With the Saudi Arabian facility management market expected to grow at an annual rate of over 11% through to 2030, significant growth potential exists for the cleaning and soft services sector as the trend towards outsourcing FM services continues to gain momentum amongst Saudi companies.
As in many other countries, the market is increasingly favoring FM providers offering integrated facilities management (IFM) solutions, where both soft and hard services can be delivered by one operator.
While considerable growth potential exists, many Saudi FM operators have reported that the local labor pool currently lacks the level of training and education necessary to consistently meet the increasingly high expectations of blue chip, international clients with operations in Saudi Arabia.
From an FM operators’ point of view, challenges surround the ability to recruit qualified soft services staff capable of immediately delivering high-quality FM services. This being the case, we believe the main trend in 2023 will be the need for Saudi FM operators to invest in staff training to meet their talent acquisition and retention goals. However, it is important that this training meets internationally recognised standards to ensure consistency and to gain the trust of clients.
At Musanadah, we addressed this need by investing heavily in new training facilities with the opening of two new BICSc-certified training centers in Al Khobar and Riyadh in 2022. Already, this has proven to be a great success for our company, ensuring consistent, internationally benchmarked standards are maintained across our 1,400+ workforce and client sites throughout the Kingdom including major Vision 2030 projects. Investing in staff training not only raises overall FM industry standards in the Kingdom but also improves client relationships and ensures SLA compliance - the business outcome being improved client retention and increased contract renewals.
Furthermore, aligning with industry associations, such as MEFMA, is expected to become more important in the future, changing awareness of the facilities management sector in Saudi Arabia and ensuring local staff are kept abreast of new innovations and industry developments through regular training courses, workshops, and networking events held across the Kingdom. IFMA and IWFM are also growing in importance in Saudi Arabia - the knowledge transfer opportunities
provided by these organizations can be transformational and highly cost-effective for Saudi FM operators.
However, there are many new trends in the soft services sector to consider which we can share with you below:
Emerging trends for 2023
- Increasing importance of internationally benchmarked training standards in the Saudi Arabian FM industry, with more clients seeking FM providers with in-house BICSc-certified training centers or similar to ensure consistent service delivery.
- More Saudi companies seeking FM providers offering eco-friendly cleaning equipment and chemicals to help achieve their sustainability goals.
- Emergence of new, more technologically advanced cleaning equipment such as technic mops and brooms, including the microfiber revolution system, to improve efficiencies and reduce staff time.
- Trialing of cleaning robots, powered by Active AI, as part of an industry-wide mission to identify and execute automated and artificial intelligence (AI) driven solutions to further drive sustainability, reduce manpower levels and lower operational costs.
- Using big data and business intelligence insights to ensure KPI’s and SLAs are consistently met, ensuring service delivery standards are maintained and clearly reported back to clients.
- Utilizing CAFM systems and data analytics to manage staff and monitor client sites remotely and in real time from centralized command centers, ensuring asset management KPI’s are met while streamlining operations.
- Digital transformation - using data analytics and metrics to continually improve future service delivery standards and optimize staff deployment.
- Compliance with Saudization targets for soft services staffing - an important consideration for KSA-based FM companies.
- Continual improvements in worker welfare standards and quality of staff accommodation, with a greater reliance on external quality and compliance auditing.
- Wider use of cleaning service apps, especially for home maintenance services, where householders and smartphone users can book and pay for cleaning services in their home or office simply by clicking a few buttons.
About the author:
Sayyed Shabab Husain Rizvi is the Manager-Learning Education and Development,
Soft Services at Musanadah Facilities Management.