ISS provides Facility Management for over 200,000 sites around the world. Each site has its own unique set-up challenges and needs. To make sites run efficiently requires a team of dedicated, proactive professionals. The Key Account Manager is the person who heads up these teams.
Key Account Managers are the go-to contacts for our most important customers. They are responsible for forging strong partnerships with these companies. Working closely with our customers on a daily basis, anticipating needs before they arise, they ensure that each site runs like a well-oiled machine.
What’s it like to be a Key Account Manager for one of the world’s leading industrial technology company providing power and propulsion solutions for civil aerospace, defence and power systems sectors? To find out, we sat down with Tim Chow, Key Account Manager at ISS, who handles the Rolls-Royce account in Singapore.
Q: How did you come to work as a Key Account Manager for Rolls-Royce?
Tim: When ISS took over facility management for Rolls-Royce in Singapore in 2016, I was working as a Facility Manager. I handled mechanical engineering for one building. The Key Account Manager role was the natural next step in my career path. I got the opportunity to shadow my manager and learn a lot about what the Key Account Manager role involved. Then, when my manager got a new position in 2018, I took over the role.
Q: What’s involved in being a Key Account Manager? Was it a big change from your role as Facility Manager?
Tim: Well, I went from being responsible for one building to three, which was quite a change. Before, I only had to focus on mechanical engineering. But as a Key Account Manager, I am responsible for the full range of facility management services, which is about more than just managing food, cleaning, waste, security, space, assets and budgets. It also involves project management, strategic planning, promoting sustainability efforts, enforcing building codes, employing safety measures and so much more.
Account management is about ensuring that everything runs like clockwork. However, not many people recognise the effort that goes in to achieving that. So part of my role is also to draw attention to all of the great work our people are doing behind-the-scenes.
Q: That sounds like a big job. What is your typical day like?
Tim: It’s a 24/7 facility, so my responsibility is 24/7 as well. I believe it’s important that we get every day off to a good start. So we start each day with a morning meeting, where we get everyone together to share the latest updates and plan for the next 7-14 days. I also have daily, weekly and monthly meetings with the client. With facility management, a lot of what we do takes place after hours. One has to be prepared for that in this job.
Q: You’re responsible for managing a team of 65 people. How do you approach managing such a large team?
Tim: My main responsibility is to bring all of our smart, passionate people together and get them working towards our shared goal. Singapore is quite diverse. We have colleagues from a number of different cultures and backgrounds, and they have different ways of doing things. For me, the three most important things are respect, trust and appreciation. Those three qualities are like dots; when you connect them, you have the right culture and atmosphere for getting the job done. My Line Managers are really important as well. With their positive thinking and approach, they help create a great morale and team spirit.
Q: What’s your favourite part of the job?
Tim: It’s a great job because it involves making our work environment safe, fun and enjoyable. My team are the ones who keep the office at the perfect temperature; make sure the lights come on; and that the water is clean and safe to drink. In other words, they make sure the environment is always clean and safe for people to work and be in. And I love being a part of making that happen.
Q: What’s been your proudest moment as a KAM?
Tim: In 2019, our site was nominated as one of the top 8 sites out of the over 200,000 sites ISS has globally. The nomination was based on customer satisfaction, technology and our accomplishments, so it was a great recognition of our work as a team. I think that will stay with me throughout my career, because it represents our whole team’s efforts and the successes we’ve had.
Q: What’s the best thing about working for ISS?
Tim: Definitely the diverse opportunities. ISS is a global organization, so if you have ambitions of working abroad or developing an international career, this is a great place to be. Also, I think about how I was given the responsibility for one our largest global key accounts when I was 30 years old. I don’t think a lot of companies would entrust a 30-year-old with such a big account. Being able to have that much responsibility so early on in my career has meant a lot to me, and it’s something that makes ISS truly unique.
Q: What are you most excited about in relation to the future for ISS?
Tim: ISS has a track record of being at the forefront in implementing new technology. For example, we installed solar panels at Rolls-Royce’s facilities four years ago, so now 10% of their energy capacity comes from solar power. We’re proactively engaging with technology companies like Siemens to define the 2030 vision for smart buildings. And we’re also looking at how we can use predictive maintenance and AI in facility management.
One project I’m particularly excited about is a pilot program for robotic cleaning. We’re about to deploy the first robots, and I think this will be a game-changer. In Singapore, we have an aging population and a shrinking workforce. Using robotics will really make a difference, not only for our customers, but for our people as well. Many people think that technology or robotics will reduce the need for manpower, but I don’t agree. I think it will increase our job efficiency, upskill our employees and make them more competitive on the international job market. So, I really look forward to seeing what we can do with this new technology.