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AFE November/December 2013 : Page 16

////////////////////// COVER STORY scheduled and performed only if neces-sary. PdM gains value when an O&M contractor can reduce equipment repair costs by performing non-invasive tests, such as operation analysis, vibration analysis, infrared testing, and a motor maintenance program, all of which are implemented at the State Department. Planning for the unplanned Th e government O&M contractor also needs to work with the in-house facilities team to develop a proactive and cost-eff ective contingency plan. EGS works with the State Department to prepare facilities for forecasted severe weather events including hurricanes, derechos, fl ooding, snowstorms and the like. Th e audits, routine email blasts and on-call responsiveness to questions and con-cerns. Th e oversight even extends to EGS subcontractors, who are held account-able by the same standards. For those subcontractors not employed by EGS, but employed directly by the govern-ment, EGS takes the initiative to off er corrective assistance to the subcontrac-tor when the occasion arises and report violations to the client. In the eyes of the law, being complicit in a safety violation is also being culpable. By taking safety seriously and stan-dardizing requirements across all EMCOR divisions and subsidiaries, government clients can rest assured that their O&M contractor is upholding and “ EMCOR’s training portfolio sets the bar for the industry and far exceeds the new federal mandate. ” staff takes advance steps to mitigate pos-sible facility damage, including clearing storm drains, cleaning rooft ops, and sandbagging entrances. EGS also has an emergency plan that covers events like loss of power, protests, bomb threats, fi re and terrorist activity. enforcing the letter and spirit of the laws that protect their workforce from pre-ventable injuries and fatalities. Personalizing client retention Like any client, the government does not want to feel like a contractor is only measuring their level of satisfaction and implementing their feedback when it is time to renew the contract. EGS therefore uses a more involved approach to client satisfaction and retention. In lieu of sending out annual surveys asking the client to rate their experi-ence with EGS on a one-to-fi ve scale as it pertains to specifi c questions, an EGS client satisfaction & retention specialist pays personal visits to clients to discuss all aspects of EGS’s performance and become better acquainted with client needs, objectives, working styles, and the facility itself. EGS found that the survey method left low incentive for busy clients to fill out and return the form, and checking in with clients only once a year through this impersonal medium was also insuf-ficient to keep on top of client concerns. In-person discussions instead guarantee immediate client feedback and build stronger relationships by putting a face (and sympathetic ears) to an otherwise amorphous corporate entity. Having a face-to-face dialogue also allows the conversation to lead beyond the con-fines of generic survey questions into specific details that would otherwise remain unvoiced or unclear by a restric-tive number ranking system. The result is more productive feedback: specific examples of problems or dissatisfaction; clarification of client perspective; and collaborative, solutions-oriented com-munication, instead of defensiveness and finger-pointing. Not every O&M contractor or facili-ties specialist will get the opportunity to work on a government contract or encounter the unique circumstances that can pose risks and difficulties. Neverthe-less, the takeaway is that adopting simi-lar standards of excellence and prepara-tion enhances service on any contract and gives contractors an edge over the competition. By implementing more PdM, hammering out details for contin-gency planning, personalizing client sat-isfaction efforts, taking initiative beyond contractual obligations to save energy and money, and other best practices EGS institutes, contractors will enable their government clients to reap both measur-able and unquantifiable value. FEJ Darian Toedtman is the senior proj-ect manager for EMCOR Government Services at the U.S. Department of State and has been involved at the site since 2003. Toedtman has 19 years of service in the U.S. Army and currently serves as a battalion operations offi cer in the DC National Guard. Alexandra Kleinkopf is the client satisfaction and retention specialist at EMCOR Government Services. She has a background in managing commercial and government-leased offi ce buildings in Washington, DC. Playing it safe Because the federal government has the highest standards and accountability for providing a safe working environment, government contractors inherit those same requirements. Besides the severity of penalties for infractions of any kind, EGS is motivated to provide exceptional work safety assurance to clients as an industry leader. Th e EGS safety focus is evident through its Corporate Environ-mental Health & Safety Department, which provides ongoing training and support to fi eld-based safety managers and staff in the form of weekly “toolbox meetings”, safety and quality assurance 16 November/December 2013 ■ Facilities Engineering Journal ■

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