Providing Future-Ready Management Services


What is the single biggest change in the Facilities Management (FM) business as a result of COVID-19, is a pertinent question in the FM industry, moving forward. To Surbana Jurong’s FM team (managed by SMM Pte Ltd), the FM business is now regarded as one of the essential services not only in Singapore but internationally as a result of the pandemic. The scope of work for SMM’s facilities management in Singapore has expanded to include the adoption of technology to maintain business continuity and also to safeguard the well-being of employees during this time. At the outbreak of COVID-19, SMM was involved in the role of safe management advisory to provide the guidance to clients, which saw an increase in demand from clients in the adoption of technologies in their day-to-day work. This gives SJ a distinctive competitive edge.

Building Cities, Shaping Lives

The general FM business refers to the integrated management of multiple and interdisciplinary technologies, personnel, systems and processes. The goal behind FM is to promote an efficient and collaborative environment to meet and fulfil the key objectives and mission of an organisation. The organisational function integrates people, place and process within the built environment with the purpose of improving the quality of life of people and the productivity of the core business. This neatly fits with Surbana Jurong’s corporate objective which is “Building Cities, Shaping Lives.”

Facilities management therefore is intensely customer and people-centric, and in a competitive environment, the solutions provided must be comprehensive, integrated and intelligent. Intelligent is now the new buzzword and key service delivery as a comprehensive system for all aspects of building and facility management allows for IoT monitoring, namely space, water, energy, utilization, indoor air quality and more.

There are two major types of facilities management: Hard FM and Soft FM. Hard FM refers to services relating to the actual structures and systems that make a facility work, and can include fire safety, plumbing, structural, and elevator maintenance. Soft FM refers to services that overlap with property management, such as pest control, cleaning, grounds maintenance, and security. Clients may require something physical to be built or installed for a specific purpose, for example hardware facilities like central heating, air equipment, and lighting fixtures. It can also refer to non-equipment resources like staff management, grounds maintenance, and technology-driven security services.

Leading the business with smart technologies

Covid-19 has accentuated SMM’s implementation of smart technologies to enhance work productivity and efficiencies. The Smart FM framework released by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) strongly calls for the need to formulate strategies and embrace smart technologies in our FM operations. SMM’s default approach is to continuously seek to achieve higher work efficiency and productivity with the adoption of innovative technologies. It has included technologies such as mobility app, digital FM, smart robotics cleaning, smart bins and smart toilet monitoring sensors. These solutions complement its core services and value-adding offerings to clients.

At a glance, SMM’s innovative solutions include:

  • robotic cleaning (automated cleaning with the use of robots to sweep, vacuum, scrub and mop the floor);
  • smart toilet monitoring system (using sensors to identify air quality, consumables and footfall, reduce cleaning labour and improve productivity);
  • self-taking temperature screening system (takes a person’s temperature in less than 2 seconds, portable and issues alert when the temperate exceeds the threshold);
  • solar-powered smart bin (7-8 times more waste capacity to reduce frequency of waste collection and send e-notifications to cleaning staff).

SMM actively participates in the Happy Toilet Programme, developed and implemented by the Restroom Association of Singapore, and supported by National Environment Agency (NEA). Set criteria for the implementation include working condition of the facilities, amenities, cleanliness, smart and special features. As the comprehensive rating system showcases good toilet facilities standards, adopters of the programme enjoy enhanced brand image for their buildings.

Of significance is our community mobility application which has several unique and customer centric benefits. The app improves efficiency and enhances user experience through the smart digitisation of processes, and promotes a strong community culture. For example, the AI-based mobile app utilised by tertiary institutions has enabled app users to enjoy a unified and seamless campus community experience. It has also helped these clients in their time-space management, namely planning and shift rationalisation, viewing real-time allocation, and space utilisation.

SMM’s community mobility app has over 30 smart technology features and the diagrams below illustrate how it helps the client, the community, and the users within the community. It facilitates clients’ understanding of space usage pattern, in the context of video analytics, business intelligence and analytics, and to obtain actionable insights, and detailed reporting of all their activities within the premises such as seat booking, smart access, traffic management, incident reporting, visitor management, smart cafeteria and community engagement.

As part of our service delivery in Singapore’s Smart Nation pursuit, SMM has built within the community mobility app – a proprietary iSMM. It is an in-house application that enables digital back-end communications between site operations team and service vendors to support maintenance operations. It can be seamlessly integrated with our community mobility app solution as a one-stop platform. The features include fault reporting, inventory management, corrective maintenance, preventive maintenance, broadcasting, inventory management, asset listing, analytics dashboard and monthly reporting. The features provide transparency in work delivery, streamlines FM processes and drives performance in FM operations and systems.

To summarise, in the management of FM, SMM takes strategic and tactical perspectives when working with other divisions, clients, and customers to help them understand the impact of their decisions on managing the facility. The operational roles carry out tasks with a highly-trained level of skill and on-the-ground knowledge. SMM adopts both the “bird’s eye” and the “worm’s eye” perspectives: the “bird’s eye” role oversees and coordinates efforts, with our well qualified staff, and with strong and extensive prior experience in the field. The “worm’s view” is primarily “in-the-field” role with a strong eye for details and technical expertise. Worm’s perspective include performing the task to full completion, keeping aware of all changing regulations in the industry, documenting and reporting on inefficiency and issues, finding operational areas to improve, calculating costs of materials and supplies, responding to emergencies calmly and swiftly, and delegating and coordinating simultaneous FM efforts.

Looking ahead, and with a bird’s eye perspective to the question on what’s the single biggest change in the FM business as a result of COVID-19, SMM’s answer is to look at the FM business through different lenses: there is the physical resilience of assets as facilities management addresses the need for maintenance, ensuring the assets do not slowly crumble. The resilience is to take into account climate risks and to continuously build resources to effectively manage assets for the long-term. Technology affects both the use and the cost of infrastructure, and facilities management helps ensure that the clients’ assets stay resilient, viable and does not suffer from obsolescence. COVID-19 has clearly demonstrated that facilities management is an essential service to future-proofing infrastructure in a volatile, uncertain world of climate change and pandemics.

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