News | 18 July 2019

Innovation and creating the 'right' team: In conversation with PTSG

PTSG provide specialist services to the construction and facilities sectors, embracing a one-stop model with four discrete but complementary business divisions: access and safety, electrical services, building access and fire solutions. Here we explore how they continue to succeed.

In a recent interview, CEO Paul Teasdale revealed that before 2012 more than 90% of their 8,000 customers (today more than 20,000) used just one service. However, PTSG has seen a gradual shift in behaviour as a result of the organisation’s bundled services provision in recent years. Many clients now prefer the cost-saving efficiency of arranging for all services to be provided by PTSG, which supports findings that more organisations are preferring single points of call when procuring multiple services – thereby simplifying the maintenance of contracts.

It’s all about people at PTSG which explains why the organisation, itself one of last year’s winners, is sponsoring the Team of the Year category at this year's IWFM Awards. 

Paul Teasdale explained: "Awards demonstrate to the industry that what we do is of a recognised high quality.” With that, considering this year's sponsored category, we were eager to know what makes the 'right' team – something many of us are still figuring out. 

Paul said, "Naturally, teams must be comprised of individuals with the skills to perform a high-quality job – from trainee engineers to managers. ‘Team’ to us extends to partnering – using the principles of ISO 44001 to collaborate with the client and other stakeholders from the planning stage through to completion.” Adding, "An important aspect of this is the management of any disputes. Whilst disputes are uncommon, by having a process in place from the start, they can be resolved quickly and easily through effective teamworking, leading to a better result." The importance of educating the next generation doesn't go amiss either: "We encourage apprentices and work placements on our projects. This is an excellent way of securing the next generation of specialist services workers." This is something we’re very pleased to hear considering our own apprenticeship program.

It was for Innovation in Professional Development that PTSG won at our 2018 Awards, so how are good teams and innovation connected? It seems to come down to excellent internal communications and external relationship management, which effective technology permits. Paul told us, "The technology we have employed to create new systems serves to connect all the 1,200 people working at PTSG. Our Clarity and Portal systems are two perfect examples. Clarity was developed because the task of managing operations and maintaining strong client relationships was getting bigger all the time, with the acquisition of more companies. It moves away entirely from paper and provides visibility up and down the business. Engineers receive vital information using their hand-held devices. When the work is ready for billing, an invoice and work certificate are automatically raised." By following this process, PTSG has almost entirely automated its billing which, in turn, saves time and resource to focus on activities that genuinely require human contact. Being able to scale Clarity was also crucial when developing the system, which is something many organisations forget in favour of ‘quick-fix’ thinking. "No matter how much bigger PTSG grows, Clarity requires no further development." 

Then there's PTSG Portal. Paul explains, "The Portal was developed to provide a single point of contact and information for the growing number of staff and UK offices in the Group. It has united our 1,200 members, some of whom have never met. It saves them a vast amount of time as all the information they need is in one place, and it has empowered them with our latest collateral."

So, the right process means the right teams, or the right way of working at least. And that also feeds into how the organisation is dealing with our profession’s skills gap. "We established a dedicated training centre in 2015, coinciding with the appointment of our Group Assessor, Paul Campbell. We collaborated with SAEMA (Specialist Access Engineering & Maintenance Association) to train Paul Campbell, previously a health and safety consultant, to become a qualified assessor,” Paul explains. Adding, "Since then, we have become a CITB Approved Training Organisation (ATO), guaranteeing our courses and qualifications meet an industry-agreed standard. This gives us access to the Construction Training Directory, helping those looking for grant-funded training. Ultimately, it means we can make a meaningful contribution to industry sustainability." This is further supported by PTSG's NVQ programme. "With the support of ATLAS, PTSG is training all of the company’s engineers to NVQ Level 3 standard in both test and inspection and installations. In addition, we will ensure that engineers are either SSSTS or SMSTS accredited as applicable." 

In a brief conversation with PTSG, an excellent example of what can be achieved, what did we learn?

One-stop models are favourable. Great teams create success; their make-up being not only down to the skill of individuals within the team, but also the tools the team must use to communicate and the process they use to deal with disagreements. There’s also the need for decision-makers to be forward-thinking to ensure that processes can be automated and developments can be easily scaled.

Our own professional development pathway demonstrates how much we endorse a culture of organisational learning. We also acknowledge the need for more organisations to take on apprentices to teach the next generation. 

Want to know more? Find out more about PTSG and the Team of the Year category at this year’s IWFM Awards.

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