Name: Mark Povey
Job title: GM Marketing
Transguard’s group marketing
Core services/products: Total FM services
Based in: Dubai
Background: Publisher and editor of a leading FM magazine in the UK for 10 years When we talk about business drivers in the UAE, perhaps one of the biggest problems is that rather than driving change and innovation, all too frequently the business climate here actually puts obstacles in the way of development.
Two of the biggest global drivers have always been legislation and HR.
Good legislation drives innovation, while low wages are an active hindrance to change, particularly in the evolution from lo tech to hi tech processes.
In the UAE the lack of strict legislation and standards, together with the huge pool of low paid unskilled and semi-skilled labour make proactive change very difficult.
Consequently, development here tends to be more reactive with client expectations pulling the industry forward rather than FM innovation pushing it.
Our multinational client base has 21st century FM needs which the majority of the FM industry tries to meet using 20th century methods, relying on the 1980s style of overmanned and unsophisticated service delivery.
The other noticeable obstacle to innovation here is the polarization of the FM market.
At one end we have some of the world’s best known and most innovative FM companies delivering strategic FM services to a sophisticated client base, while at the other we have a plethora of labour-reliant soft service suppliers.
With an absence of anything in between, there is no real drip down effect of knowledge and best practice.
In addition our tendency to import FM skills and resources from overseas has meant that there has been no real opportunity to develop a UAE-specific facility management industry that meets the unique demands of the region.
Fortunately we are going through a period of change.
We have seen an increase in legislation and regulation over the last 12 months and the whole HR issue is moving up the agenda.
In the next year we should see the traditional global business drivers impacting on our industry which, in combination with factors specific to the region and its current state of growth, should help form our own national FM identity.