AFES has always emphasised sustainability in its businesses like waste treatment, energy saving and rainwater harvesting AFES prime to undertake bigger projects
by HARIZAH KAMEL
ALAM Flora Environmental Solutions Sdn Bhd (AFES) is primed to increase its involvement in the country’s agenda towards sustainability through its Asset Facility Management (AFM) business.
AFM is one of the company’s core business activities, consisting of hard services — namely mechanical and electrical, as well as civil and structural — and soft services, including housekeeping, landscape, pest control and security.
In a nutshell, AFM offers effective management of the system processes and practices of all technical, mechanical, electrical, civil, structural and architectural engineering facilities within the premises.
Chief Operating Officer Nazar Abdul Raof (picture) told The Malaysian Reserve in an interview recently that AFES has always emphasised the sustainability factor in its businesses like waste treatment, energy saving and rainwater harvesting.
“We want to be different in the industry with several sustainability solutions which we deem as our way forward.
“In Malaysia, projects either fall under government or the private sector. Most of the big companies are working with the government, but we start with the private sector in the open market where the expectation is different.
“Now, we are ready to participate in big government projects. We believe our experience of working in the private sector will give us an advantage,” he said.
Under AFM, AFES is capable of offering holistic environmental solutions when managing a building including infrastructure cleansing and waste solutions, waste management facilities and electronic waste.
To elevate itself as a world-class service provider, AFES has developed various technological advancements such as the centralised monitoring system (CEMOS) to monitor people, process and machine which has advanced real-time monitoring system from the command centre.
CEMOS can also be linked to a computerised maintenance management system (CMMS) and every work order can be accessed via mobile which is highly convenient.
AFES is in the process of providing condition building maintenance (CBM), which is a maintenance strategy that monitors the actual condition of an asset to decide what maintenance needs to be done.
CBM dictates that maintenance should only be performed when certain indicators show signs of decreasing performance or upcoming failure.
A distinct aspect of AFM is that AFES provides systematic self-finding activities for all trades in a day-to-day operation to tackle any issue before it comes to clients, indirectly reducing the number of complaints from clients.
AFES has a highly competent technical team that can do in-house repairing works and reduce outsourcing costs to be paid by the client.
Nazar said AFES aspires for long-term partners with a sustainability mindset in their strategy.
If a client does not have sustainability on their mind, this is when AFES steps in to educate and try to create awareness about sustainability and its long-term impact.
“Sustainability is about the long term.
“Buildings generate two things, energy and waste. AFES comes into play to educate businesses on recycling activities and prevent the building from producing more waste going to the landfills,” he said.
Most companies only focus on building maintenance and hard services, disregarding what happens at the back-end, Nazar added.
AFES also wants to focus on the design stage of the building and have a hand in helping companies choose sustainable materials, for example in lighting or flooring.
Nazar said cost is a factor, and although some companies opt for low priced materials, problems are bound to happen in the long run and the cost to fix it would be just as high as buying sustainable materials that would last longer.
Putting Business in the Right Direction
Nazar noted that the market size of AFM is very big.
AFES strives to incorporate modern systems like the Internet of Things in its services, which is why the company has invested RM1.5 million to develop the CMMS and CEMOS.
In order for sustainable solutions to take off, Nazar believes that open tender is not a good resolution for companies, mainly because the requirements are already set and there is competition in terms of price.
He regarded having a discussion to offer other solutions as necessary.
“When it comes to sustainability, creativity is needed to come up with more solutions for companies.
“If a company wants to engage us, we need to discuss with them the strategy and the way forward of doing business together.
“Companies can customise what services they need from us. We have the expertise, capability and financial strength to make buildings better towards a green building,” he said.
Facilities Managed by AFES
To date, AFES has managed 26 sites including cleaning services.
Currently, it manages the Maybank Group (Malayan Banking Bhd) Customer Care building, which is around 264,049.70 sq ft located in Bukit Jelutong, Shah Alam, for 24 hours daily since 2019.
There, its facilities provide facilities engineering maintenance which include hard services and soft services, plus the CMMS monitoring system.
Notably, the sustainability initiatives that AFES has done at Maybank Group Customer Care building are re-lamping faulty fluorescent tubes to LED tubes at all areas and de-lamping, which is removing unnecessary light bulbs in areas that are producing greater than needed illumination.
Other initiatives worth mentioning are maintaining room temperature at 24°C, reducing the electrical consumption of air conditioning units and providing stickers for efficient use of water and electricity.
Another facility is the Immigration, Customs, Quarantine and Security (ICQS) building with an area of around 2.9 million sq ft located in Bukit Kayu Hitam, Kedah, since 2017.
AFES provides comprehensive AFM which includes facilities engineering maintenance, technology-driven system and environmental sustainability initiatives.
Due to the pandemic, AFES only manages the premises for 12 hours from 24 hours previously.
Tapping Opportunities Amid Covid-19
When asked when business will be back as usual, Nazar imparted that AFES will not fall into the denial trap and the company is not waiting for the pandemic to settle.
“We accept the fact that the pandemic is here and will take a longer time to end. For us, every problem has an opportunity.
“With the great support from our top management, we have enough flexibility to adapt to the pandemic.
“Cleaning and waste are our business, so we will invest more in technology. We want to make sure our face-to-face interaction with clients and people are minimised, but at the same time, we want to increase our quality and productivity by using the technology,” he said.
He shared that moving forward, the company’s plan is to do business at an optimum level with its sanitisation team, technology and autonomous machinery for customers.
Nazar is open to the idea of AFES supporting the government’s vaccines initiative by means of being involved with the cleaning of vaccination centres and Covid-19 detention centres.
“Our company is ready for any situation and we are also ready to tap into any opportunities, such as working with the Health Ministry and the National Security Council.
“We want to work with them in terms of assisting in cleanliness and also to speed up the vaccination rollout,” he concluded.