In many ways, Mr Lee Hock Heng’s professional growth and mindset mirror that of his employer of more than 20 years. Certis, today, has evolved from offering mainly security services to providing multi-faceted operational solutions including smart facilities management (FM) by keeping pace with technology. Mr Lee has grown with the company, and taken on various roles through the ranks with upskilling, reskilling and leadership opportunities given to him.
He started in 2002 as an Auxiliary Police Inspector who managed the security operations and logistics for cash and valuable businesses. Then he went on to lead teams in various departments, including Business Process Operations, Training Services and Employment Services.
In 2019, Mr Lee was promoted to Senior Vice President and now helms the group of businesses under Certis Integrated Services (CIS), which includes Certis Integrated Facilities Management (Certis IFM). The switch to the broad and complex FM sector took some adjustment, but he took it all in his stride.
“With change, there would definitely be many challenges. But I see them as adventures, with us discovering many good outcomes,” he said.
One of these good outcomes is how Certis IFM has excelled under Mr Lee’s leadership. Unlike traditional FM which engages multiple managing agents, each handling different aspects such as cleaning, M&E, electrical maintenance, security and even horticulture services, Certis IFM integrates a full suite of services by bringing all them all under one single contract.
“We help clients break down traditional silos and create synergies through a multi-functional workforce,” he explained. “For example, an FM technician or cleaner is trained to identify and report security incidents.”
Certis IFM has also been adopting smart FM solutions, which is in line with the recently refreshed Built Environment Industry Transformation Map and its key focus area of Sustainable Urban Systems (SUS). These outcome-based services are powered by technology and measured by data points to optimise performance and efficiency, and can even aid in predictive maintenance and prevent operational downtime for their clients.
Boosting environmental sustainability with energy-efficient technologies such as IoT sensors for horticulture.
IN TUNE WITH TECH
However, the move also comes with its challenges. One of the greatest impediments to going smart is being able to employ technology effectively.
“Many clients have invested in technologies that are abandoned very quickly as they did not improve the outcomes,” Mr Lee pointed out. “You can’t just buy technology and expect the operations to improve. That can create many new problems.”
To overcome this, Certis has adopted what it calls the “Operational Design-First” principle. The approach, which hinges on proper process design and innovation of existing technology, ensures that any technology used supports operational needs and prevents wastage of resources.
This best-fit approach has led Certis to develop the Business Process Re-engineering and Operations (BPRO®) framework. Under BPRO®, the firm works with customers to create desired outcomes that can be achieved with technology developed by Certis.
The Certis BPRO® Advantage
Another obstacle on the road to Smart FM is the lack of managerial visibility over a facility’s operations. “Smart FM can only be as good as what FM managers can see and therefore act upon,” said Mr Lee.
Certis has devised a solution for this, too – an integrated multi-service orchestration platform named Mozart. Like the multi-talented composer, the eponymous platform is highly versatile, providing real-time operational and efficiency data across different sites that cover a myriad of services such as aircon temperature, escalator operations and remote emergency command and control.
Certis officers using Mozart to track real-time data of different facilities.
With all this data, Certis can pre-empt system malfunctions, allowing for predictive and preventive maintenance. For example, the temperature throughout a facility can be adjusted pre-emptively, rather than responsively, to cater to the predicted traffic flow. This helps clients operate efficiently and with less downtime since issues are nipped in the bud even before they occur.
“With more efficient operations, our customers can contain rising costs in this challenging economy,” said Mr Lee.
CHARTING THE COURSE FOR GROWTH
As smart FM continues to gain traction, Mr Lee believes the sector is realising the benefits of going green and focusing more on sustainability to save energy.
Automation is another critical area of growth. Post-COVID-19, many companies have realised the value of automation in addressing labour shortages. Mr Lee expects more FM tasks to be handled by autonomous technology, allowing for a more efficient allocation of manpower.
Certis is thus working to prepare its employees for a tech-powered future. At the in-house Certis Corporate University, courses go beyond digital literacy and technical skills training to include soft skills such as Design Thinking and Customer Service. These ensure that staff remain relevant and can add value in a constantly evolving sector.
In turn, Mr Lee hopes to do his part to preserve Certis’ competitive edge.
“I hope to groom a generation of FM talents who are not just tech-savvy, but also able to envision and innovate the next growth curve in FM.”
Find out more about the progress of FM sector here: https://www1.bca.gov.sg/buildsg/facilities-management-fm