Facilities Management, Netherlands
Sabbas Smits came to Mace in 2017 with an ambition to build on his facilities management experience and gain more international expertise. Now he oversees one of Mace’s largest European workplace accounts, supporting the client in their head office to deliver a positive workplace experience.
- How did you get into what you do?
I studied facilities management in Breda, in the Netherlands. I spent the first six to seven years as an interim facilities management (FM) manager, specialising in small projects and short-term consultancy assignments. I got a lot of experience with different companies and cultures and learnt a lot of diverse aspects of the FM business.I then transferred internally to an account management position, but I wanted to grow my experience on an international level, and through an old contact I was introduced to the team at Mace, just as they were in the process of bidding for a new industrial client.
- How does the UK market differ from the rest of Europe?
In the UK, there is a stronger focus on health and safety than across the rest of Europe. Combining the UK expertise with the Mace values and culture means we are in a privileged and responsible position to lead by example and introduce advanced practice.
- What are the benefits of being based on-site with the client?
When you sit on the client side of the business you’re automatically client focused, you know what’s happening, and you’ve got a very close relationship with the customer. That’s definitely an upside - it helps you in seeing, hearing and feeling what the focus needs to be on.
- What do you enjoy most about your current role at Mace?
- When I came to Mace it was with the hope of working with teams globally, not just within the Netherlands. I’m enjoying the opportunity to work for an internationally-focused company and to have the contact with a lot of subject matter experts across the globe. Being able to tap into their knowledge has helped me grow a lot since I joined – more so than in the last 10 years of my career.
- What has been your proudest achievement at Mace?
Looking at my current project, I’m proud of the work we have done. The contract was a big change for the client from their previous provider. Mace has come in with a fresh approach to delivering services and addressed the legacy challenges when we went live with the account - including providing clear reporting and transparency within the contract.
- What skills do you need to be good at your job?
- For FM you need a range of skills and qualities. You need to be financially accountable, look after the team and you need to constantly tap into what the client needs. You have to be aware of what is important to the client, conscious of commercial responsibility - finding the balance is super important. I think, ultimately, understanding quickly what they want from us is key.
- What do you hope you will be doing in the next 5-10 years?
- Long term, I would like to see a role for me in expanding the business across Europe, creating opportunities and becoming a major competitor across the regions.
- If you hadn’t got into this line of work what do you think you might be doing?
- I was, and still am, passionate about the food and beverage industry. One of my hidden dreams is to open a restaurant.
“When you sit on the client side of the business you’re automatically client focused, you know what’s happening, and you’ve got a very close relationship with the customer.”