Universal Sodexho Remote Sites
Issue Jan 2007
Universal Sodexho Remote Sites is a total integrated facilities management provider to on and offshore sites.
The company’s extensive service catalogue, divided into people, building and business services, provides everything needed to successfully manage a facility in the most effective, efficient manner. In recent years the business has embarked upon a complete culture change, improving its overall performance, and service considerably, and resulting in it winning many industry awards.
John Fraser, health, safety and quality manager at the business elaborates: “A number of years ago we lost a significant part of our business, which affected the company considerably. To remedy this problem we employed business consultants to complete customer and employee interviews, and various surveys of our operating standards. From this, it was decided that we needed to implement a complete culture change programme, including a framework for measuring performance against four standards ranging from exceptional through to unsatisfactory.
“The programme, called Service Excellence, is designed to completely change the attitudes of every person in the business, from managing director through to the shop floor,” John continues. “The senior people in the company spent up to a week on a course to learn how to implement the changes, giving them the confidence to challenge how we operate. The standards that have to be achieved are based around all aspects of our service, and every employee is reviewed and rated on a quarterly basis.”
John explains that the company was so impressed by the changing attitudes and practices of the business and its employees that it decided to implement further standards: “The culture change has been an exciting, neverending journey, and although we never set out to specifically change people’s attitudes on health and safety we were so satisfied with the positive attitudes that we chose to develop a relentless commitment to health and safety.
“We put a specific team together to create the health and safety standards, which then became an important part of each person’s quarterly review,” John says. “The response has been good, and it is now the standard that everyone in the business strives for. I am particularly happy that everyone’s attitudes to health and safety have entirely changed and that it has had a positive effect on our clients. To implement this requires true openness and honesty, and we want it to be a key differentiator between Universal Sodexho and its competitors.”
Looking at the industry as a whole, John explains that health and safety is a vitally important consideration, and something that Universal Sodexho focuses on heavily: “It is the number one priority among all of the oil and gas companies, and through close co-operation with our customers it is the key focus within our organisation. Health and safety is so important that it is controlled by our managing director, whom I report to, and he is informed of every development immediately.
“Our health and safety policy recognises the importance of the involvement and commitment from the senior managers and the workforce, and we have established safety tools in place to ensure that all risks have been factored and taken into consideration,” John explains. “No activity in the business is more important than having practical measures in place, but the only way that we can achieve this is by having the correct working conditions and maintaining the highest standards. “
Further to the developments, the business has created its own safety forum: “The Safety Representatives Forum was initiated by the safety team rather than the management,” says John. “It is derived from the Service Excellence culture change and demonstrates our relentless commitment to health and safety.We have around 190 safety reps throughout all of our operating locations and they hold their own forums with regular meetings. All of the minutes, and issues raised in the meetings are then distributed freely throughout the company and to our clients. This is an important part of the process as it allows us to share best practices.”
The company’s dedication to the highest standards of health and safety has resulted in much industry recognition: “This year we won the British Safety Council International Safety Award for the seventh consecutive year,” John comments. “In addition, we were awarded a RoSPA in the hotel and catering industry sector for the fifth consecutive year, and this year’s North Sea Chapter Safety Excellence Award for the third time. It is very beneficial for us to receive so many awards, but even if we did not win I would not be disappointed. Through our culture change, and our dedication to improvement I know that we are moving in the right direction and improving each year.”
As an integrated service provider, Universal Sodexho is capable of providing a total service to its customers, in some cases entirely running a facility for them: “Following our culture change our clients now see us as a total integrated facilities management company,” John comments. “For one of our clients we run everything on site, meaning that they can simply concentrate on working. We provide the computers and stationery, through to the food, lighting and desks, so we are a true one-stop shop service for professional businesses. This gives the customer confidence that they can commit themselves to their work, whilst relying on us.”
Reflecting on the current state of the industry, John believes that there are many opportunities for further success at Universal Sodexho: “There are many good prospects at present, particularly with the oil market around Aberdeen, which will remain buoyant for the foreseeable future. All of the major drilling companies in our operational area have their rigs working, and one of our larger clients has just announced one of the largest oil finds in recent years.
“Our main challenge will be to continue to stay ahead of the competition, whilst developing new services for on and offshore customers. Additionally, we wish to continue developing the culture change, and our Service Excellence standards by basing our business around openness and honesty. We are always looking for ways to improve ourselves, and to improve the business of our clients,” John concludes.