Fanic Le Roux Malar is the National Technical Manager, International Facilities Services;a company pioneering to ensure world class service delivery in maintenance of facilities in Nigeria and other countries the world over.
In this interview with Moses Nosike of Saturday Vanguard Business, Malar said that if Nigeria will imbibe the maintenance culture in every sector of the economy which is cheaper, it will ensure growth in the economy. Excerpts:
What is the specialty of International Facilities Services (IFS)?
International Facilities Services is a facility management and maintenance company that specialises in maintenance of facilities cut across different sectors of the economy, Oil and Gas, Banking and Telecoms.
So what we have decided to do as a company is to bring a maintenance culture into the Nigerian system, that is the fundamental basis and this distinguishes IFS from others because weâ€™re pioneering the introduction of maintenance culture in Nigeria which we feel needs a push to be able to place Nigeria at par with other developed countries ofÂ the world.
Therefore, we need to begin to build a culture on the infrastructure that is already available in Nigeria for us to be able to move the country to the next level.
Considering the economic situation, how is IFS handling cost of erecting quality facilities that would ensure quality service delivery?
If we take it from the scientific point of view, one will be able to mention the difference between maintained environment and non-maintained one.
Let me explain that on the first face value, people tend to think that the cost of maintenance is expensive but later, they get to know thatÂ the cost of non-maintenance is actually more expensive than the cost of maintenance. WhatÂ youÂ need to repair a broken down assets is much more than what you need to keep test running efficiently and maximising the use and at the period when thatÂ is working, it will last for a longer period.
The non-maintenance could last you for a year or two, but the same asset if maintained properly over a period could last you for three years or more and then you must have maximized a lot of benefits within that period. That is lessÂ in real termsÂ than the actual money you put in for maintenance culture .
What role is IFS playing in the economy?
Of course, maintenance is a versatile area. We look at it in terms of development and infrastructure in the country. Thatâ€™s a major breakthrough for the country. If you look at it in figurative terms for instance, you could have the public sector and structures that are built by government that are not being maintained.
But with the introduction of maintenance culture, all the blocks, awards that are supposed to be made for repairing of dilapidated buildings and assets over awhile will not come to them anymore, but apart from that, weâ€™re looking at the area of manpower development. This is a new area, weâ€™re doing a lot of employment. People are exerting their skills in the area of maintenance, they would have been goingÂ to other countries to get their skill for work. But people are nowÂ being employed in different maintenance areas to work.
Thereâ€™reÂ lots of challenges facing business ownersÂ these days, whatÂ major challenge is facing IFS?
Thereâ€™s a general challenge going on now in the economy, but as a company, business is essential.
Itâ€™s essential because any business thatâ€™s a going concern for instance will need power, and if it must continue to run , will need generator set for back up and all that. So, when you provide services that are essential, no matter what stage the economy is,Â when the services are desired, your business will continue to robust.
Another challenge could be when there is less money in circulation, customers would not be willing to spend much on the so-called essential services.
So you have some people working to negotiate and renegotiate service this way or that way. But what we try to do is to accommodate our client, repackage the services instead of cutting cost, letâ€™s offer you a basket of services and bring down the cost for you instead of different people working on your AC, another on Generator, so that the company can cope while the client also benefits.
The challenge of the death of manpower is a major one. This a new area of business, people are just beginning to get more awareness and the company would not want to do business like the roadside ones as usual.
People are used to roadside mechanics, AC repairers. But the quality of what they deliver, there is still a death of manpower to supply that level of quality.
So what weâ€™re doing is to train and retrain and employ from outside and use the people to train our local people to ensure that weâ€™re balanced to ensure that what we have promised to deliver to customers is achieved.
What makes your services unique?
Ours is a unique one because we bring expertise to work and deliver quality at the end of the day. What we do is primarily to customise our services to suit the client, individual clients, so we donâ€™t provide it as a ready-made service. We call a client, study his business, understand it and customise the service to suit him.
That means that the service we offer to customer â€œAâ€ might be different from the one we offer to customer â€œBâ€ in terms of the packaging, structure and modern. Therefore, customers see themselves as being fully catered for by the service rendered to him. And this is our advantage over others.
Can you forecast the future of IFS in the nearest future?
In the nearest future I foresee IFS to be the leading maintenance management company in Nigeria and in Sahara Africa. Weâ€™ve already open shops in Ghana, Dubai and in Middle East. Weâ€™re broadening our coast, gathering expertise from different areas to be able to build up a mega structure of the company weâ€™re looking at.
IFS has a lot of activation with foreign companies even from the onset, and in business specialised skills our board and management structure have foreigners in maintenance business that continually go over the structure, go over the system of service oriented to ensure that we meet world class standard.