Interviewee: Steve Davies, managing director of Kier's facilities management business
Issue: The rise of workplace services divisions within construction companies
12 August 2016 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
Steve Davies, managing director of Kier's FM business, on the rise of workplace services divisions within construction companies.
Why do you think workplace services divisions are proliferating in FM?
There are two reasons why this has become a growing trend and one of those is the productivity challenge on the supplier side rather than client side. If a supplier can deliver a wide range of services to me from a single organisation where there's joined-up labour and everyone in the building works for that same organisation or is part of that same team - you will drive some efficiency and some productivity in that space for us. The second reason is technology. We are focused around people and data - a phrase I am starting to use more of in the business. The more companies that you've got delivering services for you with their own technology, the more it becomes important to bring that together all in one place.
You joined Kier in 2015. What has been your greatest challenge and achievement?
One challenge would be the culture. It would be fair to say the construction industry has had a project time-limited perspective. So the culture of the organisation is time-limited and is about employing resources when you need them. The service industry is all about acquiring people with great talent and skills and holding on to them. When I joined Kier it was primarily construction-based. One of the biggest challenges I've had is creating a real service culture for this part of our organisation. I think we have some good people who have that service ethos about them. Acquisition of Mouchel has meant a lot of uncertainty. Integrating the different parts of the business has also been a significant challenge.
What's the latest on the disposal of the Mouchel Consulting business?
Our CEO told the City there would be a strategic review of Mouchel Consulting that may result in a sale It's a different part of the organisation so I don't have any detail.
Where do you feel the FM industry is headed in terms of innovation? How could the sector change radically?
Technology has a place, but it won't replace people. Our industry is people-based, whether it is the M&E person changing your light bulb or the person checking your entry card technology is making those people more efficient, so security is a great example. In a working office in the day time in order for there to be a visible presence and protection, you need a security officer meeting and greeting people. But at night, when that building is locked, five years ago you'd have a security officer walking the floors now that's been replaced by CCTV and quick response units.