UAE's Maturing FM Market Creates Abundant Prospects

Khidmah’s CEO, Abdellatif Sfaxi gives an insight into the prospects that have opened up for FM in the real-estate value chain
Megha S Anthony | UAE | Facilities Management

In an exclusive interview with REM Times, we had the privilege of diving deep into the world of Khidmah with none other than their visionary CEO, Abdellatif Sfaxi. With a captivating blend of passion, expertise, and ambition, Sfaxi took us on a journey through Khidmah's exceptional Total Facilities Management (TFM) services and their bold plans to transform the industry. Brace yourself for an eye-opening exploration of their tailored solutions, groundbreaking innovations, and unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction.

1. Khidmah has an impressive portfolio of Grade A commercial assets. What measures do you take to ensure that your TFM services align with the unique needs and requirements of each property? Especially with a property like ADGM.

Our goal is to offer a tailored TFM solution that aligns and exceeds the customer’s expectations and complements the stature of the serviced asset. Khidmah’s greatest strength is its people and to ensure we continually achieve our objectives; it is essential that we employ and upskill our staff to always deliver quality services.

Moreover, we pride ourselves in leveraging and strengthening our inhouse expertise and experience to ensure high standards are consistently achieved. Supporting our clients to maximise their ROI (Return on Investment) across their assets with effective life-cycle planning, modelling and management is just one of the many services Khidmah provides that stretches beyond the realms of standard TFM. 

Looking forward, Khidmah will continue to be market leaders in this space and drive new ideas, innovations, and value-added services for the benefit of our customers.

2. In your opinion, what role do you see FM playing in Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE region? How is Khidmah preparing for this?

Facilities Management (FM) has always played a crucial role in the real-estate value chain. We have evolved beyond being cleaning and maintenance service providers and becoming consultants who bring together teams of hard and soft FM professionals who work effectively to preserve assets and extend their lifecycles.  At Khidmah, we utilise innovative and high-tech methods to add value to our services, aiming to offer high-quality, cost-efficient services to all our customers in the UAE and the wider region.

The current UAE FM market is halfway through its maturation process, with more than half of it being subcontracted, therefore creating plenty of prospects for us to capture. The real estate sector’s ongoing development in Abu Dhabi is expected to prompt a surge in the market, potentially generating additional opportunities for the Khidmah and the wider FM industry. The market also offers opportunities for both organic growth and consolidation through mergers and acquisitions.

Our goal is to establish ourselves as the preferred FM services provider in the region.

3. What exciting new developments can we expect to see from Khidmah in the near future, and how do you plan to continue strengthening your TFM offering to meet the evolving needs of your clients?

Our accomplishments in the last few years were remarkable. In 2022, we increased the number of active contracts and secured over 50 new contracts reflecting a 430% growth in value.

Acquiring established businesses is a key part of our growth strategy, as we believe capturing established firms especially in niche FM subspecialties further strengthens our overall integrated offering. In line with our growth strategy, in 2022, Khidmah acquired green building enabler Pactive Sustainable Solutions and Mace Macro Technical Services, Mace Group’s UAE headquartered Hard Facilities Management Arm, which led to an 80% revenue growth in 2023 and 130% increase in Net Operating Income (NOI).

At Khidmah, we are eager to invest and demonstrate to asset owners how our processes and systems can genuinely add value. As such, to strengthen our TFM offering, we rolled out our digital solutions to several clients, and fully integrated their systems with our customer care centre, which has the full functionality to handle support requests from any stakeholder through the entire customer journey. Everything in our system is now fully automated and integrated across all platforms and mobile applications.

4. Technology has been a driving force behind many advancements in the facilities management industry. How does Khidmah incorporate technology in its TFM services to enhance service delivery and provide more value to clients?

We maintain industry best practices and have utilised innovation and technology to continuously improve service quality, enhance service delivery, drive cost efficiencies, and reduce asset environmental impact. By using technology to optimise our processes and resources, we are able to offer cost-effective services that are environmentally friendly and tailored to our clients' unique requirements. For example, we launched FM Connect, the Khidmah Home app and several collaborative tools including PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) to ensure stronger collaboration between key operational teams and enhance our delivery of services. The devices ensure that critical tasks are carried out from beginning to end flawlessly without any delays.

As an example, in maintenance, we currently manage Abu Dhabi Global Market's (ADGM) Square and are implementing an innovative maintenance model. This model revolves around aligning and integrating all systems, as well as incorporating predictive maintenance based on IoT (Internet of Things), sensors, gateways, and a centralised command centre.

Furthermore, our next step will be to integrate Artificial Intelligence to analyse all data, identify linkages, and calculate how much funding and effort will be spent on maintaining each asset. This step will undoubtedly strengthen Khidmah’s competitive position and the overall customer experience.

live Now