The first week of April also raises issues of paying the security people at far flung places in currency and even relieving the the more taxed ones of duty.
Manpower and facility management (FM) firm Tenon has invested Rs 40 crore in the last 60 days to keep itself ready to fight coronavirus pandemic as the county has witnessed a sudden spike in the demand for safety and sanitisation.
The Rs 1,800-crore Tenon Group, which has honed the skill while dealing with covid-19 crisis in the UK, will jack up its FM gear 40% and start its recruitment drive from this week.
The company’s security manpower arm Peregrine Guarding has already added 20,000 security guards to its 79,000-strong muster in its 70-odd offices across the country. The first week of April also raises issues of paying the security people at far flung places in currency and even relieving the the more taxed ones of duty.
“After the manpower management experience in our UK and Singapore offices, we had made detailed hiring preparations in India two months ago, keeping even 20,000 uniforms ready. Most banks have sought 100% increase in security guards. Despite the homework, my security manpower resources are currently stressed to the limit, with about 15% over deployment,” said Manjit Rajain, founder and executive chairman of the New Delhi-based firm.
“Though hiring is nearly impossible in the lockdown situation, we have found a way out. We are dipping into our pool of retired security guards to re-hire them, giving them transportation to their work locations. We’ll be able to add 10,000 people soon,” Rajain told FE.
Besides Peregrine Guarding, the group has focus on its deep sanitation business. FM accounts for 40% of the group’s turnover. In UK, Tenon FM is the third largest employer among Indian companies, with a 4,700-strong muster. In India, it is one of the top players in the FM vertical, with over 50 facilities like Marriott Hotels, Deutsche Bank and Edelweiss, as clients.
“It’s a pity that the Centre and state governments are yet to realise that it is FM, especially disinfection and sanitisation, that needs to be categorised as essential services first, during a pandemic.” he said.
Tenor FM has, in the last two months, undertaken sanitising 6 to 8 million sq ft in India. The firm had quickly gathered lessons in specialised industrial cleaning from UK’s ongoing covid-19 crisis, learning what kinds of face masks and bodysuits the hospital cleaning staff would need and also new materials and processes in fumigation and sanitisation. “In deep sanitisation, we even use chemicals costing Rs 2,000 per litre,” Rajain said.
A 10-seater van, carrying sanitation gear and six skilled personnel, constitute the basic FM action unit. It costs Rs 1 crore to put an FM van on the road. Tenon Group, which has 14 FM vans, is readying to upscale it to 20 in a fortnight.
Apart from manpower security, Tenon has received a spike in demand for remote monitoring and surveillance through its soterial command centre. “Although it is only 4 to 5% of our total business, the profit to turnover ratio is high. And the segment is growing by about 300% per year,” Tenor chief said.
Soteria, which runs plying data analytics, keeps an eagle eye on several thousands of bank branches and fuel company outposts, without any human security person. It has two command centres in Gurgaon and in Karnataka, with about 18 people at each centre. “The nation-wide lockdown has kept my boys and girls manning the command centres, staying round the clock at their office,” he said. “The pandemic leaves its footprint on remote monitoring business too.”