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Preparing to Shop

07 December 2007

Silverburn, Glasgow’s new retail destination, opened on the 25 October 2007. Paul Evans, explains just what had to be done by FM services supplier, MacLellan, before the shopping centre could open its doors to the public

THE DEVELOPMENT HAS PUT GLASGOW FIRMLY ON THE MAP. It represents a significant milestone in the regeneration of the local area, and of retail within Scotland. MacLellan Retail Services is responsible for many of the ‘behind the scenes’ and ‘front of house’ facilities management services. At the beginning of 2007, MacLellan Retail Services, part of Interserve, secured a three-year £9m contract with CB Richard Ellis and Retail Property Holdings Limited to provide an integrated FM services solution for what was set to be one of the most prestigious retail destinations in the UK. With over 95 shops, 13 cafes, restaurants and bars, consumers can now enjoy a kaleidoscope of shopping, leisure and entertainment. The challenge of maintaining pristine facilities is greater here than almost anywhere else.

The retail environment must surely be the fastest changing and most demanding of all commercial settings. The customer base is the most diverse, the public interface unsurpassed and the scope for unforeseen eventualities unparalleled. At the same time, in this sector, more than any other, appearances are everything, and impact directly on the customer’s bottom line.

Integration MacLellan has a proven track record in delivering integrated retail services solutions to some of the UK’s most prominent in-town, city centre and out of town retail destinations, as well as national retail store portfolios. It manages 2,800 locations throughout the UK and Ireland, including 19 shopping centres. This equates to 48,300,000 sq ft of retail space. Today MacLellan, as part of Interserve, can draw on their combined expertise throughout the retail journey, effectively offering a complete lifecycle of service delivery from design and build, operation, through to a comprehensive maintenance and refresh programme.

MacLellan’s work at Silverburn includes work not often seen by shoppers such as maintaining heating and ventilation systems, waste management, recycling, and cleaning. It also involves customerfacing roles such as managing information desks, guest safety, car parks and the Shopmobility service aimed at customers with limited mobility. Shopmobility provides 25 scooters, 12 manual wheelchairs and two power chairs enabling customers to enjoy all the facilities that Silverburn has to offer. From the moment visitors enter the car park, to the moment they leave, MacLellan has devised processes which ensure that every inch of Silverburn is pristine at all times.

Although Silverburn did not open until the end of October, MacLellan’s contract began while the centre was still under construction in February 2007. A specialist mobilisation team was deployed to manage the systems and processes and act as the principal point of contact during this delicate period. The team was responsible for the smooth transition to a fully operational state.

From the outset, MacLellan began to lay the foundations for its unique OPTIMA service model, designed specifically for the retail environment. OPTIMA successfully integrates people, processes and technology to deliver a service model specifically designed to enhance retail destination management. It provides for total integrated delivery; professional, singlepoint account management; a complete service re-engineering programme; robust processes and procedures; focused delivery teams and a responsible, sustainable working culture.

The advanced systems and processes within OPTIMA enable the expansion of the capabilities of the operational team and in turn, bring Silverburn enhanced benefits and added value. Overall, OPTIMA guarantees best value and best engineered service, real flexibility and responsiveness, genuine accountability, a constant improvement culture and absolute client peace of mind for clients.

The centre is not just about shopping; its development has taken into account how it can benefit both the community and the environment. Right from the beginning, MacLellan worked closely with Silverburn’s managing agents, CB Richard Ellis, to ensure that the retail destination became an integral part of the community. MacLellan partnered with Equip to ensure local people are aware of the positions available, and received all the help they required in submitting their job applications. The selection process was based on the qualities of integrity, motivation, capacity, understanding, knowledge and experience.

Training and development was the initial focus for the 120-strong team at the pre-opening stage. All staff received a comprehensive in-house training and development programme, custom written to fit into the specific operational environments within which the individual is working. All inductions took place before the staff were placed on site, and any additional statutory training that was required for individual roles was again scheduled to take place well in advance of the centre opening. Thirty members of staff completed a first aid course, and a further 20 were taught how to use defibrillation equipment. MacLellan staff also benefited from Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) training, with guest safety hosts achieving accreditation and licence to the Security Industry Authority (SIA).

Training
In preparation for their new roles, staff have also undergone an intensive ‘Silverburn Spirit’ training programme - exclusively designed and tailored by MacLellan for Silverburn. This helps ensure that everyone has reached the highest standard possible for customer service, the least that is expected of a development which promises to establish Glasgow as Scotland’s leading retail destination. At every stage during the programme, staff have been encouraged to contribute their own ideas on how the centre will best operate. Many of their suggestions have been taken on board and integrated into the training.

During this time, staff uniforms were designed and produced to the measurements of each individual employee. The outward appearance of the team is critical to creating a lasting, positive impression on guests and everyone was given a grooming guide on how to maintain an excellent personal appearance.

Health and safety is a huge issue in the retail sector. This is an ‘all ages’ environment, from the newborn to the very elderly, and all should be able to shop safely and without hindrance. Routines need to be designed with these factors in mind and geared towards maintaining the highest standards at all times. With increased opening hours, cleaning routines need to be run with the precision of a military operation, and contingency plans must be in place for every other eventuality too. MacLellan developed close links with Strathclyde Police as early on as possible, and the Centre now has its own Police Liaison Officer who is always on hand to offer advice.

Waste aware
From the word go, Silverburn wanted to ensure it has the best possible green credentials and MacLellan has set out to be environmentally friendly as it keeps Silverburn clean. During the past five months plans have been formulated to ensure that as much waste as possible is recycled. A target of 60 per cent was set, which includes waste produced not only by shoppers but also the shops, restaurants, bars and cafes. Cleaning products that are enzyme, rather than chemical, based are used within Silverburn. These non hazardous products are safer to shoppers, staff and the environment alike and are used to clean floors, toilets, and other general areas that are heavily used.

The MacLellan team will be working to the highest possible standards, having been assessed by the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICS). Work is already underway to have Silverburn accredited as a BICS training centre.

To support the CSR strategy, a relationship has been forged with Glasgow Community & Safety Services. Not only do they offer support with antisocial behaviour and community security but they also run a number of Environmental Enhancement initiatives. MacLellan is now working closely with them to support the Council's Clean Glasgow agenda which aims to target issues such as graffiti, litter and rubbish dumping across the city.

A week before the centre opened, MacLellan held a staff ‘Welcome Day’ to mark the final part of the team’s preparation and allow them to reflect on the work they’d done so far; as well as the important role they had to play in what was still yet to come. The 400m World, European and Commonwealth gold medallist, Kriss Akabusi, dropped in to inspire and energise more than 100 members of the MacLellan team.

Although the contract is now in full swing and feedback from the client and general public has been excellent, the pace doesn’t slow down. The goal is to deliver continuous improvement in service quality and value.

● Paul Evans is Divisional Director, MacLellan
Retail Services, now part of Interserve

Link: Maclellan International


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