“The SARS-Cov-2 pandemic brings unique challenges, but also opens opportunities to validate the importance of property and facility managers on the Romanian market” – Daniel State, Managing Partner, Rustler Romania.
What type of adaptive measures the company / your project(s) needed?
Rustler in Romania provides property and facility management services on various business sectors: industrial & logistic parks, private healthcare, office buildings and shopping centers – national wide.
When the state of emergency was declared – mid of March, business were affected dramatically by the lockdown and for us, the travel restrictions were the first logistical challenges in providing the necessary services. Furthermore, we had to adapt and implement quickly and efficiently “work from home” solutions for our employees, in order to be able to ensure continuity, in a business where very specific skill sets are necessary in-situ. During this period, our internal reporting and controlling procedures proved their important role in performing our day-to-day activity, in a new, unchartered environment.
Among the first measures implemented at organizational level, were those necessary for our employee’s safety, then – business continuity. Worth mentioning the processes of own staff and subcontractor’s training processes in how to plan and perform, keep the buildings operational throughout the affected period when no/little activity was in the premises and to be prepared in constant alert for any unpredictable eventual incident. Regarding our projects and clients, as their activity was restructured, in some of the cases it was necessary for us to reallocate resources on operational levels.
As property and facility managers, in Rustler we consider that optimizing running costs is a mandatory key aspect on a daily basis. Furthermore, in a crisis generated by a global pandemic, when in general business environment became unstable, the pressure to minimize running costs and at the same time comply with all legal and technical regulations/requirements turns out to be more challenging. During this period of time, we understood that it is vital to adapt our way of working, in order to efficiently maintain unoccupied buildings. With attention on the emergency systems, actively monitoring and operating the collateral support technical systems and equipment, we focused on real energy efficiency in unoccupied / underutilized spaces, as a coordinated effort to reduce the utilities and operational costs. In the meantime, we still had to ensure that the occupied and operational spaces are supplied with all necessary services and comfort, without altering agreed service levels.
What were the lessons of this period?
The most important lesson we’ve learned, both as individuals and as company as well, was our power to adapt to the “new”. Personally, I was pleasantly surprised of the real pro-activity and endurance of the colleagues on the operational levels, both in property management as in facility management departments, demonstrating the spirit of our company.
What is the status of your current project(s) and investments planned for 2020-2021?
As in Romania the SARS-Cov-2 outbreak has drastically altered the use of the built, as most of the office workers had to perform remotely in “work from home” system, shopping centers, medical facilities and hotels were closed, we consider that, at this point, the real-estate environment is in a process to adapt to the current situation; we all witnessed a moment of forced digitalization in many fields. There are still unknown reactions to this economic disruption, therefore we are focusing to adapt our procedures, protocols and plans, including finding new technologies. Nevertheless, the properties we manage are and will be on a constant change, and given the specifics of our property and facility management activity, the main investment shall be in people along with updates on technology that can serve for a better and more efficient operation of the buildings Rustler manages. Based on our clients and tenants specific needs, we take pride in our capacity to quickly adapt!
Which are the advantages of your business and products, going forward?
The SARS-Cov-2 pandemic brings unique challenges, but also opens opportunities to validate the importance of property and facility managers on the Romanian market, as they represent an important and necessary support service in all areas of real-estate.
Since it started operating in Romania, Rustler developed and trained own specialized in-house teams and employees with specific expertise, being able to comply autonomously with the strict local legal norms in life safety systems and very specific technical requirements.
We in Rustler, understand that the power of in-house specialized knowledge represents a vital skill set, providing us the advantage of going forward even in crisis such as the current pandemic. These days, the knowledge of our property managers in coordinating and managing assets in optimal and most profitable ways, represents both advantages and challenges, in the same time. However, these challenges force us to adapt, adopt and change our perspective. Meanwhile, through permanent collaboration with our clients, we created and implemented a new culture of health and safety standards in the buildings we manage and our goal is to upgrade these standards constantly, via our guidelines and regulations.
As a fact, all the above represent an advantage for Rustler’s ongoing and future partnerships, by assuring the proven business continuity.
What are your expectations from the public sector, state projects to support future business?
Referring to the public sector, adapting and applying the laws enforce to the current situation and keeping their activity (public sector) transparent as we (private sector) do, should suffice for companies to perform and further contribute to community, businesses and overall well-being of the society. Opening to dialog and constant communication for mutual benefit and digitalization of processes in order to ease processes and eliminate bureaucracy is still crucial.
What transformations you expect in your sector, their effects for the Romanian economy and in a regional perspective?
Post-pandemic, we expect a raising of the awareness regarding the importance of developing coherent H&S strategies. Some companies will need to adjust their strategy, organizational capabilities, and culture. It might be expected that landlords will strive to reduce the costs which, in some of the cases, already are under priced, therefore implementing and maintaining a more restrictive set of health and safety regulations under the cost pressure will become the biggest challenge for the facility management sector.
New technologies such as robotic assistance, IoT, etc., may be required to be implemented. As consequences, the supply chains can be reviewed due to deeper process of value engineering by aligning them, to the new requirements of
the landlords. It is important to understand that these upgrades are coming with the corresponding price tag.
In the services providing sector, the most important cost is the cost related to employees. Artificially imposed/requested and irresponsible operational expenses costs reduction in our segment has two immediate effects: a social one and technical/economic impact.
As our businesses relate to our specialized personnel, and we are trading professional know-how on all our operational levels, the first direct impact is in the personnel costs, which creates a social effect.
On the other hand, the negative impact on the buildings systems which will appear in time due to improper or lack of maintenance, will be noticeable in functionality and its running costs, capital expenditures value and even in legal implications, in case of severe damages.
An article published in the exclusive supplement – “Market pulse report, Romania – The new normal” | June 2020
A property market tour, including major cities, with projects status and updated opportunities at the end of the lockdown in Romania – June 2020. | Essential news with the current status of further investments, clients and partners relations, new priorities for the post crisis cycle. | B2B communication report – to help you mark your statements during the changes period.
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