In Nigeria, a number of companies prioritise winning awards because of the numerous benefits associated with it and being enjoyed by companies that have won one or two over the years. Like other emerging industries in Nigeria, players and professionals in the Facilities Management industry believe that winning awards equals to increasing the industry recognition by stakeholders in the public and private establishments.
In our experience, we discovered that professionals were of the view that both companies and professionals need to be recognised through awards and other means capable of improving their morale towards sustainable facilities maintenance and management in the country. Looking at their views, our analyst notes that recognizing the players and professionals cannot be done using non-standardized approaches or measurements. This is premised on the fact that issues and needs within the built environment, especially management of critical infrastructure or facilities requires innovative and sustainable solutions. For instance, in 2019, our analysis of the issues and needs within the built environment showed that over 48% of 80 issues felt and needed by the people within upper, middle income and bottom of the pyramid. This is closely followed by the people within the bottom of the pyramid with 30% and, upper and middle income class (17.5%). Situating this analysis within opportunity areas, we found that health sector dominated with over 76% of the issues and needs followed by real estate and construction (6.25%), oil and gas (5.0%), power and energy (5.0%) and public infrastructure (3.75%).
Our analyst believes that these issues and needs, and others were solved by companies in the industry in 2019 and 2020 before being considered for awards. We believe that the Business Day, a national newspaper, did its research and evaluation appropriately before awarding various awards to selected companies in the industry during its 2020 Nigerian Business Leadership Awards.
Eliezer Workplace Management won leadership in sustainability and environmental impact award. Green Facilities was considered for emerging total facilities management company, while Global Property and Facilities International and GreenKey Facility Management Services were presented with an overall excellence in facility management and technology innovation in facility management respectively. Principal Facilities Management is also seen as one of the best FM brands during the year. However, this piece is not about x-raying the processes and factors being considered by organisations before giving awards to these brands and others. It presents insights and needs regarding the place of awards in customer base increase and industry recognition by the stakeholders.
FM Brands and Quest for Awards
As argued earlier, companies are on award winning race every year. They want to be seen as being the best in terms of processes, people, technology usage and value creation. They want to justify the usual nomenclature of being ‘the leading FM company, the best FM company in the country’. As noted in one of our previous analyses, the Nigerian Facility Management industry is like the media industry, which players and professionals are highly located in and operated from Lagos.
In our analysis of 25 companies, 97.96% are located in Lagos, while 2.04% are situated in Abuja. Our efforts to get a number of players in Port-Harcourt and Kano as part of samples for analysis yielded low results. Value proposition using the mission statement and service or solution offering indicate that a number of companies in these cities did not fall within the scope of the analysis. They are yet to align with the best national and global practices, which could be used to justify their classification as facilities management companies. For example, doing cleaning service alone does not mean a company is a member of the industry.
Alpha Mead, Savvy Capire, GPFI, GreenKey, Green Facilities, Eliezer Workplace, Principal Facilities, Willco Property Management, Provast, TseboRapid, Max-Migold, Libra Reliance, Cxall, Cushman and Wakefield, Lafam, Avant Properties, ProFM Credential, Broll Properties, North-Court, Total Facilities Management, Ikon Facilities, Coco Facilities Management, Apex Link Global Concept, Trash Movers Nigeria and Preferred Facilities Management were specifically chosen for the analysis. These companies have had over 250 collective years of operation. The average years of existence of the companies is 10 years, 3 months and 6 weeks. Between 2015 and 2020, 13 of these companies won 49 awards, which entails national and international awards, our analysis reveals. Twenty-nine national awards were won during the period, while 20 international awards were achieved.
Exhibit 1: Awards 2015-2020
In 2015, 8.16% of the awards was won. This reduced by 2.04% in 2016. However, the companies’ train of winning awards increased by 4.08% in 2017 with a significant increase in 2018. Surprisingly, in 2019 the significant achievement attained in 2018 dipped in 2019. In 2019, the number of awards won by the selected companies reduced to 12.24% from 32.65% recorded in 2018. In our data, we also found that in 2020 the companies worked assiduously to earn recognitions from award-giving organisations, especially the national newspapers. With a 18.34% increase, the companies surpassed achievement recorded in 2019.
Does Age Matter?
Our analyst answered this question with the classification of the companies’ years of existence into four groups. In the first group, which is tagged 1-10 years and first emerging players, 11 companies constituted the group. In the second group, which is dubbed 11-15 years and second emerging players, we have 6 companies. Three companies were in 16-20 years and first established players while two companies were in 21-23 years and second established players group. Analysis shows that companies in 11-15 years and 21-23 years associated significantly in their awards winning race between 2015 and 2020 [some companies did not win awards during the period]. Examination of the severity [using standard deviation scores] of awards along with the years of existence reveals a negative connection, indicating that the higher the awards, the lower the years of existence. This implies that companies established in the last 15 years won awards more than those established in the last 23 years during the period.
Exhibit 2: Average Award won by years of existence group
Winning Awards and Public Recognition of the Industry
What does winning these awards connote for the industry during the period? Our analyst found that one unit of winning awards by companies within the first emerging players group led to 14.4% increase in public interest in the industry. More than 13% was found for those companies within the second emerging players group. However, analysis indicates that the more players in the first established players group won awards the less public had interest in the industry. Analysis further shows that players in the first and second established group contributed to the public interest in the industry negatively. One unit of winning awards translated to 25.9% reduction of public interest in the industry.
These results have many suggestions and implications for the industry and players. One of the suggestions is that players in the emerging groups could be said to have deployed their communication and relationship infrastructure towards effective communication of the essence of the awards to the stakeholders, especially clients. It also means that players in the established groups felt that they have had enough. Hence, there is no need for communicating or celebrating the awards through public engagement.
Exhibit 3: Average Public Interest in Facilities Management and Award per year
Exhibit 4: Severity of the awards and public interest in facilities management between 2015 and 2020
As the insights established, gaining brand and industry recognition after winning awards is a matter of strategic communication of the laurels to the public, most importantly prospective customers. In fact, being at infant stage is enough for the players to always use awards winning as one of the strategic tools for gaining public recognition. It is a means of letting the public know that without facilities management industry business operations would be grounded and projected revenue would not be attained.
Players in the established groups need to increase their strategic communication efforts after winning awards. Being the oldest companies and winning awards should be leveraged for robust public engagement that would increase public recognition of the industry. For instance, experiences during the early years can be shared using case and storytelling approach. This will go in a long way of connecting the past with the present towards public understanding of the place of the industry in Nigeria’s quest towards sustainable infrastructure or facilities management.