But That's What You Asked For?

24th January 2015

Andy Erskine

A client asked a simple question at the end of a contract mobilization wash up meeting the other day that really made me think and consider whether or not as an industry we actually listen to customers, deliver client focused solutions or whether or not we simply deliver a solution.


The question was very simple “was there anything else that we could have told you to help you understand what our requirement was at the start of the mobilisation?”


The contract is being delivered successfully following a smooth mobilisation with the contract now delivering at the levels determined within the contract documentation. The client is paying their invoices as a satisfied client. Why were they then asking this question?


The services industry is very good at delivering solutions for clients. We take the client requirement from the tender specification, we turn this into a service delivery model adding value wherever possible and then implementing it to the delight of our clients – a seemingly successful journey for all parties with everyone getting what they asked for, when they wanted it and all within the cost parameters specified. Or is it?


Businesses are organic in nature, constantly changing direction, growing and contracting to meet the needs of the market, economy and legislation in order to survive. How then is a service or solution that was specified months and sometimes years in the past, the right solution for the client now?


The reliance on contract specification, together with the SLA’s & KPI’s that normally accompany it, need to be challenged at the point of award. There is a fundamental need to sit down with the client and say “before we get started, is this what you really need?” If the answer is yes, all well and good but almost certainly the business need will have changed and understanding this before simply implementing a solution defined by a historic specification is important for the long term stability of the contract and the relationship that is being developed with the client.


This same requirement to development an understanding of what is actually needed extends to every facet of the supply chain. As a service provider it is important that the needs of both your client and your own business needs are communicated through the supply chain, ensuring that the partners that you work with understand how they can support the solution more effectively. This includes communicating the requirements to your own employee’s so that they understand that they are the solution.


So, was there anything else that the client could have told me before we started? Yes.


Equally, I could have asked them to describe what they actually need.




Sentinel House

Ancells Business Park

Harvest Crescent

Fleet, Hampshire

GU51 2UZ

Company No: 06950191

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