Open-access content 25th October 2010
Challenging the customer’s ideas about what makes good FM service provision was key for the Co-operative team, on its journey towards a major change of premises in 2012.
Winner: The Co-operative
By James Richards
28 October 2010
After reaching the finals of the BIFM awards in 2009, the Co-operative team returned as victors in 2010 in the Corporate Occupiers Excellence category.
Their application focused on the contribution of the team to the Co-operative family of businesses, specifically, their strategic approach to FM service and provision, which was developed in-house.
Under development since 2008, the winning strategy is a major step on the way to a key 2012 goal for the Co-operative team, when the organisation’s head office will relocate to purpose-built premises in Manchester city centre.
As well as a physical change of workplace for the Co-operative group, the move represents a shift to a modern, flexible work environment. In anticipation of the expected ‘sea change’ that will result from the move, the facilities team developed their approach giving it the title ‘good2Great’ which they feel exemplifies the overall strategy.
A unified team was created to replace a number of hard and soft facilities teams, and also included client service provision for reception, switchboard and mail functions. Initially, the team identified the lack of information as an obstacle in their drive to provide quality FM.
However, the team decided that the major challenge facing FM providers involved improving the customer’s perception. This is a view that they felt was also shared across the expanding external network of colleagues and suppliers, including FM colleagues.
Subsequently, the Co-operative team felt that it was their mission to enhance the reputation of FM both internally, in the eyes of customers, and externally in the view of suppliers and the FM industry at large.
As a first step, the team instigated a ‘what good looks like’ phase to generate an idealised snapshot of FM service provision. Through workshop activity, the team produced a schedule of all activities being undertaken, before identifying where the provision fell below ‘good’. An action plan was put in place to address those provisions, and the impact was two-fold: quality was improved immediately, and expectations rose within the FM team.
Once ‘Good’ replaced ‘Basic’ across all services, the team determined the next part of their journey would be from ‘Good’ to ‘Great’, in order to reach the 2012 milestone.
A key tool on the team’s journey was a checklist, which addressed the need to measure performance and also gauge how far the team had progressed towards their eventual goal. However, it was determined that significant value could be achieved if stakeholders and suppliers also contributed.
According to Catherine Morris, head of workplace services, “Good2Great is the fundamental principle which shapes our long term strategy and the way we and our suppliers deliver services to our customers here and now.
“How this ethos translates into deliverable activity was a key factor, I believe, in winning the award,” she adds. “The diversity of our service offering, and the accountabilities we use to support business critical programme were also key factors.”
Morris believes that this ethos is within reach of any facilities team. “It does not cost in financial terms to deliver good2Great; it is a time and effort investment for myself and the team,” she says. “All involved have found it a rewarding experience both in terms of personal and professional development and also the results they are delivering in relation to their objectives.
“The response from clients and service users has been ‘wow we didn’t know you did all that’. Traditionally, FM has been seen as tea and toilets. Using the good2Great initiative has given the team the tools and opportunity to showcase the industry-leading services we deliver, resulting in dramatically improved customer perception.
Morris explains how good2Great can offer insights to the wider industry. “Workplace services can influence and drive business strategy and not just deliver customer requests.
“We should develop and deliver our own department strategy as well as being a key enabler in the delivery of business strategy,” she concludes.
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