Informing the Right Business Choices
Writer: Emily Jarvis
Project Manager: Stuart Parker
Established in 2000, Afroteq Advisory (Afroteq) quickly grew into the professional consulting and facilities management (FM) environment, developing the technical capabilities and industry expertise to bring value-add, informed decision making to South African businesses.
Commenting on its initial service offering, Andre Michau – one of the founders of Afroteq and currently the Executive Manager – says: “Afroteq specialised in office space planning and design, staff training in facilities management and everything in-between that assists a client with any requirement in the facilities or built environment.”
Michau highlights: “We began to explore ways in which we could extend our offering to become an end-to-end integrated facilities management service provider. For example, if a client is looking to consolidate its operations into one warehouse, often this decision is born and bred from a strategic focus within the organisation itself, but underpinning and informing that decision is a facilities management aspect including cost of the consolidation and how well the facilities support the core function of the business.
“In order for a company, such as a distribution company, to make the decision whether to operate their business from one centralised warehouse or several decentralised ones, they need to understand the full facilities implication of that decision and the cost (both capital and operational) implications thereof. This is where we come in; facilitating informed strategic decisions based on proper short and long-term facility scenarios, we help the client ensure that their decision is the right one for their business.”
Another key consideration is space, which Michau further explains: “When two companies merge, they typically need to make a decision on whether to move into new premises or to stay put. This decision can only be taken if they fully understand their own business strategy and how the strategy relates to space now and into the future. Once the company fully understands this, they will be more able to make an informed decision over their future.”
In order to support a client from a facilities management perspective, Afroteq makes a concerted effort to appreciate the company’s business and its strategic goals and interpret this into a facilities design model which fits the purpose. “And there is no one solution,” he adds. “Clients are always given options that meet their unique requirements.”
Once a client has taken the decision – whether it is to move, to consolidate or to expand, outsource or insource – Afroteq can assist with the implementation of that decision, through unique, personalised and tailored project management execution.
“Ultimately, we try and make sure that we not only implement the right solution for the client, but by unpacking the complexities inherent in any facility and applying skilled people, we ensure that the solution is implemented right. This makes the realisation of benefit and value through project management not only possible, but a reality,” Michau continues.
Arcus Facilities Management Solutions (Pty) Ltd, now trading as the AFMS Group (Pty) Ltd, merged with Afroteq FM Solutions (Pty) Ltd in 2009 which allowed them to consolidate both of their business operations.
Afroteq FM, who also owns the Academy was and remains a strong brand in space design and facilities management consulting. Afroteq Academy is the first FM Academy established in South Africa; something which the brand is very proud of as it demonstrates its longstanding presence as the forerunners in driving FM awareness in its industry. Arcus Facilities Management on the other hand owned the FM Solutions brand. This company had and still continues to dominate in facilities management and technical consulting with a strong footprint in the public sector and among international clients. The acquisition was beneficial for both parties and enhanced the possibilities and deliverables across facilities management.
Afroteq’s main reason for the merger was to develop a solid technical and engineering skillset that was previously lacking within the organisation and in so doing realise a vision to build strong capacity as a proudly South African business. Michau explains: “Prior to 2009, Afroteq’s business focused on soft and technical service management, project management, design and improving management competencies through training clients’ staff alongside its strategic decision-making facilities management capabilities.
“The marriage of the two companies brought together the technical facilities management capabilities of FM Solutions with the management modelling approach of Afroteq. This enabled us to handle facilities management throughout the lifecycle process, along with leveraging the new skills and knowledge base from Arcus Facilities Management.”
In the past six years, Afroteq – as a business unit of Arcus Facilities Management – has grown significantly, gaining traction in the outsourced facilities management sector while focusing on investments internally in order to mobilise these outsourced contracts successfully, and bolster and grow the capacity of its technical advisory team. Today, having made our internal investments and achieved our goals, Afroteq is re-energised and stands stronger and independent as a specialist FM Advisory Company, with an Academy endorsed by the AFMS Group (Pty) Ltd.
“This rebranding is very much representative of our history and the changes we have been through as a Company,” he further details.
AFMS Group (Pty) Ltd is therefore created from the brands’ Afroteq and FM Solutions (Pty) Ltd, but the new trading name can also be derived as the acronym for the previous Arcus Facilities Management Services, a name that is well known in the South African market.
Making the right decisions
Going forward, there are two strategic areas that Afroteq will continue to expand into: strategic facilities advice and support and professional services. In 2010, the newly-merged Company identified an opportunity in the professional services market; a growing area of interest which includes quantity surveying, programme management and the development management.
Given the current global economic climate, all companies are looking for ways to minimise expense while remaining efficient and uncompromising on quality. Despite this, Afroteq is seeing a great need for its advisory and training services which are helping South Africa’s key business decision makers to make the right decisions.
He concludes: “Our main focus has been to change the perception and raise awareness of facilities management, as companies often underestimate this non-core yet strategic element affecting their core business. Many large institutions tend to take decisions based on very high level strategic considerations, and as a result sometimes do not consider the time, cost and people implication of this decision on the facilities environment.
“What we have found is that facilities management is most often the second biggest cost item on any company’s income statement, second only to salaries, which makes it a crucial part of business success to manage well. We want to make sure that we are able to service the market from a facilities management perspective, and also serve and guide those who do not outsource this service. We do this through our Academy, training the relevant staff who manage their facilities and by helping them make the right strategic facilities decisions; this is a specialist consulting service that has proven beneficial for the whole market.
“Afroteq is out there to help consider every aspect of facilities management from the present day right through to the long-term design for a company’s future growth prospects.”