B+N Referencia Zrt. has a history of almost three decades and has grown into Hungary’s leading facilities management company. In a recent interview, Diplomacy&Trade asked the Chief Executive Officer, Ferenc Kis-Szölgyémi about the company’s development, innovations and how they meet the customer, employee and market demands.
Transparency is a core value
From being a cleaning service provider, B+N Zrt. has grown into a market leader in the domestic FM industry with 8,500 employees in Hungary in the past 30 years. Transparency and transparent operations are core values for the company. “We employ all our staff as employees. Our most important base is our blue-collar colleagues. We launched the ‘Look around and see’ campaign a few years ago in recognition of their work. We think it’s important to recognize that without them, we wouldn’t have a clean, safe and aesthetically pleasing environment in our offices, factories and vehicles. We believe that everyone needs a healthy and livable environment, and we do our utmost to promote sustainability. To this end, we are constantly improving our work processes and methods to minimize our impact on the environment. We believe that the technology we use must be put at the service of sustainable development. We carry out the tasks we undertake on time, on budget and to the best of our ability. For us, customer focus means that our services are tailored and flexible, and our work processes are transparent” – the CEO summarizes.
B+N Referencia Zrt. offers its clients a full range of facility management services – from cleaning to technical operations and maintenance, from fit-out services to landscaping and textile and uniform management.
Tailored paydays for the benefit of the employees
Besides the challenges resulting from the pandemic and Russian aggression in Ukraine, facility management companies have been facing another problem: securing an adequately trained workforce. Providing qualified staff is a major challenge for B+N Reference Zrt. as well. “At the same time, being a market leader and a stable, reliable and continuously growing company gives us a significant competitive advantage”- Kis-Szölgyémi points out adding: “We provide our employees with a wide range of benefits, from continuous training to various social and financial benefits. Just to give one example, in July 2022, we became the first in the FM sector to introduce the domestically developed ‘Salarify Pay’ solution, which allows our employees to access a portion of their salaries during the month. This means they can tailor their paydays to their own wallet. All this is quick and easy, via an application.”
Diverse client portfolio, acknowledged quality of services
B+N Zrt.’s client portfolio is extremely broad, the company provides services to state and municipal institutions in addition to numerous international and domestic companies. The quality of work is often verified by positive customer feedback but Ferenc Kis-Szölgyémi highlights in the interview: “Of course, we have detailed, comprehensive quality assurance and control mechanisms in place on a daily basis. Let me give you an example from our most important ‘customer’, the travelling public: according to a survey by the independent international quality control institute ASQ, Airport Service Zrt. – the main activity of which is cleaning services provided by B+N Referencia Zrt. at Budapest’s Ferenc Liszt International Airport – has achieved an excellent result in this area. Our company is a specialist in airport cleaning in the Central and Eastern European region. In addition to Ferenc Liszt International Airport, we are also responsible for the cleanliness of Vaclav Havel Airport in the Czech capital, Prague.”
Innovations for a safer future
B+N Referencia Zrt. is the only facility management company in Hungary with a research and development (R&D) department. The department was set up several years ago and today a team of 25 highly qualified employees are working there. “It’s no exaggeration to say that through their work, we are shaping the future of the facility management sector, in line with the ‘Industry 4.0’ philosophy. In addition to our day-to-day operations, we are also ensuring the continuous improvement of our services. I am convinced that technological innovation has an increasingly important role to play in this traditional sector.” – Ferenc Kis-Szölgyémi shares.
Technological innovations by this department are now available to the entire international group. These include the autonomous industrial cleaning robot ROBIN, launched in 2019, and the mobile UV disinfection device developed in 2020. “In the near future a revolutionary technological breakthrough, metagenomic analysis and prediction, will enable us to detect pathogens on different surfaces. This method will allow rapid detection of infectious colonies and prevent a possible epidemic. This unique development will drastically reduce the risk of infection in hospitals and increase patient safety while in the workplace, it protects the health and safety of workers” – the CEO tells.
Market leader in the CEE region – Synergies and cost efficiency
The company became a regional FM provider in 2021 and is now present in seven countries. According to Ferenc Kis-Szölgyémi, the international expansion was a logical continuation of the company’s market leadership position at home. In 2021, B+N Zrt. acquired the ISS Group’s interests in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Slovenia and Hungary. This was followed by the acquisition of INWEMER in Poland in January 2022. In September 2022 the company entered the Bulgarian market as well. “We have 100% ownership of our local companies in all countries. With these steps, we are the market leader with full coverage of the Central European region. With nearly 21,000 employees, we cover 16.5 million square meters of space.”
Ferenc Kis-Szölgyémi adds that being present in international markets means continuous learning and knowledge transfer. “We have successfully integrated the acquired companies into our company. We have developed a coherent strategy and harmonized day-to-day operations. Our size, which is now also significant at the European level, and our broad service portfolio offer our clients a number of advantages. Our synergies and cost efficiency give us a strong competitive advantage in all markets.”