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THE future is bright for cleaning company Primech Services & Engineering as demand grows in Singapore for high quality commercial and residential building maintenance services. Incorporated in May 1998, Primech is now a brand name in the cleaning sector. It specialises in the cleaning of airport terminals, schools, commercial buildings such as shopping complexes and offices, and residential properties.
The company has come so far because of the determination of its leaders and staff, said Primech's chief executive officer Sng Yew Jin and chief operating officer Vernon Kwek in a written reply to queries from BT.
"It takes years of foundation building and perseverance for a company to be successful. But beyond diligence, the company's success is attributed to putting our customers first, employees second and stakeholders third," the company said.
The firm's core services include housekeeping and stewarding of hotels and restaurants, town council conservancy and external facade cleaning of commercial and residential properties. Some of its well-known clients include the Biopolis, Holland-Bukit-Panjang Town Council, Temasek Polytechnic and the People's Association.
The Changi Airport Group also has been Primech's long-time client, having awarded it contracts for Changi Airport Terminal 2 since 1999. In the middle of last year (2015), Primech entered the private residential sector with notable results.
"We bagged an impressive result of 20 condominium contracts in six months," the company said. Its condominium clients include the Caspian, Waterfront Isle and the Cape. The homegrown cleaning company has also achieved a memorable milestone by becoming a leading housekeeping and stewarding services provider in the hotel and food and beverage sectors.
It offers housekeeping services to hotels such as Shangri-La Singapore, Resorts World Singapore, and Fairmont Singapore. Primech's stewarding and night kitchen cleaning clients include McDonald's, Chili's and the Singapore Swimming Club.
With its track record, the firm has won numerous accolades for its drive to achieve service excellence. It received the Clean Silver Mark Award for cleaning in public areas, commercial premises and the food and beverage establishment sector. The award, handed out by the National Environment Agency, recognises companies that deliver high standards of cleaning through the training of workers, use of equipment to improve work processes, and fair employment practices.
Building on its sterling track record, Primech has been able to grow its customer base and achieve robust growth over the years. From 2009 to 2015, its revenue jumped 87 fold. It has also projected growth of 36 per cent for the financial year of 2016. In line with its growth in revenue, staff strength has also increased 400 per cent from 2012 to 2015 and the company expects staff numbers to grow by 25 per cent this year. It won the Profit Growth Excellence Award in the SME 1000 services category.
The company is looking to diversify its services. Primech has set its sights on strengthening its newly established division which offers catering services in the private residential sector. It also plans to offer workforce management software as part of its services to clients.
The firm is also looking to expand overseas.
"On a global scale, we want to explore opportunities in the Middle East by building a strategic partner network in Abu Dhabi," the company said.
However, like other Singapore companies, the on-going labour crunch is posing a challenge to Primech's growth plans. "We are certainly feeling the pinch of a labour crunch and the rising costs of lodging and levy. We have embarked on the use of autonomous and robotic cleaning machines and performance-based contracts to tackle such challenges."
The company noted that it is especially important for the labour-intensive cleaning industry to boost productivity through innovation. "Primech innovates through the adoption of robotics and facilities management software for inspection. We allocate approximately 3 per cent of our revenue for the R&D of technology."
For example, Primech uses an automatic robot scrubber called the EcoBot Clean which can be operated manually by a driver or without a driver because it works on a sensor-based detection system. Its memory space can store up to 500 routes and has an intuitive LCD touch screen which can be easily operated by workers of all skill levels. The self-charging machine also has a 360-degree coverage camera with playback functionality for surveillance requirements and a dual advanced filtration and recycling system.
Besides its emphasis on productivity, Primech also ensures that its cleaning methods are sustainable and environmentally friendly. "We are on a constant lookout for revolutionary technology and cleaning methods that provide cost effectiveness as well as minimises negative effects on our environment," the firm said.
Primech uses Green Seal cleaning products which meets health and environmental requirements such as no acute toxicity and is packaged in recyclable materials. The Green Seal products used by the company includes the Glance NA glass and multi-purpose cleaner, the Stride Citrus neutral cleaner and the Crew bathroom cleaner and scale remover.
The company has invested in a QFM dispensing system which is suitable for filling detergent bottles, buckets and sinks. It minimises waste by ensuring that accurate amounts of water and cleaning products are dispensed. Primech believes that its efforts in improving its services with investments in technology and innovation will keep its future bright.
"In tandem with Singapore's new vision of a Smart Nation, we aim to embrace challenges in this industry through the adoption of technology."