Ward, a certified black-belt in the Lean Six Sigma programme and previously the operations director at Heathrow Airport, oversaw a significant portion of the training.
“We trained all our staff in six sigma. All the technicians were trained to yellow belt and our green belts are all based in management. These guys are looking to do things more efficiently. They do things ‘smart’,” beams Ward.
A substantial part of the training was focused on the customer experience, an area that the CEO asserts is absolutely vital in today’s market. In addition to training the related social skills needed for the job, part of the training strategy involves cross-training employees across a variety of disciplines.
A matter of presentation as much as the service itself, the argument here is that end-users often prefer to a have a more personalised service delivery, dealing with a single expert, rather than having their household invaded by a group of employees.
“We are training our guys to be multi-skilled. We are prepared to pay our guys more money, and despite that we do end up being more cost-effective than everyone else… Gone are the days where you need five guys for job,” explains Ward.
“You used to have a driver, a supervisor, a manager, a labourer and then the guys actually doing the job. To me that’s ridiculous,” he adds.
Looking at the market ahead, the CEO predicts the it will continue to shift focus towards maintenance. Retrofits and a review of a building’s management will likely become commonplace with older structures. On upcoming developments, the baseline will be set from the start.
“I think starting from 2016 and 2017, all the way up to 2020, it is going to be all about bringing older building up to the same spec of the new buildings, and keeping them there.
“Once you’ve got that standard, you need to keep it at that standard. I think that’s all about consistency,” explains Ward.
Plafond’s client list
Plafond delivers fit-out and MEP services to a number of prominent clients including:
• Abu Dhabi Airports
• Dubai Airports
• Etihad Airways
• Jumeirah Group
• Alec Building Excellence