Steve Ellison is the Operations Director on our Regional Prime Scotland & Northern Ireland contract. He offers his insight into the contract, what he will be focusing on this year and his vision for the future as well as the work we do for our customers and why it’s important.
“Supporting our Armed Forces in the work we undertake on behalf of the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) is important. We carry out the fundamental daily activities because it is the job we are contracted to do, and at times when things get tough, supporting the Military is probably not always the first thing we think of. However, seeing our hard work both in the daily management of Establishments or in our delivery of project works, then we remember what we are here to do and who we are here to support. After 32 years in a Military environment I continue to live and breathe the Ministry of Defence. I am incredibly proud of our country and being on the ‘contractor’ side doesn’t change this, it just makes it more important to never forget that we are here to support the Military and their families.”
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are how we measure our performance in line with our contract from DIO. Steve tells us how it can be important to take a step back and look at the reasons we do our job and why, sometimes, we should put our focus elsewhere. He also mentions how we can use our KPIs in order to improve the way we deliver service to our customers.
“It seems like KPI’s are all that we focus on, our KPI performance and all the reports that we do should just be a bi product of our good service performance. If we only focus on KPI’s and forget about all the other important factors, such as our people, our safety, our health and work life balance, our happiness and our support to our client and customer, as well as our impact on society and the communities around us, then we lose a bit of our values and the ethics that we stand by. Our KPI’s do have their place in our priorities as we are contracted to deliver them but their value comes from using the information from our KPI performance to drive improvements for our customers.”
The contract is such a big one and there are also a lot of interesting sites, especially in Steve’s region. However, sometimes we can often underestimate that there are different landscapes and that each region is vastly different. Sometimes this can have an impact on our service. With there being four separate contracts, each of these can have different challenges. Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own challenges to overcome for various reasons.
“Apart from the Barracks, Defence Equipment & Support and Airfields, which are similar to establishments in the other contracts around the UK, we have two tourist sites. They are Edinburgh Castle and Fort George and both include Historical Scotland engagement. We also have the islands, highlands and the geography in the Scotland & Northern Ireland contract and I am intrigued by Ballahuilish, although I doubt there is any phone signal there at all and just maybe one day I will be able to justify a visit to Saxa Vord, the most northern point in the Shetland Islands in Scotland.
We sometimes underestimate that we have different challenges than more condensed areas. The realisation that it takes half a day to travel to Lossiemouth and flights and ferries are part of our day to day delivery requirements.”
We carry out a large amount of projects on the Regional Prime contract and some of them mean a lot to the area we’re carrying it out in. Sometimes the smallest project can have the biggest impact and keeping the customer as the focus when delivering a project is important to ensure that it goes well.
“I am incredibly proud of one project in particular which has tested both myself, the wider project delivery team and the Supply Chain to the maximum. The upgrade of the Single Living Accommodation facilities at Leuchars was one of the biggest Additional Works challenges in Scotland and Northern Ireland to date based on the challenges and the high level of Stakeholders involved. I am proud of the efforts of the Project Managers and the teams. We have all pulled together as a team with the end result being that our customers have been moving into refurbished facilities that are fit for purpose and which will become the Military personnel’s home from home. This is just a further reminder of how the standard of service that we strive to deliver and how we conduct ourselves in the face of diversity has a personal impact on the quality of life those who put their lives on the line for our country and freedom.”
For our Operations Director, it is important he makes sure his staff are feeling valued and motivated so they can deliver the best service they can. Steve also looks ahead and ensures that his teams are future fit with there being some significant changes happening this year.
“I want staff to ‘be safe’ first and foremost and secondly to be happy at work and find job satisfaction. At times when things get difficult, we need to pause for a second and put things into perspective. We do not accept failure without firstly trying everything possible but we must also recognise the constraints that we have to work within. I will always push the boundary’s to try to achieve the desired results but I also look to leave work every day with job satisfaction, knowing that we have gone above and beyond to support our teams, our contract and most importantly our customers.
My vision for the future is that I hope we continue to improve in the areas with challenges, and that we will move through the next transition in a stronger position than when we came in. I was not in Scotland and Northern Ireland for the Next Generation Estate Contract (NGEC) mobilisation period but have listened to employees when they talk about that period. I will be doing everything I can to ensure that we leave NGEC stronger and that we continue to build our reputation and the trust that I see our teams working hard to achieve on a daily basis.”