Site Visit: Duserve at NMC Hospital, DIP
fmME heads to the newly opened NMC Hospital in Dubai Investments Park
With contracts for new medical facilities across the GCC expected to reach $9.5bn by the end of this year, it is clear that the FM sector stands to gain a lot from the development being seen in the region’s healthcare industry—FM professionals are, after all, the ones that can ensure the optimal operation and maintenance of these structures once they are built.
But that is not to say that the provision of FM services at a hospital is an easy job—on the contrary, such an enterprise calls a high degree of specialisation that requires quick and effective responses to all kinds of incidents, while maintaining adherence to the extremely strict standards expected at such a facility.
With this being the case, it’s easy to see why it can be hard for FM companies to gain business in the healthcare sector—which is why Duserve’s recent win of an FM contract for cleaning and security services at the newly-opened NMC Hospital in Dubai Investments Park (DIP) is particularly noteworthy, as this is the first healthcare sector client Duserve has in its portfolio.
So, how did Duserve go about snagging this contract? To hear K. R. Ramganesh, manager – business development, Duserve, tell the tale, it all comes down to the company taking on the initiative to find itself a client in the UAE’s healthcare arena.
“We wanted to expand our portfolio into the healthcare industry,” Ramganesh says. “And that’s why we approached NMC.”
“We came to know about this facility in DIP that NMC was developing, and we approached them during the final stage of its handing over, around the last quarter of 2013,” Ramganesh remembers. “We initiated the talks—we wanted a foray into the healthcare sector, and so we started to initiate the talks with them.”
This was certainly a good move on Duserve’s part—but there was still a long way to go for the FM company to win the NMC contract. In the months that followed, Duserve went about convincing the healthcare provider about the quality of its services and personnel, thereby urging NMC to think beyond the service providers with whom they had been working with for their other facilities.
“We didn’t have a hospital in our portfolio, and we never had any contract with NMC before—and so, they were apprehensive about bringing a new service provider to the organisation,” Ramganesh admits. “So, it took a lot of time to convince them about our strengths and our personnel’s experience, using our existing portfolio of clients as proof.”
This reluctance to hand over a contract to an organisation that was new to the healthcare field is something that Dr. Ashishkumar Jaiswal, NMC’s hospital administrator for the DIP facility, remembers well.
“We saw that Duserve had been providing services to various industries, but healthcare wasn’t one of them,” Dr. Jaiswal recalls. “That was one thing which, initially, made us think twice about awarding the contract to them.”
But to Duserve’s credit, the company did manage to win NMC over.
“Talking to Ram and the other people in the team, we got the confidence that yes, they can do this,” Dr. Jaiswal says.
“In addition, we were looking for quality, but we were also conscious about the cost,” he notes. “In the end, we were able to come to an agreement that was a win-win situation for both of us, and so, we went ahead and awarded them this contract.”
Spread over a total area of 17,695 square metres, the NMC Hospital, DIP is a multi-specialty hospital that contains 70 beds, 40 consultation rooms, three operation theaters, one labour room and two delivery rooms. Duserve was first awarded a contract to perform a deep cleaning of the entire facility—a task which they managed to perform admirably, according to Dr. Jaiswal.
Duserve was then tasked with the cleaning services at the hospital, for which the experience of the company’s head of cleaning, Zulfiqar Kazi, came in extremely handy. Having worked in the Gulf for over two decades, Kazi, a BICSc certified professional with experience in the healthcare domain as well, played a key role in getting the Duserve team ready for its work with NMC.
“In a hospital, you have to maintain hygiene at very high levels,” Kazi explains. “Yes, hygiene is required in a normal building too, but in a hospital, it is lot more important and critical to its successful operations. You have to train your staff to that level, and communication is very important—the responsibility is greater, so you need better coordination within your staff.”
Duserve also had to take into consideration NMC’s own standards for the institutions that fall under its banner. Firas Nouri, Duserve’s account manager for the hospital, says that there were many discussions and debates done with the hospital officials on the kind of cleaning products and materials used to maintain the facility. “For a healthcare institution as big as NMC, they had their own standards when it comes to cleaning materials,” Nouri says.
“At the same time, we had our own standards for our materials, which, while satisfying their needs and certifications, were also eco-friendly,” he explains. “In the end, we agreed on something that Duserve was already using—and that was because we were able to scientifically prove its benefits to them.”
Duserve also put its expertise in the FM sector to good use when devising a plan for its security services at the hospital. From setting up protocols to planning out schedules, Nouri says that Duserve was able to help NMC make the best security decisions for its facility, all while remaining receptive to the specific needs or considerations that NMC wanted in the interactions they had with visitors.
“For many things, NMC came back to us for guidance, as they didn’t have the experience in certain matters,” Nouri says. “Of course, there will always be a discussion and debate—but that just shows the healthy relationship we have. We know what we are doing, they know what they want, and so, in the end, both our interests are the same. It’s a win-win situation.”
“We value our customers a lot,” Ramganesh adds. “We put ourselves into their shoes, in terms of operations. Winning a contract is relatively much easier than maintaining a contract and retaining customers—so, we empathise with their situation, we put ourselves in their shoes, and we then go about solving problems.”
For his part, Dr. Jaiswal says that he has been very satisfied with the kind of service offered by Duserve at his facility, making a special mention of the FM company’s staff working at the hospital. “One good thing I really like and appreciate about the staff here is their dedication to the job, and their willingness to listen to us, and implement our suggestions on the same day,” he says.
“This doesn’t usually happen with this level of staff—they cooperate very well with us, and they have a sense of responsibility, which we nurture from day one,” he explains.
“With them, it has been very easy for us to approach them and make them understand what we expect,” Dr. Jaiswal says. “And so far, they have been crossing our expectations, in terms of hygiene, cleanliness and everything.”
While Ramganesh is quick to credit his staff for all the good feedback the client has given Duserve, he also notes that this level of satisfaction because of the open relationship the two entities share with each other. While Duserve made itself flexible to the needs and demands of the hospital, NMC too was keen on a mutually rewarding relationship with them.
“One good thing about NMC is that they have valued as partners—they did not treat us as just service providers in this project,” he says. “At the same time, we didn’t treat them as just our customers. We worked for them as if they were our own company. And this runs from the top management to the lowest-level worker here—and that’s the reason for the appreciation we’ve got from NMC.”
“There is a positive vibe about this whole relationship,” Ramganesh adds. “They were open to any changes that we proposed for the betterment of the facility, and at the same time, they also offered us advice, feedback, etc. at every turn. It wasn’t just one party extending their arm for this relationship, and that’s the reason for the success we are seeing now.”