Quality, Cost and Speed

I was recently discussing additional  services for a major client of ours on his site.

Our client noticed that my colleague picked up a few pieces of waste paper on ground, whilst my colleague was waiting for us.

A big smile grew on my clients face and he stated that my colleague “did not have to do that”, particularly as it was not a day that we were doing work on the site. However he really appreciated it.

Well, we all know he did not have to do it, but its all about the culture and values we have at Tilia Services Ltd. If something is not right I do not think any of us would just stand idly by. We would want to do something about it.

Quality grounds maintenance and landscaping is not about management chasing up people about little things like rubbish on the floor or excess weed growth. We want to be in a place where staff really take ownership; as such we can then put ourselves in a position where everything is taken care of and under control. But this all comes at a cost.

There are many stories out about contractors who trip over themselves to be the lowest cost provider. But there are some costs that cannot be avoided. If these costs are avoided in a tender, well, such a tender should not be submitted. If they are, this will only lead to substandard service and non compliance.

Before it is said that I am only complaining about doing the impossible, which we do all the time for our clients, why not take a moment to think about how to achieve these things.

In our industry we all know that low prices, speed and quality are three major aspects of work. However they are very rarely if ever achievable at the same time. So what do we do to reconcile this ‘troika’.

I personally think its all about drilling down to the goals of the client, then sharing these with the grounds maintenance contractor or landscaper, instead of putting out a to do list and giving instructions as to how to do them.

When tendering for work, we often come up against performance indicators and sets of standards etc. However when you break these down, what usually becomes apparent are ten to fifteen main principles of a contract.

Almost always, these are  about providing quality services to customers and their stakeholders. When we have this information, we are able to find the best ways to deliver the goals, often by finding cost effective ‘out of the box solutions’.

To conclude, its not about the details of the tasks that have to be undertaken, its about defining what is really wanted.