Open-access content Monday 25th October 2010
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Winner: Babcock Dyncorp
By James Richards
28 October 2010
In Defence Estates (DE) awarded the prestigious Regional Prime Contract East to Babcock Dyncorp in 2005. The contract, worth £500m over seven years, provides maintenance services for the Ministry of Defence estate in the Eastern Region.
The contract covers design and construction of new projects as well as the provision of facilities management services. Babcock DynCorp maintains over 4,000 built assets, which include runways, swimming pools and substations at over 47 MoD establishments. The Eastern Region covers Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.
A central communications hub, called the Technical Service Centre (TSC) acts as the contact point for the entire contract area, operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year. Taking calls as a contact centre is the main role of the TSC, but the centre also provides technical support to site, area and core team offices.
Every year, Babcock DynCorp and DE draw up a Joint Operation Plan, outlining key contract objectives for the partnership over the next 12 months. The plan incorporates feedback and information from a cross-section of staff who are aware of customers’ and priorities.
Personal development plans allow employees to measure their achievements and progress towards pre-defined goals.
Also, as part of its commitment to supporting young people, school-leavers and graduates, Babcock Dyncorp introduced an apprenticeship and a graduate scheme in 2007. Recruiting from the traditional entry paths of mechanical, electrical and building, 26 apprentices and four graduates are now embedded across the organisation.
“It’s more than putting an award on the wall,” says operations director Geoff Adams. “We succeed because we invest more in breeding the right kind of staff compared to our competitors.” And staff seem to repay the investment: “Our churn rate is somewhere under 5 per cent. We work in a very loyal culture.”
As one of the top 30 suppliers to the MoD, Babcock DynCorp takes part in the annual Key Supplier Assessment, which enables the MoD to understand its developing client relationship. The MoD analyses information gathered across certain categories such as: approach to project management; responsiveness; information exchange; management of suppliers; quality of output; innovation; quality of relationship and flexibility.
Babcock DynCorp’s average score across all categories was 6.5 (out of 10) in 2008, which falls into the ‘highly performing’ category. The team were delighted to have bettered this score in 2009, when they scored 7.9, a significant increase, placing them on the verge of ‘highly performing’ and ‘excelling’ in the MoD’s scoring matrix.
Adams believes that a pro-active and positive contract arrangement with the client pays dividends: “In the tough economic climate, we’re working even harder to see how we can help our client.”
A team charter enshrines collaborative working at the heart of the relationship by laying down the vision, values, strategy and goals of the partnership between Babcock Dyncorp and DE.
He explains how in the face of such conditions, wherein DE is renegotiating all its major contracts, his team are focused on providing useful process support. “We drew up the contract which is now being used by the other suppliers. Our approach is the complete opposite of many organisations. We’re proactive and look for opportunities to help.”
In 2009, a co-working programme brought both sides of the partnership together under one roof. The initiative has ushered in a culture of debate, team working and collaboration which results in more efficient decision-making processes. Formal letters and emails from clients provide evidence of satisfaction of service provision, indicating that bringing client and provider together makes a noticeable difference.
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