INSIDE FM JOBS (IFJ) – Interview with Mr Joseph Reddy, GM Administration and Facilities at Hiranandani
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.
INSIDE FM JOBS is a periodic feature of Kaaryaindia.wordpress.com blog and owned by Kaarya Facilities and Services Pvt. Ltd. The blog reaches out to more than 1000 facility and CRE professionals.
If you wish your company to be featured, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
INSIDE FM JOBS – Interview with Mr Aman Malhotra, Vice President – Administration at Ratnakar Bank Ltd
It took the INSIDE FM JOBS team countless follow ups to get the extremely elusive and young Aman Malhotra – VP Administration at RBL BANK (Ratnakar Bank) onto the hot seat. But finally when we had Aman one-on-one; there was no reluctance and a candid interview emerged.
It’s quite a revelation to find such a young talent heading facilities. Please do share your journey and your age too : ) ?
I hail from Himachal and am a hotel management graduate. I am 81 born and have been working since 2000. My first job was a campus placement with Neemrana Hotels. A traditional hotel career path was developing and I got an opportunity to set up and manage an exotic property in Matheran, Maharashtra. This was my first experience at a facilities setup and operations role. The exposure allowed me to venture fully into a CRE role with the erstwhile I-Solutions, the training arm of ICICI Bank.
I setup 3 of their offices from scratch at Chandigarh, Jaipur and Ludhiana. This was followed by stints at Fullerton India, Cholamandalam Finance, Chennai and Bharti Axa, Mumbai.In all these assignments, my roles comprised of Real Estate Acquisition, Facilities Setups and finally operations & management.For example, in Fullerton; I was part of a team that fuelled the venture’s explosive growth by setting up 80 offices in 8 months across Punjab, Haryana and J&K. Cholamandalam was an equally growing and challenging role. Critically, at Chola & AXA ; I was also witness to large-scale reductions in facilities as the markets crashed post 2008-09.For a CRE and facilities professional; to have witnessed both these cycles – of growth and contraction – was quite an experience to learn
Share some of your experiences – especially how is it possible to grow at such speed and what do you do during phases of cost reductions?
These were high-pressure times. When you are growing at such speed; its important that you get the pillars right in terms of an ecosystem; such as competent leasing partners, project teams, legal support, asset suppliers, facility outsourcing partners and many more. First you need to identify these pillars and then work towards ensuring that they perform well.
At times when you are reducing your presence, you have to be focused at salvaging the most of your assets spread across multiple locations. I quickly learnt that how you structure your lease agreements can go a long way in getting your company off the hook, if ever required. Basics like avoiding lock-ins, clarity of clauses such as returning the property in as is basis or best-efforts basis and not in as its rented basis, Effort to sell back your physical infrastructure to land lords help salvaging the maximum for your assets etc.
What are the models you used to manage such large scale, multi-location and distributed facilities setups?
Given the capital and resource constraints you always have in a multi location setup; my preferred solution has been a hub-spoke Model. As facility managers, we created centers of delivery and had co-ordinates from multi locations connecting to these points. E.g. any concerns, say demands related to infra or repair & maintenance or AMCs would travel from the point of origin to a regional co-ordinate who would use local resources or seek corporate resources to resolve the concerns. We partnered with service providers who we could liaison with centrally but who could provide us services in a multi location environment through their own staff or their network of partners. Most importantly, I had to create an extremely easy to use, robust, shareable and trackable MIS system that could keep a tab on various facilities variables across hundreds of locations. We launched a central Facility Help Desk that was used to log support requests as well as track its resolution through its entire life span. Essentially based on the need, you need to design the right system, put in place SOPs and then ensure its execution and monitoring. At the end of the day, my effort has always been to move our operations to an auto-mode.
It also helped that I have a 6 sigma certification which allowed me to experiment with processes that delivered zero defect solutions.
So what kind of variables you were tracking?
As I said, different situations require different solutions and different monitoring. Here at RBL, where we have an established infrastructure; it is more about the standard facility variables such as HK/Security/Repair & Maintenance performances and costing, compliances, TATs of requests resolution, AMC costs etc. etc.
Tell us more about your role here?
RBL has been in business for decades and recently been on a revamp spree. The most interesting thing about my role is that I get to manage multiple environments here – we have the legacy infrastructure of the pre-revamp Ratnakar bank, the infrastructure as a result of the acquisition of RBS’s retail business and the new infrastructure we are developing to support RBL’s current growth. I head the facilities piece for over 180 branches with direct reporting to the Chief Admin Offer.
We rely a lot on technology and have launched various initiatives such as an online helpdesk, online stationery requisitions, online meeting room manager, online travel requests etc
Any pointers to succeeding in FM?
I think my biggest advice to young talent in our industry would be to start talking business and numbers when we represent our domain. What we contribute / Save directly effects the bottom line of the organization We cannot be relegated to some back room and called to only serve chai/samosa or when facilities are dirty.
Today’s management is willing to innovate and we need to talk to them in business terms; say what kind of cost savings we bring through an initiative, what impact we have had on productivity of employees by providing a certain kind of a facility etc.
What inputs would you like to share with service providers?
Be transparent, constantly communicate, innovate in service delivery, and most importantly be visible to your direct customers such as me so that we can further highlight the achievements.
INSIDE FM JOBS is a periodic feature of Kaaryaindia.wordpress.com blog and owned by Kaarya Facilities and Services Pvt. Ltd.
The blog reaches out to more than 1000 facility and CRE professionals. If you wish your company to be featured, write to email@example.com
It takes enormous discipline, competence and inspiring personality to run administration for one of India’s largest infrastructure companies.
And Major Ramakrishnan, Sr. Vice President Administration at Reliance Infrastructure is bestowed with all three.
The INSIDE FM JOBS (IFJ) team from “Kaarya Facilities” gets the opportunity to spend time with the extremely fit looking Major and marvel at his journey so far.
What is Reliance Infrastructure all about? And what is your role here?
We are present in all key infrastructure segments such as Roads, Energy (Generation to Distribution), Cement, Metro Rail, Airports, and EPC (Engineering, Procurement, Construction) and are an INR 15,000 cr+ company with national presence.
My job is to get all administration functions on a common platform across all group businesses and ensure that deliverables get from good to better. Like in any leadership role, the emphasis is on systems and processes that deliver seamless operations.
In tangible terms, I am responsible along with my team to manage the business infrastructure(office infra, sourcing/procurement in conjunction with Commercial, as well as managing vendors)of over 1.3 million sq. feet of real estate space spread over Mumbai, Delhi, Cochin, Hyderabad, Bangaluru and Goa.
Being a key company of the Anil Ambani Reliance Group, I am also part of the team responsible for holding various AGMs, SGMs of other group companies.
I also play a role in various CSR initiatives of the company such as the Reliance Marathon for Senior Citizens.
Tell us about your professional journey so far?
Now I will have to spill my real age. I am approaching 60 and have close to 40 years of professional experience. I had the honor of serving the Indian Army for 21 years where I was deputed on various challenging assignments. I have been a System Analyst with DRDO (Defense Research and Development Organization) as well as served as Instructor with the Indian Army (Weapons, Guns and Computers)
My First assignment in the corporate world was with Reliance Industries from 1997 to 2000 during the time that Jamnagar Refinery was being enhanced.
This was followed by stints at Nerolac Paints (National Head Administration), Bharti Airtel, Vedanta Resources and finally Reliance Infrastructure.
Any interesting experiences you would like to share?
I would like to talk about a breakthrough initiative that I was part of during my stint with Reliance Industries. These were the times when we were awfully short of Chemical Engineers, who were willing to relocate to Jamnagar.
Those days the execution staff was internally categorized into Supervisory and Non-supervisory staff. A decision was made to handpick a few non-supervisory staff and through an internal skilling and training program convert them to chemical engineers on par with the IITs and NITs. We ran a program for 3 days every week for over 2 years overseen by the Dean of IIT Mumbai to give them the skill sets that the business needed. A shortage of skilled resource wasn’t a deterrent and the business moved swiftly to invest in an internal training program that delivered results. This wasn’t a traditional administration job but since we needed to be aligned with what the business wanted, we thought of a solution and executed it to perfection.
Can you tell us about how your department is structured?
I report to the HR Head and the CEO, so it is a dual reporting structure. My team consists of corporate resources to look after functions like Communication, SAP, Ticketing/Travel, Accommodation, Facilities in addition to Zonal Administration Heads for the Distribution Centers spread across Mumbai and Delhi. I have a liaison / Team member at Reliance Metro, the company’s EPC vertical as well as one at the company’s Management Training Facility in Mumbai.
With multiple businesses and a large team, we meet once a month for reviews and updates.
Major Ramakrishnan with his Team
What typical challenges you face in your job?
I think the nature of our jobs is such that every day presents a fresh challenge. However, more the challenge; more is the motivation to get up every day and face them head on.
I have faced unique challenges at every step. If I share my experience at Vendanta, the biggest challenge was the sheer diversity of my job role. At one end, I was entrusted with project and construction management for their Mumbai office. There were specific instructions by Mr. Anil Agrawal himself who wanted a world-class office infrastructure for their expat employees to operate out of. At the same time, I was tasked with overseeing their aviation operations. Vedanta had their own fleet of aircraft that was required to ferry the management and top employees across the globe. I did not have any background in aviation but quickly learned the full gamut of operations to deliver what was expected.
Similarly, as I joined Reliance Infrastructure; there were challenges in dealing with the legacy workforces (Reliance Energy) that was well represented by their unions.
I think the key in facing every challenge is to display fairness in all your dealings, superior interpersonal skills, high level of competence and ability to go that extra mile in terms of your efforts.
Considering your enormous experience, what advice would you like to give to young talent joining this industry?
My biggest advice would be to believe in what you do, and that you genuinely are making a contribution to the business and to people around you.
The professional world is an unforgiving place, so one needs to have very high competence in their chosen field, have high interpersonal skills, great temperament and finally have razor sharp focus on delivery.
You also need to have the systems and processes to ensure that no subjectivity can puncture the end result.
The dynamic nature of our jobs ensures that most importantly we learn about living life to the fullest. You cannot control circumstances but you can work on being prepared to face challenges.
Can you talk about your personal philosophies that has helped you reach where you have?We may not be visible to the outside world but everything we do helps create the first impression about our companies. So right from the telephone operator who answers calls to the reception to the security to the housekeeping staff, they are who create an image about the company.
I make it a point to communicate with them and in all possible ways try to motivate them. Considering the economic hardships they face, we try to be the support that they need; whether in emergencies, financial help for their families or encourage them for higher education; it has been my personal endeavor to create a human touch. And that probably explains why we have the least attrition at such levels.
INSIDE FM JOBS is a periodic feature of Kaaryaindia.wordpress.com blog and owned by Kaarya Facilities and Services Pvt. Ltd.The blog reaches out to more than 1000 facility and CRE professionals. If you wish your company to be featured, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
INSIDE FM JOBS recently had the opportunity to interact one-on-one with Mr Syed Mansoor Hussain, GM (Assets and Operations) – Wadhwa Group at the group’s BKC Office in Mumbai.
In the interview; Mr Hussain talks to Vineet Pandey (co-founder Kaarya Facilities) about his journey, his experiences and FM in general.
What is your role here at Wadhwa Group?
I have been with the Wadhwa Group for the last 4 years and head Assets and Asset Operations for the group. Wadhwa Group has been a prominent real estate developer both in the commercial and residential segment; and my job involves facilities and property management of over 15 million sq ft of built up space.
Can you share with us your professional Journey?
I am a Mechanical Engineer and have primarily worked in various Maintenance, Operations and Facilities Functions in Singapore, Muscat, and Dubai. My last assignment was with Dubai Studio City in Dubai where I was responsible for end-to-end facilities management of approx. 22 million sq ft of real estate. Entire facilities maintenance and operations was delivered through FM providers, which was overseen and managed by me.
How do you compare facilities management internationally and in India?
In my opinion, the key difference is how facilities maintenance and operations are delivered in the 2 markets. Internationally, services are delivered through a set of well- defined SLAs and systems/processes are standardized. Anything which is done additionally is termed as a value-add.
India on the other hand is very customer centric. Every assignment is unique and every deliverable is customized as per client requirements. We also are still evolving standardized processes. There is no concept of value-add, as all solutions are as per specific customer requirements.
We need to understand that Facility/Property Management is a fairly evolved industry internationally.
What do you make of the evolution of the FM industry?
Its good to see the industry growing and greater emphasis on our jobs.
The nomenclature has changed – for the larger part of my professional career, we used to be called as Maintenance professionals. However, with increased importance and enhanced role; Maintenance has evolved into Facilities/Property Management where we have also started playing a role in business.
For example here at Wadhwa, we conceptualized and we conduct a quarterly CRM initiative called as “KnowThyNeighbour” where our customers (commercial tenants) interact with us as well as amongst themselves. This is a great platform where we not only we get to hear about facility issues but this also serves as a platform where the business gets to know of real estate requirements.
What are the key skill sets required to be in this industry?
I think the key skill set required is of service orientation. It is very important that we treat our stakeholders as customers, listen to their needs and never say “no”. We may not have the answers immediately but personally I make sure that even if I don’t have an immediate answer, I will get back with the correct solution. Additionally you need to have very high self-motivation. In our business you may do 10 things, which are perfect but 1 bad job and that gets highlighted the most. Professionals who are looking at external encouragement may find this disillusioning.
At times you also need to learn to put your foot down and be someone who can take inititiative.
Todays Facility Manager is increasingly working with outsourced partners for key requirements, What are the checks and controls and motivations you use for performance?
As per the needs of the projects, we work with a bouquet of FM service providers whether IPCs or Indian companies. We focus on simplicity and ensure our partners understand their roles specifically. We conduct quarterly audits on hygiene requirements such as statutory compliances. Across all key FM services such as security, engineering or housekeeping; we have corporate managers whose job is to liaison with service providers and work hand in hand to deliver what our customers need.
My opinion is that our industry is still evolving and there are gaps in basic processes of our partners/ vendors we work with. On-ground staff of our partners/vendors may not be in touch with what their management does. There is a communication gap between on-ground staff and management. It is also important that vendors try and focus on consistency of services.
Can you tell us about how your department is structured?
As pointed out before, across all key FM services, we have corporate managers who oversee their respective functions and manage service providers.
These departments are CRM, Engineering, Soft Services, Security and Procurement/IT. These are further structured as per the company’s 2 verticals – Residential and Commercial. I head assets operations and report to the Executive Vice President Assets.
As a policy we predominantly work with outsourced partners.
How is your team and department evaluated?
We have yearly appraisals based on KRAs. At the beginning of every year, we define clear and simple KRAs upon which performances are evaluated.
What has been your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge has been implementation of CAFM – computer aided facility management. As a group we have managed to bring all aspects of our facility maintenance and operations on a single platform. This I would say has also been my biggest learning.
How do you keep yourself updated about FM?
Learning never stops. I try to keep myself updated by attending training programs, seminars and conferences.
INSIDE FM JOBS is a periodic feature of Kaaryaindia.wordpress.com blog and owned by Kaarya Facilities and Services Pvt. Ltd. The blog reaches out to more than 1000 facility and CRE professionals
If you wish your company to be featured, write to email@example.com