IN FOCUS: KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA
"The current market scenario is very impressive and exciting. We have heard about several new projects and government initiatives coming up in this region, which will open up new avenues thus calling for several new ideas and entrants in this business. And we welcome them.”
Rakan Al Sehli, Chief Operating Officer, ChbibCare, talks about the burgeoning FM market in the KSA region and the immense opportunities the segment has to offer…
The cleaning and FM industry has witnessed a huge leap in the last couple of years. The biggest market in the region is and will be KSA for the next two decades. A few years ago, we had very few players as suppliers, but now several international companies with great experience have entered the market through several tie-ups with local companies. These tie-ups will definitely bring in the expertise, which will result in growth and development in the FM market in Saudi Arabia.
In the last few years, growth in the hospitality segment was tremendous, and the country was in need of these projects. These projects included the launch of 5-star and 4-star hotels and hotel apartments catering to all kinds of guest requirements. Since the government’s target is to drive tourism in the country, we need to be ready with the right kind of infrastructure. The country is heavily investing in developing and upscaling the quality of living, and all of this will reflect directly and indirectly on the FM industry.
Earlier newer technologies in our market were being adapted at slower pace and changing habits also was a big challenge. But now new international FM companies foraying with innovative ideas, products and technology has been instrumental in bringing a wave of change. Apart from this, earlier the cleaning and FM industry was labour oriented, as the labour was cheaply and easily available, but now the industry is opting for mechanised cleaning, as labour costs rise.
IoT and AI are still in their infancy stage; technology needs to be more enhanced to meet the demanding requirements of FM companies. But, it is definitely around the corner, and Saudi Arabia will be at the forefront as the vision of our Crown Prince to develop an entire city NEOM – a Saudi project for a smart and tourist cross-border city build around IoT and AI – will put Saudi Arabia on top in the global map. Likewise, the Red Sea Project is one of three giga-projects announced by HRH Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud in 2017. The project supports the government’s strategy to diversify the Kingdom’s tourism offering as laid out in Vision 2030.
Saudi Arabia is a huge market for FM, the consumption, too, is very high, and therefore sustainability in this sector has always been an important aspect. The market is definitely poised for an upward growth and will continue for years.
The major challenge for the FM industry will be controlling costs of operation, backup and aftersales services of equipment. One more challenge I would want to highlight is retaining skilled manpower. Besides, in the last few years it was easier to establish businesses and compete, but now businesses are expected to be strategy oriented and proactive to meet the fast and changing demands of the clients for surviving in this competitive market. On the other hand, this is the industry we firmly believe in, and no other industry has the growth potential as the FM segment, and we expect this to be the case even a decade from now.
What lies ahead
The current market scenario is very impressive and exciting. We have heard about several new projects and government initiatives coming up in this region, which will open up new avenues thus calling for several new ideas and entrants in this business. And we welcome them. The service market in Saudi Arabia is on a growth track and will achieve new heights in the next three years. I expect the current service industry in Saudi Arabia will be pegged at $8-10 billion approximately and will scale over $15 billion in the next three years. In terms of investment, I see great potential in this segment in the coming years. Saudi Arabia and FM industry is the best place and entity to invest today.
ChbibCare is a 100 per cent Saudi-owned company with a strong workforce of 51 personnel and one of the largest providers of cleaning solutions offering services like consulting, training, after sales and rentals to industries such as health care, educational institutes, warehouses, hotels and restaurants, etc. Established in the year 1996 - under the leadership of the President Engineer Abdul Hakim Al Sehli - with a vision of strengthening the after sales services, the company has grown exponentially with a wide presence in the Kingdom. We always believe in being a step ahead of others, and our team remains updated by travelling around the globe to bring in new revolutionary products and services. We feel the latest and modern techniques will simplify the tasks and help our markets.