OMAN - Real Estate & Construction
CEO, Oman International Group SAOC
Tim Vallancey graduated from University West of England in math, statistics, business studies, and computing. He joined OIG as deputy general manager in 2008 and was appointed CEO in 2013. He was previously managing director for a training and management consultancy start-up in Oman. Earlier, he had set up a computer training franchise company that he later sold after 12 years. He was also previously a software designer with Ericsson AB in Stockholm.
In principle, there have recently been a number of positive changes implemented by the government to help businesses. The increased interaction between ministries and the private sector will help enormously and their willingness to
listen and act where appropriate to assist is encouraging. The recent change in the Omani minimum wage is also a positive step which will enable businesses to hire more Omanis for the available jobs. We still however need more flexibility to hire
experienced non-Omanis for specific roles and enable skill transfer.
In order to differentiate ourselves, we need to think differently and apply a paradigm shift. We are already perceived as a high-quality service provider, and we need to go even further by differentiating the way that we operate as compared to our competitors. We need to be perceived as the facilities management experts, and customers should be asking us how best to provide a service based on the required end result. We see ourselves as the facilities management doctors; clients should approach us for a diagnosis based on their symptoms. If we can gain the confidence of our customers to rely on us to provide the best value service that addresses their business needs, then we would more than likely be able to provide a better value service.
Apart from the obvious use of email and so on, we also have an ERP system with a computer-aided facility management (CAFM) system. The functions that this system presents are amazing in terms of GPS localizing of services required and planned preventive maintenance together with quotes for cleaning buildings based on uploading a CAD/CAM drawing. Oman is probably not quite ready for the full functionality at this time, though the system enables us to operate more efficiently. When we can convince the customers that we should be proposing the solutions rather than them specifying the solutions for us, this system will provide an amazing experience for customers. It is in a way getting the customers to work with us to help them improve the efficient running of their buildings and assets to reduce the costs. In terms of robotics, there is still a long way to go before we see these systems taking over. There are systems available; however, they are still in the infancy stage, and we will see them appear in a few years’ time.
There are some significant opportunities for the sector, though these come with caveats. I see the market moving extremely slowly because of the cultural aspect; however, the market has to move on the basis of the pressure on margins and budgets. If we can convince the clients to let us specify the way the services are delivered i.e. use us as consultants, and we have the ability and will from Omanis to work as a temporary or part time workforce then there are many opportunities for growth.
Our main objectives for the next 12 months in no particular order are to maintain and further our relationships with the Ministry of Labor so that we can increase the number and quality of Omanis that we recruit into our business. We also need to continue to focus on innovative ways to convince our customers to use us as facilities management consultants and for us to continue to remain the preferred quality provider of facilities management services in Oman.
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