Xmo Strata Newsletter – August 2014
Great myths of the world: quality and safety are expensive!
Occasionally, Xmo Strata managers are faced with customers who believe the company’s diligent approach to training, quality, health and safety means it’s more expensive than competitors – which is frustrating, because the reverse is true! “It’s easy for unscrupulous firms to crash-down the cost of an estimate,” said Managing Director Steve Martin. “We see it all the time – they simply haven’t included all the costs and go back to the customer afterwards with entirely predictable extra cost items. “We even win business this way, occasionally – the customer gets some nasty invoice surprises, tells us they’re being ripped off, and shows us the audit trail of emails, estimates, and invoices. The total cost for the job is far more than we’d have charged, but you’d never know that looking at the original estimate, where many of the costs weren’t included – even though they were predictable.” It’s not that Xmo Strata is more expensive, says Steve – the truth is that the company is often cheaper; it’s just that it declares all the known costs up front at the outset! The rise of no-win, no-fee lawyers also means that parties to a contract need to be skilled at document control to fight off bogus claims. “If someone’s injured on a customer site they can sue the customer. “If we injure them they can sue us – and sometimes, the customer as well. That’s why it’s important to customers that contractors are safe. “If you’re on the wrong end of a claim the lawyers will demand extensive paperwork. For them it’s a pre-formatted questionnaire which takes no time at all – but for the respondent it can soak up man-days. “The more efficient you are, the less this will cost … and the more likely it is that bogus claims will be weeded out. Missing paperwork potentially means a lost case – you might have done everything right, but in this instance you aren’t innocent until proven guilty. You have to prove that you’re innocent, and the only way to do that is to have good document control. “We don’t charge anything extra for that, we just do it, because professional companies do. We’re well aware of the fact that some our rivals do similar activities, and some don’t – and of the latter, several have got themselves and their clients into extremely costly situations.” The lesson, according to Steve Martin, is that accepting a so-called cheap quote carries three risks:
- The job isn’t done right and is unsafe, unreliable or leaves you with other problems.
- They’ll be knocking on your door for costs which should have been predicted (and, therefore, in their original estimate) but weren’t. They’ll probably do this midMain Identity Sign - The big Price sign on a petrol forecourt, sometimes referred to as Totem, Gantry, PID, Pole.-job, so if you want it finished you’ve no choice but to pay up.
- You’ll actually end up paying more, it’s just that they won’t have told you that at the outset.
The firm has produced an infographic on the relationship between managing safely and saving money – you can see it at http://xmostrata.com/can-managing-safely-actually-save-customer-money/
Did they really do that?!
Welcome to our regular look at the web and sign / safety related issues. We try to highlight issues that we can all learn from, as well as some that are just plain amusing!
Fix it – now!
Huge increases in no-win, no-fee claims against retailers and filling station owners
If you see something on a site that could cause injury – or which someone may be able to claim has caused injury – fix it, now! That’s the standing instruction to Xmo Strata employees and sub contractors. If they can’t fix it? Report it to the office, so that the company can advise the client. And the best news? In the vast majority of cases this is done with no additional cost to the client. The number of no-win, no-fee claims against both retailers and filling station owners has increased significantly and the objective is to protect Xmo Strata clients against this growing threat. In the first two months of 2014 the company’s site teams reported, addressed and / or mitigated more hazards at source than ever before in the same period. There were 98 ‘hazard spots’, and two identified near misses; the risk was eliminated entirely in 43 cases, and brought to the attention of others in 52 cases. In total, teams have identified and made safe over 750 site hazards – preventing injury, possible death, and bogus claims. “Unless it amounts to a major, costly structural issue we fix most hazards on site immediately and with no additional cost to the client,” said Managing Director Steve Martin. “It’s an added value for dealing with Xmo Strata – and when clients are facing greater legal peril than ever before it’s an attractive one.” Finally, a compelling stat: since the company introduced ‘transparent reporting’ through its XmoMan safety management software it has eliminated hundreds of risks to clients, entirely free of charge. And to Steve Martin, that simple fact is proof of excellent value. Footnote: the safety bulletinBulletins highlight issues that will be experienced throughout the industry, and prove a useful tool to encourage the raising of standards and awareness of health and safety issues industry wide. on this topic was the company’s 400th!
Drug and alcohol testing
Xmo Strata crews are now subject to random drug and alcohol testing – in the same way as for professional sportsmen and women. The testing is designed to reassure customers that employees are working safely and not putting themselves or others at risk, or any of the parties to a contract in legal peril. The tests, which are supported by industrial tribunals, are regarded as a means not just of detecting abuse, but discouraging it. The work is carried out by a professional outsourced company. “Clearly drunkenness at work is just as dangerous as drunkenness behind the wheel, particularly given the business we are in,” said Managing Director Steve Martin. “The same applies to drug abuse. This is really more about giving customers reassurance that in our company, that is extremely unlikely.