You don’t enter a Facility Manager’s cabin and expect a legal discussion in progress. The INSIDE FM JOBS (IFJ) team Vineet Pandey (co-founder kaarya facilities) and Dinesh Ahuja; visited Mr Joseph Reddy – GM Facilities and Administration at Hiranandani Developers; just as he was wrapping up a meet with his team to discuss various functional issues. It helps that in addition to being an expert Facility Manager and Administration Services Specialist, Master of Corporate Real Estate; accredited with MRICS, an MBA; Mr Reddy also has a degree in law.
We are quite surprised with your legal proficiency?
Well this is what happens when you are responsible for 300 acres of township with so many stakeholders (smiling). I am responsible for the Hiranandani Township at Powai which is home to 5000 plus apartments and 8 million sq. ft. plus of commercial space as well as various value added facilities and amenities such as schools, hospital, retail, club houses and other civic amenities. In addition to entire upkeep, maintenance and administration, I also have to manage the local ecosystem.
It helps that I have a law degree because with so many interest groups at play – local community, tenants, vendors, partners, staff, government agencies etc; you need to be objective and you need to be always on the right side of law.
The entire common infrastructure that you see such as roads, gardens, landscaping etc. comes under our purview and requires more than 1000 people working in tandem across our rolls as well as our vendors’ rolls. My administration and facilities team of 20 officers, managers and Sr Managers have a supervisory and management role in this township.
We have also been fortunate that right from the beginning, Hiranandanis’ have had a vision of providing the best in terms of assets and services to their townships, which makes our jobs relatively easier. Assets that are responsible for power, water, drainage, hygiene, safety, security, etc. have always been world class and the company founders have never compromised on these aspects.
With so many services to offer and so many lives being touched, there are opportunistic forces that want a bite of this and hence many claims and counterclaims that can only be addressed legally.
Tell us about your journey?
I did my degree in Law in 1995 and also completed my Post Graduate in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management. My first job was with the CISF (Central Industrial Security Force, an entity under the Ministry of Home Affairs). This assignment exposed me to myriad facilities across the country. Here my skills at investigation, facilities mapping, designing solutions/SOPs came to the fore. After CISF, I worked briefly with National Dairy Deveopment Board, Mukund Iron & Steel and Walchand Group.
I also consulted briefly for a year and worked with an FM company in 2001 and helped them diversify into multiple service lines. Today this same organization is one of the largest FM service providers in the country.
And finally I joined Hiranandani group and I have been with them for the last 11 years.
What’s your mantra to managing such a large facility?
I am a big believer that the minutest of operations need to be converted into SOPs. Once we have SOPs in place, let your systems and processes drive its execution and monitoring.
With respect to this facility, there are clear accountabilities and the operations procedures are very well laid out. My department is ISO certified. I run the facility through a multi layer governance system comprising of Site Operations Meetings, Issue Escalations Systems, Monthly Management Reports and finally an exhaustive system of audits – internal and external – that critically audit every operations deliverables.
Finally the most important barometer that tells you if the facility is running smoothly or not is your customer. If our customers are satisfied (all those who consume our facility services); my job is well done.
Describe your leadership style?
A leader needs to be an expert in his domain. In our industry, when we deal with so many issues; we can never have expertise across all aspects but we should have a firm grip on operations. We need to be at helm, in command and be willing to seek expertise from peers, external agencies and sometimes even our subordinates. I personally have a very positive attitude towards life and zero tolerance for office politics. I believe loyalty cannot be won on cheap concessions. You need to be open to listening to your team’s concerns and you should have the cognition to guide or even sometimes solve their issues.
Other than the hygiene requirements of a leader in terms of domain, I believe that there are 3 competencies that are absolutely critical to succeed – 1) People Management 2) Operations Management and 3) Issues/Crisis/Problem Management.
What is the difference between say managing a township and a stand-alone property?
Township Administration is not simple. Like I said, in addition to monitoring facilities operations; here you also need to manage native communities. You have after all created a township in a place, which did not have such infrastructure. There are aspects of land claims, demands for employment, expectations of contributions to local social programs, clamor from anti social elements for doles etc.
At our end, what drives us is our clarity of vision; that we are here to develop infrastructure in a profitable, ethical manner that also benefits the local community.
Once you have an understanding of this, all your actions are towards this overall vision.
Which means that while we are developing profitable operations, we also make it a point to contribute significantly to the local community initiatives. We work with a host of local government and non-government bodies in areas of health, education, employment, hygiene and recreation. Our hospital, school, gardens, recreation facilities, financial contributions are a testimony to this.
However in-spite of our best efforts, there are always anti-social elements , which we are well equipped to deal with. At such instances, our responses are legal and objective because we know we are on the right side of law.
Any advice you have out of our vast experience?
Every industry is dynamic and constantly evolving which means we cannot stop our education. I enroll myself to various training programs and am always on the lookout for what’s new and how to better equip myself.
As a practice I try to surround myself with people from different streams – some are strategy consultants, some developers, some corporate real estate Leaders, some lawyers, some academicians, some facility managers, some government officers and some even from the Police. I had also taken up the challenge of being co-faculty for international seminars, member of international panel discussions and other forums. The idea is to open your mind to multiple inputs. This keeps your intellect & cognitive abilities sharp and growing.
Finally you need to have a strategy for everything. Work out where you want to be and how you will get before immersing into execution. This planning mindset will ensure that more often than not, you are successful in your initiatives.
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