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Under One Roof

15 May 2005

At the same time as it was masterminding the move of Barclays into its new HQ building in Canary Wharf, Johnson Controls was making some big changes of its own. Jane Fenwick reports from its new HQ in Farnborough

FOR THE FIRST TIME Johnson Controls has brought most of its activities and people in the UK together into one location. This is a ‘textbook’ FM strategy that its FM consultants have been advising clients to do to improve communications throughout their organisation and to invigorate their businesses. Now, Johnson Controls has had the opportunity to test the theory in its own backyard – and it works.

Last October, Johnson Controls moved into its new HQ Park West One in Farnborough, fulfilling a dream to bring all the Controls Group in West Region together not only in one place but also as one business. The FM activities had been based to the south in Waterlooville, while the building technologies businesses were in Reading and Leatherhead. This made it difficult to achieve a consistent brand image and approach to the market, and develop a working environment and culture in common. The Park West One building has given the opportunity to create a working environment supported by an exemplary customer service, and to use it to showcase the company’s building controls and security technologies.

This move has brought people responsible for Johnson Controls’ access control, digital video surveillance and Metasys building management systems with FM specialists who support building occupiers. As part of ‘one team’, one account manager will represent all the Johnson Controls businesses to key clients and develop the relationship all the way through from the first installation of a building management system, for example, to delivering a total FM package.

Park West One provides a variety of workspaces and a flexible infrastructure. The space utilisation is better and diverse teams are co-located for better collaboration, communication and teamwork. Mobile workers can reserve a workspace and there are plenty of bookable meeting rooms. The open plan environment is virtually universal and includes senior managers of the main business units who sit in the same location. Each working floor has a ‘shared space’ where multi-functional devices for printing, scanning, faxing and copying are located together with vending facilities, waste and recycling points.

The building also offers the opportunity to test the Johnson Controls’ experience from the moment you enter through its access control system into the Metasys BMS-controlled building. The reception is modern and sleek and the welcome all part of the customer focus culture which runs throughout the company right through to 1,000 front line engineers. Making the right first impression falls to facilities manager, Sarah Mordell and the Customer Service Team who not only support the Johnson Controls staff but also play a key role in providing that first positive contact with customers visiting the ground floor business centre. Here they see demonstrations in real time of the buildings technologies in the business centre’s ‘tech space’ while staff and customer training goes on in the adjacent ‘learn space’.

Links between management and, between management and the rest of the staff, and between the different activities of the company have also improved since the move to open plan working. “The relocation has made other parts of the business visible,” explained Mark Graveney, Director of FacilitiesManagement. “M&E is now part of FM and as a result we have ‘pulled through’ over £12m of technical services. All the operations directors sit together in open plan and we work together. This filters through to integrating the rest of the business.”

Working as one company has also resulted in changes to the way Johnson Controls faces its customers. A ‘global’ policy of account management has been adopted in place of a national approach that often saw key customers having to deal with different account managers from the FM, fire & security, and M&E service lines of business. Now key customers have one account manager to represent the company and to develop that relationship for the whole Johnson Controls offering. This approach is not limited to just the UK, but also for its pan-European and growing number of global customers.

The ability of the FM business to work effectively with global customers was recognised with the appointment in February of Guy Holden, formerly vice president of Johnson Control West Region Europe responsible for the UK, Ireland and South Africa as its first Vice President and General Manager of Global Facilities Management. He now has responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the FM business in the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific regions, and achieving a doubling of its global FM business. Key growth areas are in the Far East such as Singapore and Malaysia, and in Australia.

As Graveney explained, “This is the first time a global leader has been appointed outside the US, and is a recognition of both Guy Holden and what Johnson Controls has achieved in the UK, and the strength of the UK’s FM marketplace.” He continued, “Johnson Controls sees global FM as a huge opportunity for business growth across the world, and it is only in FM that global businesses want a global solution at that level.” Graveney is responsible for developing supply chain strategies across Europe. “Now, if someone wants a pan-European solution tomorrow, we know who we need to talk to, we have to be ahead of what the customers want, and now this is there for when our customers want it,” he explained.

He went on to explain that demand for pan-European solutions is growing. “We have good bids in the pipeline for the West Region alone. The really big areas of growth for Johnson Controls in the UK will be as part of a pan European bid.”

Some customers are currently looking to ‘roll out’ FM strategies from the UK across the Channel, but there is even more interest in other European countries, where Graveney observed, companies are more open minded to driving pan-European solutions. “The marketplace is changing. This restructure gives us focus, enables us to make decisions more quickly, and be flexible to offer not just the full strategic FM offering but also a range of individual services.”

In the highly competitive and maturing FM market in the UK where it focuses on the blue chip corporate sector, Johnson Controls has, says Graveney, had to “Open our minds to what is out there. There are some blue chip company’s FM services contracts we should have won first time around, but we did not. We recognised that we must be more flexible in what we offer and show how we now can present our more flexible solutions through to strategic alliances and joint ventures.”

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