Flexibility is the key to client satisfaction
Enrico Menzel, head of maintenance, Berkeley Services Group talks about the company's successful contract retention at the Dubai World Central and how it's managed to win the trust of its clients
Tell us about the Dubai World Central contract renewal, and how Berkeley Services has managed to extend its scope of work?
We started providing soft services at the Dubai World Central site in 2013. In 2014, we started participating in hard services as well — we now manage all the hard services which includes the mechanical, electrical and plumbing items. We also look after other specialised services such as UPS maintenance, escalator and elevators and firefighting services which is a much bigger scope compared to our other contracts.
How did you manage to win the hard services side of things given you are recognised as a soft services expert?
We don't have the expertise in hard services like we do in soft services in which we have been in operation for more than 30 years. Nevertheless, we got a chance to convince the Dubai Airports management with our proposal, and since then we have massively improved our service delivery within the airport. We have increased our in-house capabilities — almost 80% of jobs are carried out by our in-house teams — that equates to a 10% increase over the last four years.
How have you grown your hard services side of your business?
We have close to 400 technicians, and we have put in a lot of effort to grow the hard services side of our business. We set up hard services from a procurement, estimation, cost controlling as well as technical training point of view. So we have successfully increased our quality to make a permanent mark on this sub-sector. We also have a few residential and commercial towers (where we look after the hard services).
Where do you stand compared to your competition in the market?
We are happy and proud with where we are today as a company. We are putting together a plan to take our operations to the next level. We have a retention rate of 98% of our clients and we have identified that there is room for improvement — we want to be proactive and not reactive. And that goes beyond our operational work as we aspire to inject this approach from a strategic stand point as well. We want to be a step ahead and bring different innovations to the market be in energy management and organisation of processes.
How do you find the room for flexibility in the wake of structured FM contracts?
It's tricky to keep a balance. On one hand we have the contract and we have to achieve its KPIs, we also have to achieve our budgets and at the end the company needs to grow as well. But sometimes we don't look directly at the contract and fix the problem while dealing with the processes later. We always sit down as a team and look at things in a balanced manner which is one of our successes. That's also a reason we have seen that high retention rate — keeping the clients satisfied and growing with the additional jobs. By gaining a client's trust you will automatically witness a rise in profits and revenues.
What sets you apart from the competition that might be considered more of airport specialists?
It's down to our flexibility, that's our main advantage, especially as a family-owned company. We have a flatter hierarchy in our company which makes us willing to adjust and flexible in our service delivery thereby increasing the quality as well. Without doubt, that's the reason we managed to win a contract renewal as well. We have employees that started in the company as cleaners and 25 years later they hold directorial positions within the company. We project family values through our hierarchy as well, which ends up motivating the staff. At the end of the day we need to give people a chance to grow from within the company. That also gives our employees the perspective to move from one position to another in a matter of a few years. It also increases their output and productivity, which ultimately leads to the satisfaction of the client and that contributes to low staff turnover numbers as well.