Corporate Vision February 2017

14 CORPORATE VISION / February 2017 , National Strength. Local Service David Scholes CEO of the Nationwide Hygiene Group UK& Ireland and Joint CEO of INPACS Gmbh Europe, Middle East & Australasia, spoke to us about the secrets of the firm’s success. The Nationwide Hygiene Group began life in 1986 when a number of Janitorial SME businesses formed a company, with the specific aim of combating an increasing threat to their local customers from much larger national corporate businesses. The simple idea was to offer the same central supply arrangements as the major corporates through a network of independent entrepreneurial companies. The decision to make sales the focal point of the new venture set the business apart from other independent groups that saw collective purchasing as their main operating premise. A central operation was established in South London and some regional contracts were gradually won with a series of big name businesses such as Mothercare, Virgin Records, The Co-op and several medium sized hotel groups. The major market breakthrough into a full national supply group, came in late 1999 and early 2000 when a tender was won to supply all 1,643 Boots stores throughout the UK, Ireland and the Channel Islands, on a two day supply commitment. At this point, Nationwide had 20 shareholder companies operating 25 branches from Aberdeen to Exeter plus Jersey, Guernsey and Newtonards in NI. In theory it could be done, but it would entail a significant investment in central operations, EDI expansion and above all else a commitment from all 20 shareholder companies to take the rough with the smooth. It was at this point that Nationwide decided to appoint a CEO for the first time and I joined the group exactly one month before the Boots contract commenced. The message I gave to the shareholder companies was a simple one, ‘make this work and much more is possible as nothing for us will be harder to do than this’. Internally, there was a considerable amount of consternation at some of the challenges before us and none more so than melding all 25 branches into a single service level capability. This was doubly difficult when the profit on the new national account business was much lower than that of other locally serviced business, requiring therefore, a commitment beyond a simple economic one and into a collective support approach by all businesses. Externally, the customer was extremely satisfied and could not have been more supportive in their praise for the service provided. This watershed event allowed me to take the groups high profile service capability and secure within the next two years the accounts of Carillion Plc, British Telecom, the John Lewis Partnership and Johnson Controls FM. All of these businesses are still with Nationwide some 15 years later and have since been joined by G4S, Bilfinger, CBRE, Compass, Sodexo and others within the FM sector. Nationwide is also now a major supplier to the healthcare, education and government sectors. The Boots contract will always be remembered within Nationwide as a turning point that proved to the market that service mattered more to local independent businesses than to employee run corporate branch networks. The combined shareholder group turnover in 2000 was £68m; it is now at the end of 2016 £170m and the branch network numbers 35 branches and 19 owner companies. Following the early successes in the domestic market, it became clear that the new customers were not just national but international companies, which quickly led to an evaluation of any potential distribution partners in Europe. Already known to us was a long established group of businesses in Germany called Igefa and lines of communication and a visit to Berlin to discuss support arrangements, ultimately led in 2004, to the formation of a Joint Venture Pan European group of companies called INPACS GmbH. (INternational PArtners for Cleaning Supplies). At its inception in 2004, the new group consisted of Igefa Germany, Nationwide UK, Groupo Helio Spain and Eurocom Italy. Its headquarters were established in Berlin, where it remains today and it had, at inception, a combined turnover of €800m. At the end of 2016, the JVC now has seven shareholder groups and operates businesses in 33 European countries, eight Middle Eastern countries plus Australia and New Zealand and the combined group turnover of the 43 countries is over €2.5billion. Upon formation of the new JVC, I was asked to become Joint CEO of the new group alongside Jose del Pino, who is based at the company’s head office in Berlin and who manages all the day to day operations. The group has continued to develop and evolve, not only geographically but also in response to the ever increasing requirements of customers and the on-going threats of new entrants into the market. International customers have been added to the portfolio over the years and are serviced wherever there is a location requirement within the group and currently represents close to €200 million of the group’s turnover. Among the key international corporations being serviced are; IKEA, Siemens, Mercedes, Bosch, Compass, Sodexho, Carnival Cruises, Ford, Starbucks, KFC, Pizza Hut, Burger King, Hilton Hotels, Marriott, NH Hotels, Movenpick, ISS, Lidl, Johnson Controls, Bilfinger and many more. With many of the new Pan European customers operating on a global scale the need to offer a fully focused offering in the Americas was an obvious next step and in 2005 we held talks with the Network Services Corporation in Chicago. Network operates in exactly the same way as both Nationwide and INPACS with independent businesses linked by one common umbrella organisation. With the same operational culture existing throughout all of the separate businesses it was not difficult for a common understanding to be reached and at the end of 2005 INPACS became a formal member of Network and its $10.8 billion group turnover. Since that initial coming together, Network have expanded their operations from the USA and Canada to include Mexico, Central America and Brazil. The central premise, however, throughout the whole organisation is to offer a constant ‘high value local service on a global level’ At the Interclean exhibition in Amsterdam in May 2016, INPACS 1701CV21