Leading UAE integrated facilities management provider, Emrill Services, has launched an efficiency-enhancing app for housekeeping services delivery. Following a successful six-month trial, the app, which is the first of its kind in the UAE, is now fully operational across EMAAR’s Emirates Living master community, which comprises The Meadows, The Springs, The Lakes, Emirates Hills, The Greens and The Views.
This has a hugely positive impact on the UAE’s facilities management sector, which Global FM estimates to be as large as $5.37bn and, according to management consulting firm, TechSci Research, will grow at over eight per cent CAGR until 2021. In its 2018 report, Global FM identified the UAE’s FM market as hugely competitive with highly-price sensitive customers. It also reported the use of advanced technology service delivery remained low in the market compared to other regions.
Emrill Senior Facilities Managers, Shyam Prasad and Siva Kumar, collaborated with the award-winning developer, Technopurple, to develop the technology, which is specifically designed for the delivery of soft FM services in both low-rise and high-rise communities.
Prasad explained how the app assists Emrill staff: “At the beginning of a shift, housekeeping staff are assigned a route and task schedule. As they start to move along the mapped-out path, tasks pop up on their mobile devices, determined by their proximity to the required work. Sub-tasks are automatically triggered when staff are in the area, ensuring no task is overlooked. As staff complete jobs, they upload photographs, which are automatically synced to the supervisor’s interface.
“We developed an advanced notification system that alerts supervisors if paths, sections or tasks are missed. This allows corrective actions to be taken immediately. More frequent deviations trigger higher levels of escalation automatically. During the trial period, the app flagged all potential issues and supervisors were able to rectify them before the client or residents raised a single complaint. That’s zero complaints over a six-month period. We were able to achieve this using 20 per cent less manpower, completing the same number of tasks as before but in a shorter period and with fewer resources.”
The app is also having a positive effect on the environment. Machine operators use optimised routes, resulting in reduced fuel consumption. Additionally, the app has been extended into the IMS domain, enabling the digitisation of all work permits. Previously paper-based work method statements, risk assessments and work permits are now digitally signed and time-stamped, removing the need for paper while ensuring the authenticity of work being signed-off. This resulted in the elimination of paper-print outs for the IMS work permit process, contributing to a safe work environment and more sustainable solutions.
Emrill’s efficiency-enhancing app is compatible with both iOS and Android mobile devices. The data is automatically synced, providing increased transparency and allowing Emrill to develop fully customised routes, unique to each site. The app also offers independent routing for each member of the soft FM and housekeeping staff, ensuring there are no overlaps in a single community. The app displays route and schedule guidance to staff on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. The advanced pathing feature makes it possible for team members with little to no site awareness to navigate new areas with ease.
Emrill’s Operations Director, Gopalakrishnan Govindaraju, explained Emrill’s reasons for investing in the app: “Computer Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) typically focuses on the efficiency of technical teams, tracking variables such as wrench and travel time. The effectiveness of housekeeping staff, who form a major component of any integrated facilities management service provider’s offering, is typically not prioritised. Emrill has close to 4,000 housekeeping and soft FM services staff, so efficiencies in this area have a significant impact on our business.
“Before the launch of the app, soft FM staff efficiency was estimated based on the completion of scheduled tasks. Due to a large number of housekeeping staff deployed across multiple sites, it was a challenge for supervisors and managers to access real-time information on completion rates and efficiencies. As a result, there was a considerable dependence on staff site-awareness. The efficiency-enhancing app lets us track staff movement, task completion and quality of work as it happens via an easy-to-use interface, allowing us to optimise resources, benefiting both the service provider and the client.”
Emrill is once again at the helm of the Middle East FM industry by proactively and appropriately introducing technology into its operations. This is further complemented by Emrill’s position as a pioneer within the UAE’s UAE industry, being one of the first to receive ISO 41001:2018 certification, which focuses on the development, implementation and maintenance of effective FM regimes.
Following major contract wins, Emrill has grown significantly and employs almost 8,000 staff, of whom the majority work in housekeeping and soft services, the company’s largest business activity. With many customers seeking improved service delivery at lower costs, this technology has cemented Emrill’s position in the market as a preferred brand, offering customers increased efficiency with reduced manpower, thereby providing cost-savings. Emrill aims to make the app the backbone of its soft FM service delivery and plans to roll it out across all projects, including EMAAR communities, such as Arabian Ranches and Dubai Marina, in 2019.