Page 11

Downer_Magazine_Issue_One

It’s a proud legacy but, just as the ‘pick ‘n shovel’ era has long gone, so too have the days of winning business solely by beating competitors at the tender box. Competitive pricing is no longer enough: increasingly, major New Zealand customers in both the public and private sectors are looking for more comprehensive and collaborative relationships with their external contractors – relationships that will deliver greater value across the board. Responding to this change is the key challenge facing Rob Gilmore, Executive General Manager Clients and Capabilities. His goal: Downer will become the ‘preferred infrastructure solutions partner’ to major public and private enterprises. A fresh approach is key, says Gilmore: ”Fundamental to our future success is how well we understand each customer’s business and all of the strategic, tactical and operational challenges that each is facing. We then need to use that knowledge internally to align Downer’s business so that we can help to provide solutions”. Traditionally, contractors have been highly operational, focusing on the execution of projects – efficiently and cost-effectively. Today, customers seek a much broader ‘whole of relationship’ approach from their supplier partners, who they count on to deliver creative and innovative solutions that will help to achieve the customers’ broader goals. Getting closer to the leaders and managers of client companies, in order to truly understand and respond to their issues, is essential to success. “The way that Downer manages relationships at all levels of our customers’ organisations is crucial,” says Gilmore. “Our whole way of doing business needs to focus on becoming true partners that our customers value, working more proactively, flexibly, innovatively, openly, honestly and much more collaboratively.” “Downer needs to think and act in ways that will help our customers meet the needs of their stakeholders and their own customers,” he adds. “Auckland Transport is a good example because it’s under huge pressure, amid tight budgets, to deliver a more efficient transport system for Auckland. Easing congestion and providing safe and reliable journeys is an enormous challenge – and crucial to the economic future of not only New Zealand’s largest city but the whole country. Downer – by applying the broader knowledge, skills and business networks gained through its other key business specialties, such as Road Science, Intelligent Transport Solutions, Technology and Communications – is perfectly positioned to work alongside Auckland Transport to deliver a more reliable transport network through new and innovative approaches. “That is what I mean by more closely understanding their issues and priorities, so that we at Downer can align our business to ensure that we access and apply all of our varied resources, skill and technical expertise – not just to a specific project but to the whole, ongoing relationship with that customer.” “By doing this well our customers will become our primary focus, rather than the work they contract out to us. If we continue to provide this kind of top-level performance, we earn the right to become their preferred infrastructure solutions partner.” Since joining Downer early in 2013, Gilmore has been focusing on how well resourced and structured the company is to deliver to its customer relationship aspirations. “Downer is a very, very good company with outstanding people,” says Gilmore. “My job is simply to align the formidable skills and talent residing within the business with the needs of our customers across all levels of their organisation. “If we can do that well and embed an uncompromising customer focus into the Downer culture, I am confident we’ll be well on our way to earning ‘most preferred status’ with our customers.” “We have to focus on what is in the best interests of the travelling public.” David Warburton, Chief Executive, Auckland Transport “Success for us is to give Aucklanders the ability to have the choice to travel where they want, when they want and in a manner that they enjoy; that’s the key issue. The challenge is to do that ahead of the wave of growth that Auckland is having, otherwise the problem will be that congestion will get worse, productivity will reduce and then we will stifle the economy. We have got to think about what the customer wants – that’s the people of Auckland and, to a greater extent the people of New Zealand and our tourists – because we are a major gateway to New Zealand. It’s about choices on time, choices on mode and choices as to how they are going to achieve what they want. The thing that makes companies like Downer useful to Auckland Transport is for them to be thinking what is in the best interests of the travelling public, not just the contract or the building of the road. What can we do to make it safe, the journey more pleasant and the travel time consistent? Those are the critical issues and these in turn create the productivity to pay for Auckland’s development.” DOWNER / IN BLACK & WHITE / 9


Downer_Magazine_Issue_One
To see the actual publication please follow the link above