High-quality, uniform service across the EMEA

EMC is a world leader in 'Information Technology as a Service' (ITaaS). The company operates in fifty countries in the EMEA region alone. In all these nations, EMC strives towards high-quality, uniform facilities services provision. A challenge, because it's not only all the services which are outsourced, but also their local management. But it works. The first milestone has been reached. Ten main contractors, who are actually competitors, are now working together in 28 countries as one team, servicing some 12,000 employees at 125 locations. Facilicom is setting a good example in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Austria.

EMC has an outsourcing culture. Co-founder Richard Egan was convinced that the company would only be successful if it worked intensively with partners in the chain. This policy also became the rule in facilities services when the company began its global expansion. Bruce Barclay, Manager EMEA Facilities Operations: 'By outsourcing facilities services, we don't have to employ people directly, which means we don't have to organise all the supporting services involved in having an in-house workforce. In EMEA we operate in fifty countries, if we did everything ourselves, we would also become enmeshed in all the labour laws and regulations in these countries. It would be extremely complicated, and that's not an efficient model for a company as large as EMC.' But there is an even more important reason: 'By outsourcing the work, we can engage local experts in each country. Experts who have already identified the best and most efficient service solutions and suppliers in their market. So not only do we engage regional expertise, but also the ability to achieve high cost-effectiveness and quality.'

Watching every detail

Bruce Barclay

Bruce Barclay has only worked for EMC for two years. He came from the hotel sector, and that's hardly a coincidence. 'EMC operates in a highly competitive market. So there's a huge focus on talent attraction and retention. As a business EMC is internationally recognised for its total customer experience focus. Internal customer service delivery is no different. That's why they deliberately sought out someone from the hospitality industry to drive their FM service transformation program in EMEA. A hotel aspiring to five-star status can only achieve this if it watches every detail. The hotel sector has therefore developed very robust systems to ensure that the entire service provision chain understands just how important the guest experience is. EMC was very aware that if you want to accomplish a fantastic internal client experience, every detail also counts.' Additionally, EMC business managers look critically at the performance of the facilities services they receive. 'The business units of course have to pay for the real estate and facilities services we provide. So they want value for their money. Although we are part of EMC, we regard our Business Managers as clients and they regard us and judge us as a service provider. So we have to perform at a high level.'

Facilities as a Service

Service provision uniformity is important because EMC operates internationally. 'Our employees are extremely mobile. One day someone might be working in London, the next in Brussels and the week after that in Germany. We want the work environment in all locations to look and feel the same. Of course there are always regional accents: the brand of coffee might differ, but the quality of the coffee is of the same high level everywhere. Similarly, the facilities service must be the same everywhere.' That's particularly a focus where EMC acquires another business. 'We want these new business units to be able to focus fully on their core business. Global Real Estate & Facilities takes over everything relating to accommodation and facilities services. They don't have to go looking for suppliers, procurement solutions, resource for its administration, or manage the finance. But then of course they have to know exactly where they stand. That's why we deliver Facilities as a Service. This incorporates our global expertise, all our services and administration support: they pay a fixed price for our integrated FM business solution. Ongoing innovation is included, but most importantly, the service and outcome are predictable and can be relied upon in their business plan development.'

Sharing best practices

Over the past two years, he has streamlined the service provision considerably in a large number of his EMEA countries. 'We also did this to make communication more efficient. Initially I had to send out service provider specific e-mails for every communication. And I also had to take into account that services and standards may be more developed with one partner than with another. It was extremely complicated. By bringing them all onto one operating platform, communication has been simplified considerably, and we can introduce systems and processes far more easily.' Last year he introduced the service transformation program through an FM Leadership Summit in Paris for all FM partners. This also lowered the barriers existing between the various suppliers. 'In some markets they are actually competing against each other. So naturally there was resistance to sharing best practices, or to providing a look behind the scenes. They were also concerned that they could be sidelined. But we assured them that we genuinely intended to continue the partnership with everyone. Involvement in this programme would only promote this.' It worked out really well. 'The scepticism turned into real unity and even camaraderie within the group.'

Award for ‘team approach’

Now best practices are shared all the time. 'Often these are issues which have in fact been developed by Facilicom, I have to say. Facilicom leads in the development of best practices, providing the hospitality we seek and creating wow-moments.' He's also not surprised that during the second Leadership Summit, last April in Frankfurt, Facilicom won the team approach award. 'I wasn't on the jury, but it's appropriate that Facilicom won this prize. Facilicom is already doing fantastically well in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, but that's understandable because there it's working with its own people. It's exceptional that they were able to find partners in Switzerland and Austria who fit in this model, and that they are doing everything to let these partners operate at the same high level as Facilicom. The five countries covered by the Facilicom contract really do operate as one team. It's a wonderful example of the teamwork to which we aspire. The way Claudia Struyf leads the expanded team is typical of the conduct we would like to see in other partners when we ask them to expand their services to other countries. It's also an outstanding example of a best practice.'

Great Places to Work

However, they've still got a very long way to go. 'Creating One Team is only a first step. Providing an exceptional client experience is an ongoing journey. Also because client needs change constantly. But the first phase was crucial. We would never have been able to achieve our objectives if we hadn't all ended up on the same page.' Sharing best practices is bearing fruit, as his evidence already shows. 'For example, service provision was not consistent when I started here. This has improved hugely in the past 24 months, not only because we have devoted a lot of attention to it, but also because all One Team members can see what service excellence looks like, wherever it is developed within the Operating Platform. Team members are now starting to translate these examples into their own operations. We are already seeing service partners maturing more quickly than if we had attempted to move them forward as individual suppliers.' This approach has also born fruit in a different EMC program. In 2014, it was EMC's ambition to gain a place in the global Top 25 of The World's Best Multinational Workplaces, compiled by the company Great Places to Work. And that happened right away: EMC entered in 18th place. 'A fantastic achievement. Our top management were really happy with this.' CEO Joseph Tucci immediately raised the bar a little higher. 'Now the aspiration is to gain a place in the Top 10 this year.' In Europe this goal has been achieved already. Last year, EMC earned the 7th place in the election of European Best Workplaces, recently it was announced that the company has risen to the number 2 position in the 2015 ranking.

EMC: cloud storage, cloud services and ITaaS

EMC, which began in America, evolved with the storage, management and security of data for companies. This is occurring increasingly in the cloud, and EMC helps companies to transfer their data files quickly and securely to this environment. The firm is also a frequently-requested partner in setting up, managing and accessing big data. EMC delivers services, not products, and provides them as a complete package, as Information Technology as a Service (ITaaS). EMC operates worldwide, and works among others for companies in financial services, aviation, transportation, industry, telecoms and internet service providers, as well as for the medical sector, educational institutions and public bodies. EMC had offices in 86 countries, employs some 60,000 people, achieved revenues of just over 24 billion dollars in 2013 and occupies 128th position in the Fortune 500. EMC is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Facilicom active for EMC in five countries

It all began in 2006, when Claudia Struyf was drafted to EMC Belgium as Facility Coordinator. Now she is Operations Manager at Facilicom Facility Solutions Belgium, but continues to be Account Manager and SPOC (Single Point of Contact) for EMC. She manages her account mainly by e-mail and conference calls, has one day of consultation every month with the facility coordinators in the Netherlands and Belgium and Luxembourg, and goes to Switzerland and Austria every three months. 'I share financial reports, monthly reports and project reports, so that everyone can see what the others are working on, and perhaps they can take some inspiration from that too.' She also shares the wow-moments with which they are still able to surprise the internal clients. But above all she is a motivator for the whole team. 'It takes a lot of people management to get all the people in five countries with five different cultures in line.' She experienced her own wow-moment in April, at EMC's second FM Leadership Summit, when her team won the prize for the best team approach. 'That's a feather in our cap. It was a new kind of approach for us to join up with two subcontractors in Switzerland and Austria. We don't do this with any other clients. So I regard the award as a huge compliment, and I mean for the entire team.' She barely draws breath before praising EMC's role. 'We are genuine partners. It's no longer a client-supplier relationship; both parties have a lot riding on the collaboration.' Facilicom is learning a lot from it, she notes. 'EMC is a trendsetter in the way it thinks about FM, and they show just how FM can evolve. That also points us in the right direction. We see that our strategy and vision to become the most client oriented, best in class service provider with a strong focus on hostmanship, is very much aligned to the EMC strategy and vision. Thanks to EMC, we know what we need to focus on as an organisation in the years ahead.'

EMC’s One Team-program wins EuroFM Award

On June 2, EMC's EMEA Real Estate & Facilities itself was rewarded a prize with their transformation into One Team. During the annual Congress of the European Facility Management Network in Glasgow, Bruce Barclay received the Euro FM Partners Accross Borders Award. The award is a recognition for the EMEA Real Estate & Facilities  transformation and partner engagement program, moving a group of vendors operating independently to a fully-aligned team of partners that do not compete with eachother but rather work together to get the best results for EMC. Read the submission from EMC

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