THE KEY TO SUCCESS

Kuwait 2019 | REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION | INTERVIEW

Ecovert FM is a fully integrated company with a staff that provides a level of service quality that is unmatched in Kuwait's facilities management industry.

Elie Emile Khalife
BIOGRAPHY
Elie Emile Khalife has over 30 years of experience in total facilities management, hotels, and international corporations. Guided by his international experience and deep-rooted understanding of facilities management, Khalife has been leading Ecovert FM Kuwait since 2008. Previously, he held key positions in various corporations where he was responsible for the pre-opening of major five-star hotels. With experience in disaster recovery management and running facilities management operations across the GCC and MENA region, he continues to drive and grow Ecovert across the GCC. Khalife holds a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from California State University and PDP from Cornell University.

In what ways did your partnership with Bouygues help develop your business in Kuwait?

We incorporated the company in 2008, and Bouygues became an active partner during the initial stage, bringing most of the know-how. Bouygues has a 35-year history in facility management, which it implemented in multiple PPP projects. Facility management is a key contributor to such long-term projects, where costs must be accounted for. Its know-how has strengthened Ecovert FM. It provided us with all the policies and procedures, manuals on cleaning services and health and safety, quality management, audits, and all other considerations. Notably, we operated for a year before we took on any projects in order to modify the documentation to the local market. Thereafter, we assumed our first project in 2008. Simultaneously, we began the implementation of a central help desk to manage all our projects. We implemented all policies and procedures, the uniform system of accounts, as well as management of utilities, and so on. At present, we rank among the leading facility managers in Kuwait. One of our major projects is Al Hamra Tower, which we have been managing since 2010. Another such project is Kipco Tower, which we managed for the first three years. Our third major project was Jaber Ahmed Cultural Center. In total, we have around 28 projects in Kuwait, including universities. We have contributed significantly by properly managing cleaning services, security, and operations, and auditing cooling systems to curb the operational costs of the site.

How did all the knowledge from Bouygues apply in Kuwait?

Facilities management was a new industry in Kuwait. Bouygues brought the systems that can be implemented to enhance the operation and prolong the lifetime of a property. It provided the benchmarking for every sector. For example, hotels calculate their energy consumption for a certain task, and those numbers are calculated against consumption and measured against a benchmark. This helps us identify where utilities are being misused and fix the problem. Clients have recently become more aware of their energy consumption. We have been recording utility consumption for the projects we have been running since 2008. We have historical data that we always provide to our clients, and that helps us better monitor all aspects of the site and offer the best adapted solution.

In a highly price-sensitive market such as Kuwait, how does Ecovert FM differente itself from its competitors?

The market is price driven. Eventually, we are hoping that our extra services will highlight the value of our cost. Our clients benefit from a significant ROI. This has the ability to shift a price-driven market to professional market. Many properties in Kuwait are not being properly maintained, and as a result, the lifespan of those buildings is being reduced. Furthermore, neglecting maintenance over time means more expensive renovations. It is much more cost-effective to properly and constantly maintain a building. We have been able to build long-lasting relationships with our clients. Once they see our added value, they stay with us.

What benefits can your customers enjoy through your fully integrated solutions?

Fully integrated companies like ours can provide an unmatched quality of service and responsiveness in the event of maintenance issues. Our people are trained to detect, assess, and report any issue to the adequate department. We want to ensure the client always receives a five-star service. We allocate 2% of our revenue to training because better training equals to better services.

What are your goals for 2019?

Our main goal is to expand the business. We are opening several new branches, one of which is dedicated to testing and commissioning, a vital component in the maintenance of equipment at the highest level. We will continue to train our staff, and monitor our customer satisfaction. At present, we are running at a level of around 94% customer satisfaction, and our goal is to maintain a level of above 90%. Lastly, we want to increase our net profit.