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Thames Cleaning: Why we're 'best-in-class'

Author : David Strydom

07 May 2015

Michael Weller (right)
Michael Weller (right)

Alex Weller, MD of Thames Cleaning & Support Services, talks about his company

Could you describe what Thames Cleaning does in your own words.
Thames provides 'best-in-class' cleaning and support service solutions to the commercial sector within London and the Home Counties. We provide office cleaning contracts and can support them with window cleaning, periodical cleaning, consumable supplies, recycling & waste management, washrooms services, pest control and handy man services.

How many employees are there and what is the hierarchy of the company?
We employ some 400 staff at present but this is growing rapidly within London. Michael Weller (CEO) heads all marketing and strategy of the business. Alex Weller (MD) ensures all aspects of the business is fully compliant to government legislation and achieves sustainability taking full P&L responsibility. Alex heads all departments and oversees all tender returns to ensure all bid submissions are achievable to meet our clients’ objectives. David Jackson (operations director) heads all operational delivery and continuously drives Thames operations to achieve exceptional performance levels for our clients.

Who is your ideal target market?
Our ideal target market is corporate clients with annual budgets from the range of £10,000-£1,000,000.

Describe the case study which best showcases your company’s work?
The best case study I can think of is We offered highly intelligent working solutions, which achieved much enhanced performance in quality, health and safety, environmental and CSR performance. Our innovations achieved a £80,000 per annum saving where King then reinvested half of this saving back into the contract to pay the London Living Wage. It was this case study that also helped Thames in achieving 'finalist' for the Living Wage Champion 2014 Awards for London.

What is it about your company that sets you apart from your competitors?
To lead the industry you need to be and remain different. I’d say the difference between Thames and its competition is our continuous drive for innovation, sustainability, training objectives to develop a 'one team' culture and to ensure our board directors remain extremely close to our clients, irrelevant of our growth.

Without giving away too many secrets, what is the key for service providers to win contracts such as Blackstone?
New efficient ideas that work and achieve sustainable best practise. To also provide them with a hands on service, honesty and integrity in all approaches.

When and how was Thames Cleaning founded, and by whom? How did the idea come about?
Thames was founded in 1962 by its first generation founder, Michael Douglas Weller. The company was named as per the river of London and first offered window cleaning which was carried out by foot, ladder and bucket. He then invested in a push bike, which took him months to master balancing a ladder on (way before health and safety).

What are the biggest challenges facing the cleaning sector?
Research and development, innovation, quality performance, training, transparency and investment in youth is seriously lacking in our industry.

What are your thoughts on the Living Wage?
We at Thames are a 'Recognised Living Wage Service Provider' so we support the Living Wage Foundation enormously. Not only do we promote it in our marketing but we also provide a cost option in all bid submissions to implement this should the client wish. Most, if not all corporates can pay the London Living Wage if they’re prepared to consider first-class surveyors to reengineer their current specifications to achieve this. Our work with is a marvellous testament to this and it she be considered. It's good for people, business and for society in general.

How important was it for Thames Cleaning to win an award at the PFM Awards?
Extremely important because we wanted to make a statement to our competitors. We also wanted to prove SME businesses could work very well indeed as suppliers for global corporate businesses.

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