chief operations officer of Dhofar Global, talks to fmME about how Dubai Expo 2020 will alter the fundamentals and operations of GCC’s FM sector
Please share some details about your operational presence within the UAE. Which FM operators are you actively engaged with?
We are currently operating across the UAE through two warehouses: one in Dubai Investment Park that caters to Jebel Ali, Abu Dhabi, and Al Ain, and another in Sharjah, which serves other parts of Dubai, Sharjah, and the Northern Emirates. Aside from the UAE, we have a presence in Oman and Qatar, as well as direct offices and warehouses for local distribution. We are currently dealing with FM companies such as Khidmah, Ejadah, EMBM, and Emrill.
How are the UAE market’s demands and requirements changing?
The UAE’s FM industry has emerged into a dynamic market that is rapidly gaining vibrancy, owing to its robust construction, hospitality, and healthcare sectors. As the concept of sustainability gains momentum with strict government regulations and growing awareness among people, we have witnessed a strong demand for eco-friendly and green products, particularly hygiene and cleaning services.
The idea is not only to build iconic landmarks, but also to maintain them through effective FM services that can enhance the life cycle of the facility.
What is Dhofar Global’s strategy for the regional FM industry?
With the UAE in the lead, I believe that the GCC is ready for a stronger cleaning and hygiene industry. Moreover, rules and regulations implemented by the UAE government on hygiene standards have raised the bar of the cleaning and sanitisation segment, with customers now demanding innovative, high-performance, and evolved solutions that are cost-effective and easy to use.
After a thorough study of market demand and gaps, we have launched a new range of chemical products comprising surface, glass, and carpet and upholstery cleaners. In the sanitary range, we have introduced basic cleaners, water closet cleaners, and room deodorants, while the floor care line features liquid soaps and coating, wiping, and maintenance products.
What are the current trends and challenges in the regional FM market?
Strong emphasis on value-for-money solutions for building maintenance is a challenge we must first and foremost contend with. Implementation of fire safety and security features amid recent fire incidents – which is critical due to the increase in high-rise projects in the UAE and the GCC – is a concern.
There is also a rising demand for low-energy solutions in line with government regulations, which has become a challenging subject. However, in my view, the FM industry’s biggest challenge remains raising awareness and educating owners and developers about the involvement of FM in the design stage to make the facility more beneficial in terms of lowered operational costs, enhanced building life cycles, and the creation of a better built-in environment for occupants.
Should FM firms worry about the ongoing slowdown in construction activity?
While the slowdown in the construction activity in 2016 is a worrying issue, I am confident of a quick rebound in the coming years. As for Dhofar Global, we are optimistic and are planning strategically to sustain our business from the projects that are completed. Alongside, we are also looking ahead to Dubai Expo 2020, which promises to be an opportunity for the rapid growth of the FM industry in the long-term.
The first to be held in the Middle East and Asia, it will be an important platform for UAE- and GCC-based FM companies to showcase their eco-friendly solutions, economical services, and best practices.
How do you see regional FM operations evolving over the next five years?
According to one study, the global FM industry is poised to touch $394bn by 2017, while the GCC is set to reach a market value of $892bn in the next 25 years. The GCC’s FM industry has created a sub-industry of the cleaning and hygiene equipment, and we are going to see an increased demand for green and eco-friendly solutions for this segment. I see it growing in the run-up to Dubai Expo 2020.
Meanwhile, a number of initiatives to standardise the industry and set benchmarks are also underway. With these coming into effect, regional FM will definitely register a sharp upward gain as customers seek high-quality services.