In the world of facilities management, soft services is an ever expanding market.
Traditionally comprised of physical security services, the cleaning sector, pest control and front office staffing, soft services has grown to include newcomers, such as health and safety and catering. As each segment has its growth points, as well as its challenges, a first-hand account from leaders in the industry, helps to paint the soft picture.
Taking a look firstly at the security market, Emrill has established a solid reputation as one of the region’s most effective providers of security. With a force comprised of guards, officers, CCTV operators and mobile patrolling units, the company manages both large-scale horizontal communities and vertical rises. The latter includes residential skyscrapers, the Princess Tower and 23 Marina.
“At Emrill, we have intensive security induction programmes to ensure that all of our new hires meet our stringent criteria…we are also developing innovative technology to enhance our services by tracking and analysing provision on our sites through cloud technology” comments Aranui ‘Nui’ Puki, security consultant and security operations manager at Emrill services.
The FM company’s security arm recently garnered international attention, when they successful assisted in the evacuation of the Torch Tower, a residential tower in Dubai Marina that recently suffered damages due to a fire.
When pressed on the challenges of delivering an effective security service, Emrill’s security operations manager explains that the biggest issues are often language and cultural barriers.
“Training employees to deliver a high quality security service is important, but it is also important for them to speak and communicate well in English. This is a big challenge for the industry,” explains Puki.
As one might expect, adherence to strict government regulations also plays a significant role in how all FM security companies manage service delivery. The most recent directive introduced by the Department of Protective Systems (DPS), called for fitness testing of all security personnel. As a result, Emrill encourages its staff to maintain a good level of fitness by particpating in sports and regularly attending the gym.
Commenting on the regulation, Puki shares: “This is a great initiative and ensures that only the fittest security guards are responsible for keeping our community and city safe.”
Compliance with government ruling is also a tough challenge with fellow FM companyTransguard Group. Quite possibly the most recognisable security brand in the UAE market, thanks in large part to the group’s cash management business, Transguard currently employs over 4,000 security personnel across the country. Their presence can be seen across a variety of sectors, such as aviation, banking, commercial, hospitality, logistics, residential and retail.
“From a security perspective, all private security companies are regulated by the police. In Dubai, this falls under DPS and in every other Emirate with Private Security Business Department,” explains Simon Currie, director of Transguard Security Services.
He adds that each organisation carriers strict requirements in order to obtain a security license. As the criteria evaluates both financial and operational capabilities, both law enforcement departments have their respective audit and compliance teams. Regular meetings are held with the local security community to keep them updated and to ensure stand