DETAILS, DETAILS

Kuwait 2019 | REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION | INTERVIEW

UFM is bringing new methods for building design and maintenance crucial for the application of smart technology in Kuwait.

Ahmad Yousef Al Kandari
BIOGRAPHY
Ahmad Yousef Al Kandari has over 30 years of experience in facility management, real estate, banking, and investment. Since 2007, he has been at the wheel of UFM. Prior to this, he held key executive positions at United Real Estate (URC), during which he was responsible for managing signature properties in Kuwait, ranging from high-end malls to state-of-the-art business towers. He also draws on his expertise in finance and operations acquired while working at leading investment and banking companies in Kuwait, such as Real Estate Bank, Gulf Credit Company, and Kuwait Oil Company to successfully expand UFM’s business across the GCC and MENA region. He holds a bachelor’s in business administration management from Kuwait University.

How does UFM actively contribute from the design-building stage to improve the levels of sustainability of its facilities?

The design-building stage is the most important one since the best foundation is conducted at that stage. It is therefore recommended that projects are assigned a facility management (FM) consultant who will be involved in cost and strategic planning. The FM consultant will be involved in the concept design review at initial design stage all way to the detail design. The review focuses on operational issues and operation cost optimization in addition to provisioning for future facility used. They are in charge of designing an asset registration form through the CAFM system after reviewing the design and floor map. Failure to do so will lead to several issues that will prevent the excellent operation and testing of smart systems according to standards, in addition to not providing the necessary documentation and training where it would result to limitation in operating the systems. We have executed this process with clients such as KIPCO, Hessa Al Mubarak, and others.

What programs does UFM have to shape the leaders of tomorrow and improve the standards among FM workers?

UFM is a founding member of Middle East Facilities Management Association (MEFMA), giving us the ability to offer certified training courses to employees and clients based on international standards. UFM has a designated training department specialized in providing training courses regarding new and recent technologies concerning the FM industry. Moreover, UFM has a set of national and international calibers. That provides a strong base, since we are constantly sharing experiences and knowledge within each department. UFM makes sure to create a positive working environment for all its employees by conducting awareness sessions on how to follow the corporate identity. UFM attracts talented and motivated employees to join its team. From day one, our employees undergo a long-term induction program. We adopt international standards in management and share knowledge in order to constantly improve our staff.

What systems and technologies is UFM integrating in its facility management activity in order to spur levels of efficiency?

UFM integrates the most recent technologies, such as computer-aided facility management (CAFM) to ensure safe and efficient services to facilities. The CAFM system has many benefits, such as asset registration. In addition, we use smart systems that work together in an integrated way. For example, our AC and temperature system are configured based on the number of people in the room. The objective is to produce the best air quality and temperature indoors according to the temperature outside.

How does UFM's socially responsible image contribute to growing its activities and attracting and increasing the number of investors?

UFM is aware of its responsibility toward the community. For this reason, we participate in many events through different types of sponsorships. It is also an opportunity for us to meet investors and potential clients. We want to convey a positive message to our potential investors and demonstrate not only our social commitment but also our financial stability and strong presence in the market.

What is UFM's marketing strategy to grow its activities in and out of Kuwait?

UFM has a designated experienced development team to develop marketing strategies according to recent activities regionally and internationally and based on historical records of the market. This is done via intensive research of the market and in cooperation with an international agency. This team focuses on reaching as many clients as possible through different channels like events, workshops, and FM-related activities in and out of Kuwait. We also conduct a comprehensive benchmarking and market study to properly evaluate our competitors. Based on the results, a customized new service will come up in order to serve a certain need, or new clients will be served with certain services that their facilities require.

Where do you envisioning UFM heading in 2019?

Our vision in 2019 is to make positive changes to work life, and we aim to improve the workplace for UFM employees, raise awareness on the FM industry in the public and private sectors through workshops and events, and focus on adding long-terms concepts to our strategy. We also want to look into incubating new ideas, introducing new service product packages that suit best our current and potential clients, as well as exploring new markets to add to our clients' list.