Friday, 21 September 2012

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Last week was very interesting in that I saw such a pronounced difference in attitudes in sites that I visited. It is always a wonder how peoples values can be so different. So here's what I saw;

The Good
I visited a well known hotel and met the facilities manager. This person was a breath of fresh air, totally on top of his game and he had the maintenance as smart as an army band. Now this person was under pressure the same as most facilities managers with budget cuts and staff shortages. Yet, he had the whole system prioritised in relation to keeping the plant and equipment running at optimum efficiency.

Yes, he was using paper and Excel and it was working well for a single location. He had a pride in his work and abilities to achieve so much in todays tight economy. Although, I was not going to get business from him for the Regional Pro2 software, I wish I could meet a lot more people like him.

The Bad
This section has two parts;

A good friend of mine met the owner of a large facilities contracting company which works throughout Ireland. Like most contracting companies, they are being squeezed with clients reduced budgets and higher operating costs. However his means of reducing costs is hard to believe. Basically if they are on a planned maintenance visit and they know that their engineers will be either unsupervised of their work will be unchecked on completion, they just don't bother carrying out the maintenance. They sign in as normal, then go back out to the van, fill out the paperwork as if they had done the work and drive away. Just how much of this is going on and there are lessons to be learned by all companies who contract out work.

After my visit to the 'good' hotel above, I decided to get a haircut before my next appointment as I had time on my hands. So walking down the street I saw a hairdressers that looked clean and welcoming and went in. It was quiet and I must say I got the best cut I have had in a long while and the price was ok too €10. The hairdressers was really nice, clean, well decorated and all the hairdressers tools were kept sterilized. I as surprised they were so quiet when others I had passed were really busy. The owner (over 20 years in the business), told me that the others were cheaper €7 & €8 which attracted the customers, but also that they can keep down their costs by using unskilled staff and they do not spend on equipment to sterilize their tools.
I had a look in one just a few doors further down the street and could see that everything he said was true. One guy coming out, looked like his hair had been eaten by a horse rather than professionally cut and the interior looked filthy, there was hair from dozens of cuts all over the floor and they just seemed to move on from customer to customer with the same scissors and combs. But most amazing they were really busy. So why do we accept the 'bad' instead of the 'good'?

The Ugly
My final appointment that day was another hotel. You know sometimes when you go into a place that you get a feeling of foreboding, well I got it here. To all appearances the hotel (an upmarket one) everything looked fine. However my opinion changed swiftly when I was talking to the person I had arranged to meet. In short this person said they had no interest in the maintenance solution I was offering as in their words - 'if anyone gets sick, has an accident or even killed, that's what we pay our insurance premiums for isn't it?'  Words just fail me.

I know I let off steam with these blogs, But I would love to hear your comments on them. Until the next time.


  1. Really interesting to see the different opinions in one sector! Kind of scary too!

  2. Thanks for sharing the information about the Facilities Maintenance. Really a great blog!!

    Facilities Management Efficiency Ireland