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Experts seek increased investment in technology, capacity building

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Experts in real estate and facilities management industry have argued that increased investment in technology and improved focus on capacity-building will be key drivers of growth and sustainability beyond the pandemic.

These were the submissions of industry leaders and stakeholders, who led discussions at the Nigeria Facilities Management (FM) Roundtable.

The Nigerian FM Roundtable, is a yearly leadership, business-to-business and policy roundtable, sponsored by Alpha Mead Facilities, the FM subsidiary of Alpha Mead Group, in commemoration of the World FM Day.

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“This ninth edition of the event seeks to draw from experiences, strategies and responses of market leaders in addressing challenges and opportunities that came with the pandemic,” said Olusesan Ogunyooye,” Head of Marketing and Corporate Communications, Alpha Mead Group.

Speaking at the opening of the event, which was themed “Africa’s FM and Real Estate beyond the Pandemic: New Realities. New Strategies.” Group Executive Director, Corporate Service of Alpha Mead, Wale Odufalu, said: ”As businesses begin to open globally, it is now time to move from survival mode and grow the economy to the path of prosperity.

“As an organisation that cares about the industry, we understand that real estate and FM will play key roles in this return to normalcy and it behoves on us to use platforms to set an agenda for repositioning Africa as the global investment destination post-pandemic.”

In his presentation, Group Managing Director, Alpha Mead, Femi Akintunde, detailed the journey of the company during the outbreak of the pandemic, noting that a combination of a new approach to people, culture, products and services as well as technologies and systems are recipes to drive organisations in Africa from stability to growth.

He said: “We knew that we needed sufficient capacity to stay afloat and become more efficient in what we do. We knew that we have enormous responsibilities to our employees, customers, shareholders, regulators, financial advisers, and a host of other stakeholders; so, we developed frameworks, systems, products and technologies that helped us respond appropriately to the different interests of these stakeholders.”

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Another speaker, Mark Norris, who is a Director at Asset Reliability Consultant Limited UK, noted that building risk-based capacity and adopting technological approaches to facilities and asset management is the path of growth for the real estate sector in Africa.

Norris, who made a presentation on “Risk-Based Asset and Facilities Management in the Era of Volatility Uncertainty Complexities Ambiguity (VUCA),” explained that his recommended optimising investment, balancing cost, risk and performance amid the pervasive cash crunch occasioned by the pandemic.

He explained; “In the current era of VUCA, the pandemic has helped us focus on what is truly important to businesses. We looked at what business processes are essential and which of the facilities/departments are most important to our business processes. Then we can look at the systems within those facilities and the assets within those systems.”

Speaking on the impact of the pandemic on the Real Estate supply chain in Africa, Managing Director, Alpha Mead Facilities,Wole Olufore, said for businesses that run across border operations, the period proved the value of systems and technology.

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