The facilities management industry is facing its share of challenges, but Jamal Abdulla Lootah, Group CEO of Imdaad strongly believes every challenge presents a new opportunity for his company to excel.
In terms of financial performance, how has the year 2019 been for Imdaad, as compared to the same period last year?
Imdaad has further cemented its preeminent position in the regional facilities management industry to successfully achieve strong business growth and profitable expansion, despite challenging market conditions. We enjoyed tremendous results during the 2018-19 financial year, when total revenues exceeded AED670 million ($182 million). Our projections indicate that we were on course to deliver total revenues of AED730 million in 2019, which represented an annual increase of 9 percent.
Last year, did Imdaad sign or renewed any major contracts? Can you briefly describe the growth of your client portfolio over the past five years?
During the past year, we have consolidated our market leadership by successfully onboarding a string of prestigious new clients across the luxury hospitality, F&B, retail, banking, residential, and mixed-use development sectors. In addition to the phenomenal growth of our client portfolio over the last five years, we have maintained a healthy year-on-year client retention rate of 95 percent.
We also enjoy one of the industry’s most impressive customer retention rates – our efforts in continuously improving operational performance have resulted in a client satisfaction rate of 95 percent, a contract renewal rate of 90 percent, and average client KPI achievements in excess of 95 percent.
Sustainability has become a must, in all industries, especially in facilities management. Can you elaborate more on Imdaad’s efforts to support sustainability in the industry?
At Imdaad, sustainability has always been at the heart of our business model and our short and long-term strategies are aligned to both the UAE Vision 2021 National Agenda and Dubai Plan 2021. We made a big leap forward with the rollout of the Sahal fleet and service management program in our Environmental Services division, which brings an integrated approach to logistics planning, fleet handling, and scheduling, and is now a central part of our day-to-day operations. Sahal eliminates the need for paper transactions and enables increased efficiency in route planning and vehicle management, significantly reducing CO2 emissions.
We are also proud to own and operate FARZ, one of the largest fully-automated Material Recovery Facilities in the region. This pioneering project has the capacity to process 1,200 tonnes of municipal, commercial, and industrial waste per day – equivalent to almost 14 percent of the total waste generated daily in Dubai.
Imdaad’s environmental credentials are also highlighted by the fact that we are the only waste management company in the UAE whose entire fleet of waste-compactor and recycling trucks runs on biofuel.
We have installed a 17,000-litre capacity biofuel tank and refueling station at our facility in Jebel Ali to optimize our use of clean energy, in line with the goals of the UAE’s Energy Strategy 2050.
Meanwhile, at a grassroots level, we have embarked on several projects designed to raise awareness on the importance of recycling among the general public. This 360° approach positions Imdaad as a leader in sustainability that is creating a powerful impact across the nation and contributing to a cleaner, greener future.
Digital transformation is now critical in all industries. Can you describe Imdaad’s efforts in using the latest technologies and innovations for improving its operations across its divisions?
Innovation remains a key component of our operations. This is why we were one of the first companies in the region to implement the previously mentioned Sahal system, which has transformed a paper-based, human-dependent operation into an intelligent, orchestrated, and more efficient process-based model. The system also contributes to our sustainability drive by reducing the use of printed invoices and transferring record-keeping to a digital format, in line with the goals of the UAE’s ambitious roadmap to a digital future.
In addition, we have adopted the groundbreaking EFFY app to coordinate our extensive operations with banking clients. This 360° smartphone-based solution offers accurate real-time tracking and digitization of operational data in the field, enabling us to allocate resources more efficiently and oversee the integrity of more than 4.2 million square feet of facilities. The system ensures rapid responses that provide seamless delivery of services to our clients and safeguard the operations of critical infrastructure. Following the successful implementation of this initiative, we now aim to roll out EFFY across our entire operations.
We have also recently introduced a French-built GOUPIL electric pick-up vehicle inside Jebel Ali Freezone to collect all types of recyclable material as part of a pilot project forms that will inform our future recycling strategy. Ultimately, we aim to provide all necessary client-side infrastructure for the gathering of waste, which will then be collected by electric vehicles and recycled through our FARZ facility, thus creating a complete waste management solution that makes use of the latest technologies. This approach is backed by a series of engaging programs for all of our clients that are designed to raise awareness of the importance of sustainability and encourage them to take an active role.
Imdaad is known for its continuous efforts to expand its areas of expertise. Has the company added any new service to its portfolio during 2019?
In line with our goal of continuously updating our offerings to reflect the evolving needs of our clients, we introduced lake cleaning capabilities to our extensive portfolio of specialized services this year.
We have also further enhanced our biomedical and water waste management services by investing in an Industrial Wastewater Treatment Plant for the collection, treatment, and disposal of oil and hazardous wastewater in Jebel Ali Free Zone.
The plant has a capacity of 300 cubic metres per day, and the treated effluent is reused as irrigation water in compliance with local and statutory standards.
What do you think of the current performance of the FM industry in the UAE and what are your expectations for 2020?
The demand for FM services is continuing to grow in the UAE, with a 12 percent year-on-year growth forecasted for the industry in 2020. As the industry continues to mature, we have noticed that our clients are becoming more demanding and seek greater added value in the delivery of services. There is always room for companies to become more efficient and embrace the latest technologies. At Imdaad, we are proud to stand at the forefront of this movement, particularly where innovation, efficiency, and sustainability are concerned.
"The demand for Fm services is continuing to grow in the UAE, with a 12 percent year-on-year growth forecasted for the industry in 2020."
Looking ahead to 2020, we foresee many exciting new projects and look forward to further expanding our client portfolio. Naturally, the industry will also face its share of challenges – however, every challenge presents another opportunity to further enhance our services. By harnessing the power of innovation, keeping up-to-date on the latest global best practices and providing industry-leading training for our team members, we are confident that we can continue to provide an unrivaled suite of solutions for our clients and maintain our position as one of the region’s foremost providers of integrated FM services.
This year will witness the most awaited world-class event, Expo 2020 Dubai. What are your expectations from this leading event?
As with the rest of the nation, we have high expectations for this unprecedented event. We expect to see Dubai booming next year, with the city set to attract a huge increase in international visitors. This will lead to further demand for FM services, particularly in the hospitality sector and across public areas such as malls and other visitor attractions.
The event itself will also bring with it countless innovations that will benefit both the UAE and the wider world tremendously. We believe this will be the lasting legacy of Expo 2020. Dubai is already recognized as a center of innovation – by welcoming the world to showcase the latest breakthroughs, we are establishing the city as a true global hub for the development of tomorrow’s technologies, which will help shape the future lives of millions both in the region and beyond.
Can we have an idea about Imdaad’s future plans for 2020, in terms of growth, strategy and future partnerships?
As we look confidently towards the future, we will continue to seek out new technologies that will further enhance our services and bring added value to our customers.
Our long-term strategy is not only going according to plan, but exceeding expectations, and we look forward to welcoming many new clients and embarking on fresh partnerships over the coming year.
All projections indicate a growth forecast of between seven to nine percent across our business as a whole, meaning that 2020 is shaping up to be Imdaad’s best year yet.
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