E-Live Webinar Review: Tafawuq’s Andrew Law on how innovation and technology plays a crucial role amid COVID-19
In a recent E-Live webinar hosted by Construction Business News Middle East and in partnership with du, and our knowledge partners Tafawuq Facilities Management, Andrew Law, Technical Services Director at Tafawuq Facilities management, examines how technology and innovation plays a key crucial in keeping occupants and buildings safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Initial steps and measures taken to combat COVID-19
Tafawuq Facilities Management has immediately created a clear response plan as soon as cases of infection have surfaced in the UAE. The directives of the global and local health authorities guided us throughout this process.
The plan is also in line with the actions taken and being implemented by our parent company, Eltizam Asset Management Group.
As part of our initial and proactive steps, we have immediately enforced the government’s precautionary measures across our workplaces and communities under our management.
We have also been consistently raising awareness about COVID-19, particularly emphasizing how staying at home can limit, if not eliminate, the risk of exposure to the coronavirus. Our regular awareness initiatives take place on our official digital channels.
We have been subjecting all Tafawuq’s staff, especially our field workers, to regular briefing sessions to update them about the latest developments and newest government directives. We believe that these sessions are helping them perform their tasks safely and confidently.
Tafawuq has launched new sanitation and disinfection services for homes and communities which use non-toxic disinfectants to clean houses and public areas. It has natural and organic chemicals that ensure the health and safety of people and pets alike.
Transparency is also part of our response plan. We regularly inform customers and suppliers about our COVID-19-related guidelines to ensure smooth and safe transactions between us.
Technology, Innovation, and R&D
Technology has played a critical role in ensuring all buildings and occupants are safe even before the pandemic. This role has only been further amplified during the global crisis.
Amid COVID-19, FM companies have been utilizing various technologies to provide uninterrupted services and maintain business continuity.
For instance, at Tafawuq, we have deployed a five-year technology roadmap, which has already brought multiple benefits to the company, especially during this pandemic.
One example of our technology is Tafawuq GO, a maintenance mobility solution. This tool allows our technicians to receive, carry out, and close work orders digitally without face-to-face interaction with other staff. Further, it was developed to reduce the organization’s carbon footprint. Through Tafawuq GO, we now sparingly use our printers, scanners, and other devices.
Another is the next-generation SAP4 HANA enterprise resource planning (ERP) system used for remote approval of transactions. The real-time approvals can also be done using our mobile devices. The ERP system has reduced the need for printing and transporting documents that require a signature.
NESTROM, an online management system for quality, health, safety, and environment (QHSE) inspections, has paved the way for paperless and contactless work within our company as well. Its e-banking integration facilitates payments through bank transfers.
Tafawuq also takes great pride in QuickPay, which enables our customers to complete payment transactions for home maintenance and cleaning services using their digital devices.
By the end of 2020, we are also set to launch a new service enabled by the Internet of Things (IoT). Through this upcoming connected building project, Tafawuq is set to pave the way for a new era in FM in the UAE and the region.
FM companies are crucial to ensuring a safe environment for all building occupants during these unprecedented times. Building a safe environment is not just being compliant with the existing regulations but also conforming to proven sustainable practices.
We need to enact policies that will sustain the implementation of sustainable FM practices, which mainly focus on reducing the environmental impact of facilities and buildings.
At Tafawuq, sustainable operations are part of our 5-year strategic plan. Under this strategy, we continuously monitor our operations to identify where our work negatively impacts the environment and find the most appropriate and practical solutions.
In line with this, we have implemented an Integrated Management System, which comprises ISO 9001 Quality Management System; ISO 14001 Environmental Management System; and OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health and Safety Management System.
Challenges faced from FM Workers
As front liners, FM workers are at a higher risk of being exposed to the virus. This is why key measures have been put in place to ensure their health and well-being while doing their job. Challenges include the risk of virus exposure, contamination, and safety protocol breaches.
To address these challenges, Tafawuq’s employees regularly undergo proper training and briefing sessions. Our main objectives are to raise their awareness and enhance their skills in line with company and government rules and regulations.
We have also enhanced our usual training curriculum to align it with the standards set by the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc), in addition to increasing the frequency of deep-cleaning of high-traffic touch areas such as door handles, handrails, elevator buttons, and taps.
In coordination with the Dubai Health Authority and Dubai Municipality, we are continuously reviewing, updating, and improving our methodologies to prevent cross-contamination and the spread of infection. We only use products that have been approved by the local authorities.