Partnership for real
Strategic synergies is the key to successful collaborations. Two parties, mutual goals, confidence and trust. Shared problem solving creates more value than what is possible in traditional supplier/client relationships. Several of Coor customer relationships are based on this insight. One of them just recently became award winning.
Jens Ebbe Rasmussen has worked with business development issues for thirteen years, and has a very good insight in different cooperation agreements between client and supplier. As well as being immersed in “vested outsourcing”, seeing great potential for this way of collaborating.
− We have well-functioning and mature collaborations with some of our clients today. What stands out the most with these relationships is basically the same things that characterizes “vested outsourcing”. We look positively on this form of collaboration, and also find that in these cases we, as supplier, work the best, says Jens Ebbe Rasmussen.
To be able to enter a strategic partnership there must be mutual trust. That can be hard, considering that it’s not possible to write a legally binding document for trust. It’s more an approach founded on equality between parties as well as a mutual pursuit of common goals. The collaboration form is about sharing success instead of competing for it.
The collaboration form is about sharing success instead of competing for it.Jens Ebbe Rasmussen, SVP Business Development, Coor Service Management Group
− The discussions before and during the drafting of contracts will become different when both parties aim for a strategic partnership. In traditional negotiations price is often discussed down to detail. Prior to cooperative partnership price is also under discussion, however the negotiations are in a later stage driven towards questions regarding what creates value for the customer. In consultation we try to find distinct goals and mutual incentives, observes Jens Ebbe Rasmussen.
One example of a successful strategic collaboration is Coor’s collaboration with Politi (Danish police). In February 2015 both parties received a prestigious price, Driftherreprisen 2014, for the unique public-private collaboration characterized by collaboration and innovation. With focus on trust and mutual respect both employees and contract management works towards common goals – improving the work environment, efficiency, sustainability and quality. Claus Fibiger, Business Manager at Coor Denmark, is very proud of the award.
− We received the award for our way of developing partnerships. Our collaboration started 2012. Creating a new contract is always complex, but the challenges we faced were solved through an honest and open dialogue at every stage, both between Rikspolisen and our central contract management, between the districts FM-coordinators and our local operations management as well as between the service users at the Danish police and Coors service employees. The opinion on the market is that the way we have developed the partnership is a real partnership, says Claus Fibiger.
Coor won the contract after a public procurement, but before then the Danish police had invited several parties for a dialogue. Together with Rikspolisstyrelsen Coor executed several workshops to see if it was possible to form a strategic partnership.
− We knew instantly that there was great potential for a good collaboration. Coor together with Politi consultants, their management and union representatives from the police force were all at the same level, which is a key question when it comes to creating confidence and trust, says Claus Fibiger.
In a strategic partnership client and supplier will live with each other for many years to come. It’s therefore important that both parties are constructive if a problem occurs as well as being honest, for example by pointing out if there are parts of the agreement that do not work as expected.
− The most important aspect of a partnership is equality as well as our respective goals being of the same importance for us to succeed. If we do not deliver quality that is a failure for the Politi. If we do not earn money and have happy employees we cannot be a good supplier. Everything is connected and the advantage of a strategic partnership is using this approach to create value for both parties, says Claus Fibiger.
To be able to create a good relationship there are structured meeting forums on all levels. The Danish police have been very inviting and open by letting Coor participate in internal FM-meetings, giving Coor good insight in the operations run by the police.
− We meet the local police management and the police association on a regular basis. Which I believe has enabled us to address the things that needs correction, and continue to develop aspects that are going good.
Innovations and development
According to agreements Coor delivers integrated facility management (IFM). That includes everything from cleaning, restaurant services, internal services, mail management, shipment of lost and found, servicing 2 200 police cars and maintenance of the 200 police facilities. Fundamental for the cooperation is giving the police the service they bought. The service level (SLA) agreed upon, for example response time, will be monitored continiously and in a structured manner. When in place, Coor can contribute with development and innovations. Claus sounds committed when he gives examples on how Coor has developed the delivery:
− We have entered all 400 000 square meter facilities in a BIM-system as well as provided recycle bins with smart sensors. We have set up 35 00 QR-codes ensuring a swift and effective service communication with users and Coor. Development and innovative solutions presupposes a stable operation. When everything is up and running, we can get creative, says Claus Fibiger.
What are your most important advice for succeeding with this type of collaboration?
− Creating opportunities and forums where you can speak honestly and openly, and where you mutually can evaluate each other’s priorities. Partnership is an approach, it’s not something we can add to a structure and think it will work. It’s about how responsive we are to each other’s priorities and how we act. As well as about making sure the other party is ready to communicate with their organization if we make changes to ours. But most importantly, partnership is about people and relationships. We have to trust each other and get along. It’s hard work and require great reciprocity.