As featured in Tomorrow’s FM: 10 Questions with…(Phil Bryant , Strategic Accounts Manager at Amthal Fire & Security)
1. What was your first job?
My first ever job was in Burton Menswear as a sales assistant. Have to admit it wasn’t my dream job as a 16 year old. Although the staff discount did mean that me and my friends where dressed well, even when we were all getting turned away from the local pubs!
2. How did you get into the facilities management industry?
Working in service contract sales for Amthal, I received an opportunity to work with a large block management company, supporting their complete fire and security portfolio. Five years later, this ongoing partnership alongside others with leading sector specialists has changed my company focus to heading up a dedicated ‘Block and Facilities Management’ team. We now manage and maintain fire and security requirements on a portfolio of over 1,000 blocks.
3. How do you challenge the status quo?
From a fire and security perspective, I think as a contractor we are at an advantage of seeing the FM sector from the ‘outside inwards.’ We are a very service focused company and believe in the power of relationships and use dedicated account managers and regular service review meetings to ensure we are supporting our clients on a one-to-one basis. I think personally, this has been key to our success.
4. Since you started in FM what has been the biggest change the industry has seen/you have observed?
Personally, it’s been ensuring we stay up to date with the changing regulations within our industry. In 2010 the tragic deaths of two young children in separate incidents, less than a week apart highlighted safety shortcomings with gate automation systems in the UK.
Managing agents and their contractors have a duty of care to ensure every child and person’s protection, we must aim to meet and exceed today’s changing regulations.
Also, from a fire perspective we are still very much coming to terms with the after effects of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. We are still in the realms of understanding the key recommendations and requirements of enquiries such as the Hackitt Review and its implications and realities involved for high rise and multiple occupancy buildings. Here, the next few years will be critical.
5. Who, in any other industry, do you most admire?
Jordan Peterson, as a clinical psychologist and philosopher, the author of ‘12 Rules for Life’, which is a best seller all around the world. His videos and interviews almost always go viral online. His style of debating and outspoken views on the role of men and women in society has sparked huge debate, but it’s his ability to captivate an audience that keeps me intrigued and inspired.
6. What is your favourite film?
American Sniper or Unbroken – for me personally great films that make you realise how easy most of us really do have it.
7. If you could host a dinner party with three guests, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
Rob Beckett, Adele and Manu Tuiagi, from the worlds of comedy, music and rugby, as these are my interests outside of work. Each at the top of their game, apparently like a drink and I imagine not short of a story or two!
8. Any advice to someone just starting out in the industry?
Take the time out to understand the industry and the technology you are presenting, especially when it comes to dedicated service contracts. My early years in sales and eleven years as an engineer have proven essential to deliver both a personal service level and technical understanding. These have helped me to build the partnerships I have achieved and still maintain to this day.
9. What do you think is the future of the FM industry?
I believe it’s the style of working with customers. Amthal and my own personal preference is to work on long term, true partnerships with the FM community. Our aim is to grow with clients and become the first port of call to organise all fire and security services for individual portfolios. With many of our customers, we offer them support with all areas of operation, from planning of new sites, asset reports for takeovers of existing, through to scheduled service and support packages for multisite developments. We aim to be seen as a total fire and security solutions provider, and believe this is the future of the market requirements.
10. Steve McGregor, Group MD at DMA Group asks: Which area of FM do you think could be best transformed through technology?
I think it is the rise in popularity of compliance and reporting software, the relationship between Contractors and Facility Managers is being transformed through technology. By integrating with these systems and having direct administration of our service reports, it allows the contractor to take responsibility for their portfolio.
By filing up to date reports and raising our own remedial actions on the client’s system, the customer is aware at a glance of any new or outstanding compliance issues and doesn’t have to search through and understand pages of engineer reports and job sheets. By proactively managing this information, the technology allows us offer advice to building, estate, facility and security managers to enhance our partnership for the benefit of all who work, serve and visit their site.