Face to Face: Evie Boustantzi, HE Khalifa Al Zaffin, Duserve FM

Face to Face: Evie Boustantzi, HE Khalifa Al Zaffin, Duserve FM
HE Eng. Khalifa Al Zaffin, Executive chairman, Dubai Aviation City Corporation and Evie Boustantzi, Chief executive officer, Duserve Facilities Management.
Published: 6 February 2018 - 9:09 a.m.
By: Nikhil Pereira

Al Zaffin adds: “We have a lot of clients here [within Dubai South] and we don’t have exclusivity [for their FM business via Duserve]. That is not fair to the business, and to other businesses around, and ultimately it’s not fair for our clients. We want to be chosen by our clients on merit.

Becoming specialists in aviation FM

Al Zaffin says the focus for Duserve is to excel in providing facilities management in the aviation sector. After all, Dubai South is a major logistics hub which has the Dubai World Central airport located within it.

“Aviation is our core area of focus, and airports will be our major driver,” Al Zaffin says, adding: “And that comes from my background, having maintained airports for a long time before I became the executive chairman of Dubai South. I managed the projects side of airports — the engineering and strategy rather than the building maintenance.

“But I started my career in maintenance, which means I understand the ins and outs of airports — from strategy to design, to execution and eventually maintenance. It’s a large field to be in, and our strategy is to work very closely with Dubai International Airports [which includes both Dubai International and Dubai World Central and other surrounding areas] to win their confidence and do all the FM there, eventually,” he says.

Currently Duserve continues to be the FM service provider of choice for the VIP Terminal at Dubai South’s Aviation District which Boustantzi describes as offering a “seven-star level of service”.

Al Zaffin maintains Duserve’s stance is to not to steal business away from the existing FM operators working in Dubai’s airports. “We are looking at cooperating [with existing FM companies]. I don’t like the idea of competing and taking other people’s business. I think if we work together, the overall picture is big enough for all of us. So, it’s not a threat and everyone plays on level field.

“We are not heavy handed in the way we operate… If our offering is not better financially or from a technical point of view nobody will choose us anyway. We don’t believe ‘the airport is ours and we are winning all its work’. If we don’t win work fair and square it means we are not efficient enough. We would like to take people by the hand and help each other along the way,” he reveals.

In terms of contracts and clients Duserve continues to work with Nakheel to deliver FM services for the Ibn Batuta Mall, soft services for Dragon Mart 1 and Dragon Mart 2, concierge services for the Golden Mile on Palm Jumeirah, Emirates Financial Towers, and security services for the entire portfolio of Aramex’s facilities, Boustantzi shares.

She also says that the company has been growing steadily over the last 18 months, with a positive outlook for 2018. Contract duration is a matter that is resolving itself, Boustantzi says, as more clients are warming up to the idea of longer contracts. “The entire industry is looking forward to that mind-set [of three year to five-year contracts],” she states.

Dubai South is a smart city and technology is a key enabler, which means a new level of technological integration will be on the horizon. She adds: “Duserve has the latest CAFM applications whereby we control all the properties through a central repository, remotely and essentially going for predictive maintenance rather than reactive or preventative maintenance. We have also begun a dedicated FM design consulting arm to address issues from the outset.”

Al Zaffin adds: “We are not interested in just providing bodies to do a job, and in turn our clients engage with us. We want to suggest changing certain installations that might result in power saving, for instance, and have less people doing the work. The ideal scenario is to have all our software and CAFM integrated with theirs [the client’s], taking complete control of their centre of command, looking at it completely from their side.”

He also says that technological implementations are pivotal for an FM company to generate true value for its clients. “Duserve FM has taken giant strides in this direction,” Al Zaffin concludes.

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