Australian Financial Review - feature blog

MEDIA RELEASE — 12.06.19

Shared from the Wed 12 Jun, 2019 – Financial Review Digital Edition

Cleaning up in a competitive market

Competitive Market

Key contract wins have helped drive Facilities First annual revenues beyond $240 million.

It is not every industry that gets to celebrate its own special day internationally, but the facility services management industry does so every May with World FM Day.

According to the Melbourne-based Global Facility Services Management Association, or Global FM, a worldwide federation of facility services management associations, facility services management is a $1.65 trillion global industry with 65,000 professional and industry participants.

World FM Day was initiated in 2010 to “raise the profile of facilities managers and highlight their important work in ensuring the health, safety, productivity and wellbeing of everyone who utilises the built environment”.

Ben Bayot, pictured below, a 20-year industry veteran, has seen facility services management mature as a management profession and service providers move from a transactional business model to one that mirrors the ethos, disciplines and values of their corporate and public sector clients.

For the past six years Bayot has been CEO of Sydney-based Facilities First, one of Australia’s fastest-growing cleaning and maintenance services companies.

Facilities First specialises in both cleaning and asset maintenance services and Bayot believes the company has benefited from its integrated service model, world’s best practice operational systems and a strong focus on “service excellence, versatility and positive customer outcomes”.

In his time as CEO, annual revenues have surged from $70 million to $240 million, which he attributes to major contract wins in key markets.

“Our roots began 25 years ago providing cleaning services to small hospitality venues in the heart of Sydney,” Bayot says. “Today, we deliver services to over 2400 sites and employ 2500 staff nationally.”

Clients span the government, hospitality, education, healthcare, corporate and entertainment sectors.

In recent years, Facilities First has been steadily boosting its capabilities and market size with strategic acquisitions, including an acquisition in 2016 that included a whole-ofgovernment asset maintenance contract covering 276 schools, 33 fire stations and 14 ambulance stations in south-western Sydney. Facilities First subsequently retendered for the NSW government contract which was renewed.

In February, Facilities First acquired Nationwide Health and Aged Care Services from Multiple Sclerosis Services. Nationwide Health and Aged Care Services provides cleaning and laundry services to 120 aged-care homes and hospitals.

A key turning point in the growth of Facilities First – previously known as TJS Services Group – was when it was acquired by Sydney private equity firm Anchorage Capital Partners in 2017. As part of the refresh that followed, TJS became Facilities First, “reflecting our strong capability as an integrated services provider and representing our commitment to putting the needs of our clients and their facilities first”, Bayot explains. This confidence has proven well founded with the company experiencing significant growth in the past year. Major clients to recently come on board include IKEA stores Australia-wide and the Bankwest and ANZ stadiums in Sydney. In December, Facilities First was awarded a NSW government whole-of-government cleaning contract for the northern Sydney region. The contract covers 173 school sites and 120 government agency sites. The new contract – one of nine awarded by the NSW government for cleaning services to 4200 sites across the state, including schools, TAFE campuses and ambulance, police and fire stations – will double Facilities First’s footprint in the northern Sydney region. The company already held the whole-ofgovernment asset maintenance contract for the region. Facilities First has the distinction of being the only contractor to hold both the cleaning and asset maintenance whole-of-government contracts in northern Sydney.

The round of contracts sets new social procurement benchmarks to encourage greater participation from Aboriginal and disability employment enterprises and more direct employment opportunities for Indigenous workers and people with a disability.

Being a “community-driven organisation” is a cornerstone value for Facilities First. The company supports several causes and community activities including the Kids’ Cancer Project, and sponsoring initiatives such as the “Write a book in a day” program in hundreds of primary schools.

“Facilities First is committed to giving back to the communities in which we operate,” Bayot says. “We are passionate about partnering with local business and community groups to support initiatives that promote health and wellbeing, including social and emotional wellbeing.”

Bayot says Facilities First is proud to be a tierone facility services management company, a status he says was confirmed when it became a whole-of government provider to the NSW government.

“Facility services management is an extremely competitive industry and it’s hard to break into that top tier, but we have and we are very proud of that,” he says. “We are proud to operate in multiple markets with long-term contracts and true partnerships with blue-chip clients in each of those markets.

“We are dedicated to providing the highest quality of services and ensuring job satisfaction to our employees with a loyal client base and an internal structure centred on strength, diversity, purpose, relationships and making a difference.”

“Facility services management is an extremely competitive industry and it’s hard to break into that top tier, but we have and we are very proud of that.”

Ben Bayot, Facilities First

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