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International FM advice with a difference

15 October 2009

Two senior FM sector personalities, Lionel Prodgers and Dave Wilson, have combined forces under the funkily named Agents4FM brand to deliver FM consultancy to common high standards across the world.

Prodgers, creator of Chesterton Workplace Management in the 1990’s has merged his Ark consultancy with former BIFM deputy chair (2007-9), Dave Wilson’s Stratus FM consultancy to form a new force in international facilities management consultancy. Both Prodgers and Wilson have consulted outside the UK and recognise the need for a transfer of skills from mature FM markets such as the UK to less developed areas particularly in Eastern Europe, Middle East, China and the South East Asia. The new venture is based in London and through Agents4FM International has already established Agents4FM Europe and intends to set up similar structures in regions across the world, as well as in individual countries, and even locally where the size of the country and need demands it.
As Prodgers explained, this is not simply a network of small consultants in various countries. “We wanted something more binding.  We will invest in all of the consultancy businesses that will operate under the Agents4FM brand. Currently discussions are underway in USA, Canada, Australia and China, and already established in Qatar in the Middle East.”
He continued: “There will be not only a common brand but also a common best practice and a centre of excellence embedded in Agents4FM International. This has a collaborative network portal, and many processes and systems are centralized to be adopted by any of the consultants. This means that local newly established businesses can be up and running quickly with a package of services and support ready to offer clients.  It is all web enabled - no-one has to buy any software.  We are providing the added intelligence.”
The business model, which Prodgers claims is unique in the sector, utililises local specialists supported by centralized best in class standards and processes to ensure consistency and customer satisfaction. He is currently in discussion with other companies to offer their services to the Agents4FM consultants around the world on matters including recruitment, training, technology, software, etc.
Working in the Middle East in recent years, Prodgers has discovered that not every client is looking to outsource their services as a solution to their FM needs. “They want to do the FM themselves and this solution provides the opportunity for them to do it themselves,” he explained. 
His aim is to enable FM to become even more significant in its contribution to meeting the growing need for sustainable best practice and economic health of commercial enterprises, the public sector and institutions around the world.
“We want the Agents4FM members to take our intelligence and knowledge and apply it in their own business,” he said. “We have an equity stake in their business and in their success. This is a new model in all respects. We want to generate and support particularly younger people in the FM sector to take the initiative. We are looking for young entrepreneurs who have the education and skills to deliver a service backed by the knowledge systems and processes. In this model they are half way there without going though 20 years of experience before they are regarded as an expert. The expertise is all in the organization.”
Prodgers revealed that currently six discussions are on going to establish Agents4FM in several geographical locations, and more enquiries have been received from interested people since the business was launched last month. He and Wilson are also in discussion with partners offering services through the network.
“There are people out there now working for larger organisations but they have the entrepreneurial spirit to do something on their own.  They don’t have to pay for the infrastructure – it is not franchised  - but  it is up to them to decide if they have energy and stamina to build a business, “Prodgers continued. “This is FM in a new style offering strategic advice, and utilising skills, services and systems that clients don’t have. This was the problem in the Middle East where there is a lack of knowledge, skills, capacity and resources. Our offering is to fill that gap. We can place people as interims, or to deliver a process or activity such as procurement that the client does not have the skills for.”
Agents4FM is currently looking for potential Agents4FM around the world. They would have at least 5-10 years experience, be highly qualified in relevant degrees and languages.
The kind of projects undertaken by the Agents4FM consultants could include: Specifying, procuring and implementing contracts for international facilities management and service delivery;  Procuring national facilities management contracts; Improving internal facilities management capability through team building and staff development; Market intelligence and strategic planning; Performance measurement; Contract mobilisation and management; Benchmarking of service quality and costs; interim management of new operations; Analysing new design for usabiity and planning purposes; Negotiating supplier and client relationships.



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