The thoughts in this piece emerged from the interview conducted with Abdullah Oladipo, Project Team Lead at Green Facilities. Before joining Green Facilities, Abdullah has previously worked with Savvy Capire Partners Limited. At the Green Facilities, he currently leads team managing soft and critical facilities at Egbin Power Plant located in Ikorodu, Lagos State.
Tekedia: Already, Nigeria and her people, including businesses are a facing potential threat to economic growth after exiting recession a few years ago. What is your take on Coronavirus Outbreak in line with economy and industries performance so far?
Abdullah: COVID-19 has affected the entire world, most businesses are suffocating, factories are shut down, hence it makes demands to be more than supply. Human being is a natural social being is now asked to keep social distance. The effect of the pandemic is enormous. Therefore, I am afraid if this go on for another 6 months, the world might experience another great global recession. We do business with people and not animals, and the slogan of the world now is social distancing.
Tekedia: Facilities Management industry is one of the emerging industries. With the lockdown of Lagos, Abuja, Ogun and some parts of the country. How would you describe the future of the industry considering the fact that a significant part of the first quarter has been impacted by the virus?
Abdullah: Yes, the significant part of Q1 has been impacted by the COVID-19, funny enough, it’s only had little effect on FM. Most essential company still works online; wastes are still generated and life keeps running. FM is all about people. Therefore, wherever the people go, Facilities Management follows, some company adopts different strategies in managing their facilities and assets. Some locked down the company and its maintenance team to ensure business continuity. Some operate virtually, when issues arise, they mobilize to the location and fix the issues. This tells us the importance of big data, IoTs, and CAFM in the business operations of the FM. Any company that has deployed those 3, will work seamlessly during this period with high returns on investment. They will also be efficient and meets whatever Key Performance Indicators the clients might give them. This is the time to really look into that, and turns all buildings to smart ones.
Tekedia: You are managing a facility that has a lot of people and critical and soft facilities. Can you tell us the strategies and tactics you are deploying for continuous maintenance of the facilities and deliver the needed value?
Abdullah: There is state lock down, which affects people’s movement and enjoys social distancing. FM is half way on site and half way off site. Therefore, we need to have some of our team onsite. We locked them now for all essential services such as management of Power Plant and facilities at hospital. They will operate and live within the facility for the entire period of lock down. Also, for important sub contractors. We can bring them in to fix issues if it’s very important and very urgent. They go directly to the place of work, execute the work then move them out immediately.
Tekedia: Is it imperative for the players in the industry to reengineer their solutions delivery processes and standards in the face of disruption that has affected operational activities?
Abdullah: Of course, this is key, Post covid-19 would change a lot of things. This is the time companies should start looking at real technology integration. Like the use of robots instead of men or women as technicians, use of drown for inspection instead of physical inspection and use of IoT and sensor for energy management will change the dynamic of the business.