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The ESPL-TCFM duo: Leading from the top

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When a corporate sets strategies, defines culture & practices, orientates progress and creates a legacy, it consequently percolates down the line, creating leaders at every stage of its operations. Embassy Services Pvt. Ltd (ESPL), primarily into property management, created its extended arm with Technique Control Facility Management (TCFM), the Integrated Facility Services wing, which takes care of facilities across the real estate spectrum in 11 states pan-India. Leading from the top, Ashwini Walawalkar, Country Head, TCFM and Shareen Bhatia, Country Head-Business Solutions, ESPL are set to take the service business many levels higher, based on the foundations of an inverted pyramid, with a well-defined mindset of client servicing.

Ashwini Walawalkar – Country Head, TCFM

FM is a perception-driven business. How a client perceives us depends not on our interactions at the management level, but on how our ground-level employees deliver. Drilling this ethos into every last employee is critical.

However, this job is most rewarding when we know we contribute to the lives of 11,000 people – who come from all walks of life – with not just a job, but a career. At the start of every day, I think of the difference this makes to them and our society.

Shareen Bhatia – Country Head-Business Solutions, Embassy Service

Client requirements change very often, and a solution that is apt for today may not be relevant tomorrow. We need to keep track of the future trends of the business, and strive for strategic partnerships beneficial to us in the long run.

That being the vision, aligning ourselves with the larger ESG landscape and being able to tailor solutions that meet sustainable targets is what makes me passionate about the property management business today.

The business structure of ESPL, being a property management firm with its own IFM service delivery arm of TCFM, is founded on a strategic understanding that fills the many gaps existing in the conventional and unorganised facilities management landscape of India.

Alignment

It is a matter of perfect alignment when it comes to deliverables, processes, values… in keeping with the Embassy Group’s need to unify company culture, especially at the management and operations levels. This calls for understanding and putting in place “what we need to provide to the client — SOPs that should be followed and the value additions that could be weaved in — is replicated in TCFM’s service delivery,” states Shareen Bhatia.

“This is a unique arrangement that few organisations have — where an in-house collaboration between facilities management and facilities services leads to a seamless experience for the client,” adds Ashwini Walawalkar.

Winning Proposition

The ESPL-TCFM combination distinguishes itself from the very first step. TCFM is involved from the inception stage of the project. Shareen explains: “When we first meet a client, we perform a ‘needs assessment and survey’ through our Specialist Services Group. Based on this, we collaborate with one another to jointly suggest solutions to the client.”

Once the SLAs and contracts are finalised, there is complete coordination and alignment between ESPL and TCFM from day one. There is no scope for gaps in service delivery. ESPL looks after the management aspect and TCFM provides the services on the ground level.

“Inputs are taken not only from the perspective of management or governance, but also on how deliverables need to be executed. It’s a holistic approach that leads to better solutions and a seamless implementation of defined processes,” Ashwini adds.

This approach – which places expectations and efficiency, structures and SOPs at the heart of everything – is the USP of the ESPL-TCFM combination.

Asset Management & IFM

The facility occupiers may have their own requirements for their spaces. Most facilities have separate contracts for the two verticals — property management and integrated facility management. The ESPL-TCFM combination puts them in a unique position of delivering both needs in sync. And both organisations monitor the service delivery together.

Coordination & Correction

Each organisation has its role defined: ESPL looks after overall management, putting SLAs in place, regular reviews and so on, while TCFM provides expert manpower from the top to down the line for soft services, technical services and other IFM functions.

The intimate working relationship between the two organisations, enables them to immediately identify and rectify discrepancies on a daily basis. Clients are acquainted with the SOPs, and any desired changes can be easily incorporated.

Evolving client needs

The landscape of asset management and facility management has been changing. What has been evolving in the last five years and what changes will take place in the next five years will be poles apart. Clients always emphasise on a people-first approach, putting the health and safety of their employees ahead. Everything else follows later.

“For instance, there is a lot more focus now on indoor air quality,” says Shareen. “One of the responses to that has been a focus on adding green elements in existing infrastructure wherever possible, as well as incorporating a significantly higher proportion of landscaping in all new designs.” Fresh air and natural light are back in vogue, and service partners like TCFM are trained to maintain such elements.

Sustainability is another focus area. Clients now want to know – in measurable terms – their carbon footprint, water consumption and other environmental parameters. From the design/construction and FM points of view, ESPL and TCFM are pulling out all stops to integrate sustainability at every step.

“All clients now seek data and analytics to be able to make informed, data-driven decisions,” admits Shareen. Planned preventive maintenance is one area where asset and FM data is underpinning life-cycle efficiency.

Not long ago, FM service partners had to convince clients to introduce technology and now, clients are asking for it upfront. Automation, AI, touchless tech and cleaning robots aren’t pies in the skies but solutions that have already been introduced and are working well.

When it comes to FM contracts, flexibility will be the name of the game. With ever-changing conditions, requirements have become dynamic too.

Service Partners

‘Vendor’ or ‘service provider’ is no longer a term used by clients to describe TCFM. “Clients are now expecting us to come on board and become strategic partners, where we can look after all their employees’ needs,” shares Ashwini. “We have become an integral part of employee engagement on behalf of our clients.”

Facility management started off as a people-centric business; it remains a people-driven, and people-fronted business. “We are committed to continuously training and upskilling our people on the ground,” concludes Ashwini. “However client expectations may expand in scope and become more diverse in nature, we will make sure our people are well-equipped and well-trained to deliver the best, striving to follow our motto of providing the best of people and beyond.”

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