Corporate Social Responsibility

I was made aware of CSR around 10 years ago.  I didn’t really ‘buy into’ the ethos at the time, thinking of it as just another box to tick in the whole PQQ/Tender phase. I viewed it as something set up by the ‘big boys’ marketing departments as a policy no one else will have, or can implement, inserted into the complex point scoring systems of Pre Qualifying Questionnaires, designed to shift even more public contracts away from SME’s.

I viewed it as a policy that would exist in wording alone, never implemented into the the core of a business model. Its design was only to smokescreen into making the bigger companies look even more ‘Mother Therresa’ like, with the reality of them being more ‘Fagin’ aligned.

A CSR has a broad meaning across the business world. Implementing a rock solid risk management system into a companies procedures can be classed as being a CSR.  It can be argued that a robust human resources strategy can be core to CSR policy due to retention of staff and training. But these are all things the larger companies do anyway and again, i question if the ‘box ticking’ antics of the larger company is actually ethical.

Recently a well known high street burger bar chain was condemned for ‘slave labour’ practices – taking on young apprentices to work for virtually nothing, offering little training, except on how to operate within the four walls they were placed more efficiently. Training  that is of little use elsewhere in the business world.   This procedure was also discovered in one of the UK’s major grocery chains. Both companies have, on paper, comprehensive CSR policies.

Just over 4 years ago RCS implemented a corporate social responsibility policy. We set out from day one to show our belief that the two main components in a quality CSR are people and the environment. Not just the people who work for RCS, but all people. By incorporating the ‘Eco Cleaning Standard’ ethos into a CSR policy, we recognised that we already had many of the building blocks to create an achievable CSR policy, that has been implemented (unlike some other companies out there!) into the day to day running of our operations.

Is it successful? Have we had a positive impact on the environment? Who knows. One thing we do know; when it comes to doing ‘our bit’, our heads are held very high!

By Ian Reynolds

Quality Monitoring

We have recently finished our latest ’round’ of site audits, where we basically rate the cleanliness of each site and compile the information into a table to see how each cleaning crew are performing.

I’ve got to say i am getting a little disillusioned with this method of audit as part of our KPI for many of our clients. It feels very outdated and persecutes cleaning crews who face more specialist tasks (even though we try and factor this problem in to auditing)

The staff hate it and it hits the morale of a crew, for example, who have finished low down the rankings in consecutive months.

We have therefore offered talks to our key clients in order to ‘shake up’ KPI monitoring. We hope a more positive, up-training programme will be more beneficial to everyone.

Watch this space.

By Ian Reynolds, Managing Director

DIY Dry Ice Blasting

I recently pitched to a (large) company in order to sell dry ice blast cleaning services. After many hours of demonstration, risk assessment, due diligence and method testing we finally sat around the negotiating table in the presence of the company MD, finance director and the contracts manager. RCS (well, our dry ice blasting division- Optimum Dry Ice Blasting) had pre prepared a pricing strategy based on cost savings to the client as a result of machinery downtime, reduced labour costs and therefore, increased production.

We faced the usual “we’ve already had two other quotes which are slightly more competitive….” and “if you reduce your costs to us then we will get you contracts from every big player in this industry” but then this chap (contracts manager btw) chucked in the ultimate insult “ive looked into the costs and we could buy the same machinery as you and do it ourselves”.

Really!!!…..

I understand he was only trying to do his job and, in front of the MD, look to have done his homework and save his company £££’s but, really! 

This attitude carried on for the next half an hour and eventually it was decided that they would be purchasing the equipment and would have no need for our services. One full day wasted!

All companies look to save money and plenty of routine tasks can be learned/trained in house with relatively low investment. But sometimes certain professions are really best left to the experts.

Decisions such as this can also really damage a relatively new service sector such as DIB. The technology relies on a lot of factors (pressure, nozzle diameter, distance from surface etc etc) Get one part of the many factors wrong and you can either damage a piece of machinery, or spend 8 hours cleaning a 10 inch area! The machines are then labelled as the devils work, and DIB will never be used in that factory again!!

This may seem a little harsh, but believe me, the example above is very real and has been played out on numerous occasions!!

By Ian Reynolds

Towing, VOSA and Tachographs

Not sure if many of you are aware of the rules regarding towing commercially. We have just read up on them due to the fact that we have just purchased new compressors and we are making sure our van fleet is legal to tow.

As it transpires all of our vans must now be fitted with a digital tachograph, unless we are only towing within 30 miles (50Km) of our business premises (in which case we need to apply for a letter of exempt).

Give me a call on 07920054639 and i will explain over the phone, it is too long and complicated to explain here.

Ian Reynolds

Rip Off Britain

We have been having some really awful services/workmanship provided for us in recent months. It started back in November 12 when RCS had agreed to move in to a new industrial unit. A price was agreed and everything seemed good to go. Upon asking over and over again to see the lease so we could sign and complete, the agent informed us that the unit was no longer available.

Upon delving into the reasons for the agents letting the property ‘behind our backs’ they confirmed that they felt we had been dragging our feet! I think gazumped would be a more accurate description! Anyway, every cloud has a silver lining as we have now moved into a larger unit with on site offices, for around the same costs as the previous unit!

The next case of awful service/workmanship we have experienced is with a company procured to rack out our van fleet. We have recently upgraded all of our vans and so we outsourced to get them ply lined and racking/shelving installed. I cant name the company for legal reasons but if anyone wants to contact me i will willing tell you who to avoid.

The price jumped from £875 to £1500 with no explanation as to why. The racks/shelves weren’t fitted to our specification ie: gallon containers wouldn’t fit on the shelves due to lack of height! The pigeon holes we requested (to keep clean and dirty equipment separate for cross contamination purposes) were not installed and the way the whole thing was erected was so shoddy i reckon it may have fallen apart before the first mile on the road.

The fitters then refused to return our keys until we gave them a cash deposit to the sum of half the (increased) invoice!

Next time we’ll do it ourselves!

Snow Doesn’t Stop play

Thank you again to all RCS staff who have been on rota in this difficult weather.

Every job complete and all of our clients are happy!

Well done gang.