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Mercury Alliance gets cooking

28 October 2010

Catering group,CH&Co, has become the fifth founder partner of Mercury Alliance, the new model of service delivery which aims to redefine facilities management for the 21st century.

Reading-based CH&Co, joins national building maintenance experts EIC, cleaning specialists ICM, leading workplace management firm Harrow Green and international security giant Securitas in joining the Alliance which has been set up by FM industry experts to create a new, streamlined, cost-saving alternative for customers.
CH&Co, which provides a range of catering services via five specialist brands completes the ‘through the line’ service offering inherent in the Mercury Alliance model. The model which has been developed by Larch Consulting’s Mike Cant and former procurement director of Diageo, Chris Brady,  comprise best in class service providers working collaboratively in a step change in working together and with clients.
Chris Brady told PFM editor, Jane Fenwick that his experience in improving facilities management in Diageo across the UK, was  “I was never content that we had got the best solution because although I had saved £millions, as it was only as good as the supply chain market could give us. The way the suppliers were managed was not attractive and the calibre of some of the sourcing decision was unsatisfactory delivering short term savings not long term value.”
The continued saying the attraction of the Mercury Alliance models is that “Each of the founding partners has been handpicked for their quality of service excellence, national delivery capacity and commitment to collaborative working. They are also all family or independently operated companies, best in class in their speciality and have no desire to do anything other than that specialism.”
They are not necessarily household names but excellent second tier suppliers, Brady explained. The core criteria for Alliance partners is to have scale with more than £50m turnover, national coverage, a good infrastructure, be growing and hungry for change.
For these companies Mercury Alliance is more than another sales channel, explained Mike Cant. “It is a market changing solution and they can pitch for business with Mercury that they would otherwise not have had access to before.  The Mercury Alliance model provides a protected minimum margin for the supply partners that allows for staff training and investment in the business.”
Cant and Brady expect to announced their first contract signing in December and already in advance talks with about five public and private sector clients. Cant commented that Mercury is about working with clients who are wanting to do the right thing , in the right way and for the right reasons.  In the meantime they are finalising the integration of systems providing a single integrated platform managing all the data flows. “We can bridge all the Alliance systems and will have a single help desk for the client, and a single set of integrated monitoring and measures," Cant explained.
CH&Co’s co-founder and chairman, Tim Jones, said: “We are delighted to have become a founder partner of Mercury Alliance. This is an exciting move for us so soon after our recent rebranding and underpins our strategy for future growth. It will allow us to focus firmly on our core catering expertisewhile offering us greater access to the facilities arena and more specifically, giving us a platform to participate competitively in facilities-led bids for organisations looking for combined FM solutions.Mercury Alliance’s lean and transparent structure ensures that creative FM solutions are possible without compromising on quality standards.”
Brady said “CH&Co has the breadth and depth of expertise to provide customers with a quality of service and delivery that consistently exceeds expectations. This strong track record in the sector, combined with a set of core values which align closely with those of Mercury Alliance and its partners, made CH&Co the obvious choice as our key catering partner.”
“We have brought together the best in class hard and soft FM service providers to create an offering which provides customers with a quality assured service with the potential to achieve significant cost savings, while simultaneously eradicating complex supply chains and duplication. and we are delighted to welcome CH&Co into the Alliance.”
Through its founder partners, Mercury Alliance has a combined workforce of more than 16,000, a turnover in excess of £350m and a national delivery capability across 67 offices. The combined capacity of Mercury Alliance partners enables the partnership to tender competitively with existing large scale TFM providers. The partners’ blue-chip client base includes Asda, the BBC, Kelloggs, Lloyds Bank, Microsoft and Tesco.

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