Facilities management (FM) remains an ever dynamic area of the management environment and it is necessary to keep pace with the changing practices in the business. Today, most developers opt for the outsourced model of mall management as it forms a non-core support function and not a part of their core business activity.
Among all other services, FM is the biggest challenge as it differs from one site to the other, encompasses a wide spectrum of services and plays a crucial role in mall management. Along with FM, developers today expect the mall management team to provide and cover all aspects required for running a successful mall including mall positioning, zoning, tenant mix, ambience management, marketing, promotional events and finance management. Also, as end users gain awareness and experience, the expectation for quality service rises by the hour.
The challenge is to optimally utilize resources to meet organizational needs and manage facilities and tenants, without compromising in creating the right ambience for the visitor. This includes provision of adequate power, round the clock security, convenient parking management, regular water supply, cleanliness, hygiene and deploying courteous on ground staff members. Moreover, all of it needs to be offered at competitive rates, so as to make it viable for the existing businesses and attract brands looking for the best service at the right price. The wide range of base FM services include:-
• Technical Maintenance – high and low end
• Soft Services – housekeeping, pest control, horticulture, landscape, façade cleaning, garbage disposal and civil maintenance
• Security Management – common area security, parking security, fire safety and maintenance of fire systems, fire audit and drills
• Support Services – front / help desk management and back office support
• Specialist Services – EHS support, energy audits and can extend even beyond
What one expects when one goes ‘Malling’?
‘Malling’ is a new world of activity with greater expectations. One looks forward to an outing in a climate controlled, clean, and safe environment, where the ambience gives the family a satisfying experience. The manner in which one is greeted at the entrance, the way car is checked at the entry point, the attendant assisting in parking the car, impeccably clean floors, toilets and other common areas together add to the experience and become the basis of distinguishing a regular mall from “a successful” one which keeps getting repeat visitors. Thus, apart from the base services, some additional services required are:–
• Systematic support to event management
• Real time interaction with clients for resolving their FM related issues.
• Periodical notifications for users, tenants, holdover tenants, expired options and
• Upcoming critical dates
• Energy management and conservation
• Parking management to include ideal flow of traffic
• Management quality elements such as engineering practices &processes
• Security threat analysis & security solutions
• Knowledge and data management
• Risk assessment & management
• Optimized life cycle analysis of equipment
• Planning for improvement and replacement of existing equipment
The Key concerns in today’s retail environment comprise cost of operations, safety and security and most importantly ambience which includes aspects like cleanliness, traffic flow, parking and staff behavior. The right emphasis needs to be given to these key differentiators.
Cost of Operations
The Common Area Maintenance (CAM) plays a big role in the success of a mall and 60% of the CAM cost is towards power. The emphasis is to plan for equipment and machinery – be it DG sets or the HVAC plant, the lifts or the pumps which are high on efficiency and low on running cost. Once installed, the scheduled preventive and predictive maintenance cycles increases the efficiency of the plant. New design specifications of DG sets increase the efficiency of the plant and reduce the cost.
The new energy saving design specifications of the sets along with efficient predictive and preventive maintenance by the FM technical team in a mall bring down the cost of energy to a great extent. Regular training imparted by our SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) increase the output of deliverables of the site team. Regular tech audits according to laid down schedule diagnose the problem at the inceptive stage before it actually happens and get rectified accordingly. Additionally, the tests conducted using thermography equipment show-cases any civil defects which can be rectified without causing major damage to the structure.
Security and Safety
The security threats in today’s environment are a challenge to any service provider, more so in a public place, which gets a minimum footfall of approximately 50,000 to a lakh per day. The recent terrorist attack in Kenya shows how susceptible we are to these threats. Sensitivity to possible threats is very high in a mall and the availability of trained, vigilant security guards, supervisors and officers go a long way in making a visitor feel secure. Security staff members have to be trained to keep an eye for any suspicious movement, at the same time check the regular visitors with a polite, yet firm attitude. This is easier said than done, as the staff does not necessarily have the sensitivity nor the finesse required for dealing with guests arriving in malls. The staff is also prone to regular attrition which means that training has to be intense, well thoughtout and near continuous. Careful selection of staff and a regular supervision with a degree of micro management is also a necessity.
Traffic management includes managing both the foot traffic into the mall and vehicle parking facilities. Foot traffic management also covers crowd management inside the operational area of a mall. Regarding parking facilities, provision of ample space and room for easy maneuver in the parking lot are the essentials.From the moment a visitor enters a mall, traffic control and parking are crucial to the creation of the right ambience as this is the first impression. To ensure that the visitors are provided with trouble free vertical & horizontal movement right from the entry to their exit, there should be a chain of friendly guidance which will add to the ambience of the mall.
In a mall, as in any service or hospitality industry, the people on ground who actually provide the services hold the key to creating an overall ambience.Every staff member contributes in his own way which culminates in the creation of a brand. Here again training is most critical factor. Training in soft skills goes a long way and has to be given the maximum emphasis.
Training programs are always need based. The training calendar is an integral part of the standard process and is planned keeping all these parameters in mind. Mall managers continuously up-grade site operations modus operandi by various means and gives emphasis to the capability of each individual working at the mall. This has to be planned in batches as all the staff cannot be pulled out for any training in an operational mall. Training to the mall staff covers:-
• Communication Skills: Interaction, Behaviour, Responsiveness
• Change Management: Bringing change for common goal
• Team Management: One Team, Ownership and Best services always
To ensure that the laid down processes are actually being delivered on site, regular audits are required to be carried out which guarantee to deliver results and showcase any gaps in operations. The audits carried out are two-fold: internal and external and the mall is tested and audited on every aspect of operational process and documentation. The internal audit covers the ISO systems, documentation audit and the Quarterly Audit Process in which the mall is assessed on all parameters of operations. In the external audit procedure, outside agencies are hired for specific issues and teams from other sites and regions are involved in finding out ground reality of the process. With this stringent audit process, we are confident of our deliverables and ensure that the interest of our client is looked after.
Mall management requires a meticulous approach to ensure that the visitors do not face any irritants in the mall and they leave with special memories. The interest of the visitor has to be kept alive all the time. All these parameters ensure that an overall shopping experience is provided for consumers and becomes an important factor for the success of any mall. A mall is not just a place for shopping but is also a place where people spend their leisure time and the endeavor should be to give them the experience they deserve,