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Let the flower of services bloom


The flower of services is all about transforming infrastructure project delivery by embracing a customer-centric approach. Jason Marshall, Managing Director at Voeu, told Trenchless Australasia why the industry should embrace this approach.

The traditional concept of service delivery is evolving, and infrastructure project delivery is no exception.

Trenchless technology has transformed the infrastructure sector by allowing the installation, replacement, and rehabilitation of underground infrastructure without excavation.

Flower of services.
Flower of services.

Voeu Managing Director Jason Marshall said it’s time that the industry also focussed on the additional services it could provide to clients on trenchless projects.

“Improving value transfer to stakeholders requires focusing on facilitating and enhancing services, which represent a small proportion of the overall service delivery cost but have a significant impact on the user experience and value that is transferred to stakeholders,” Marshall said.

The flower of services concept provides a useful framework for examining the infrastructure lifecycle and identifying areas for service delivery improvement.

Core services provide the primary function, while facilitating services enable the delivery of the core service, and enhancing services create added value for the customer experience.

Examples of facilitating services in the water sector include technical information, traffic control, and flow management, while enhancing services include community consultations and completion updates for affected residents.

Despite being a world leader in technology, the trenchless industry can improve its service offering by adopting a more sophisticated approach to service delivery. This can be achieved by learning from other sectors that have successfully implemented the flower of services concept to enhance the customer experience.

Asset owners and delivery providers play a crucial role in optimising value transfer to stakeholders by ensuring that facilitating and enhancing services are given adequate consideration in service delivery.

“By adopting a customer-centric approach, delivery contractors can enhance the perceived value of their services,” Marshall said.

He’s adamant: it is imperative that project delivery extends beyond physical assets to include relationships and experiences, a holistic perspective can lead to improved customer satisfaction and better project outcomes.

“The flower of services concept, originally introduced by Lovelock and Wright, offers a valuable framework for expanding the notion of service delivery,” he said.

“It likens the core service to the bud of a flower, with the petals representing additional elements that enhance the overall customer experience.”

This approach acknowledges that infrastructure project delivery is more than just building and maintaining assets. It highlights that different thinking is needed to take into account the impact of site works and the needs of all stakeholders.

Applying this approach to infrastructure project delivery allows for a comprehensive view of the entire value chain and emphasises the importance of the relationships between service providers and stakeholders that are directly and indirectly involved.

According to Jason Marshall, Managing Director at Voeu, the trenchless industry needs to focus more on the flower of services.
According to Jason Marshall, Managing Director at Voeu, the trenchless industry needs to focus more on the flower of services.

Trenchless lining delivery

Using the example of trenchless lining, the core service typically represents around 80 per cent of the cost of delivery. The facilitating and enhancing services, shown as petals in this example, make up less than 20 per cent of the contractor’s cost.

The successful delivery of the core service is a base expectation of project delivery. Facilitating and enhancing services impacts how the customer considers the quality of service delivered and greatly influences the overall perceived value.

It is commonplace for the core service to be delivered successfully in terms of time, cost, and quality but the customer be disappointed.

This happens when the facilitating and enhancing services are neglected by the contractor but carry significant value for the customer.

Not submitting a final closed-circuit-television-inspection (CCTV) on time after delivering a difficult project is a good example where the contractor has gone above and beyond on site but in the eyes of the customer has not performed.

“The flower of services model has further evolved to acknowledge that standards and specifications are integral components of the project delivery environment. Although they do not directly impact the execution, they play a vital role in ensuring the quality of the core service,” Marshall said.

To sum this example, 80 per cent of perceived customer value comes from less than 20 per cent of the contractors’ project cost.

Facilitating and enhancing services

Enabling services can be broken up into two groups: facilitating services that support the delivery of the core service, and enhancing services that enriches the customer experience beyond the core service itself.

“Facilitating services incorporate the supporting information that is required for a customer to consider the services offered by a contractor such as include technical information, plans, product information, pricing, and other documentation,” he said.

“Elements necessary to deliver the core service, such as traffic control, flow management, are also considered facilitating services.”

Enhancing services are typically elements that deepen the overall customer experience.

Providing final CCTV footage, work as executed submittals, progress reports, and monthly claims, supplement the delivery of core service although are not a direct part of the physical works.

Proactive community relation is another example of an enhancing service that is not necessarily required to deliver a core service but enhances the overall experience.

Contractors who provide comprehensive facilitating and enhancing services deliver a better customer experience.

The importance of identifying and improving these services serve as the foundation of this emerging delivery philosophy .The focus is both the petals and centre bud of the flower for this approach to be successful.

Adopting a flower of services approach

Delivery contractors can revolutionise infrastructure project delivery by adopting the flower of services concept and reengineering their service offerings.

This transformation can be achieved without impacting costs, resulting in a remarkable improvement in the customer experience and delivered value.

“By focusing on improving facilitating and enhancing services, contractors can redefine what constitutes project success,” Marshall said.

“This approach transcends the mere delivery of physical assets and embraces true customer-centricity.”

Embracing the flower of services concept allows infrastructure delivery contractors to differentiate themselves in the market, cultivate strong customer relationships, and ultimately enhance their reputation and foster business growth.

Voeu is a specialist water sector advisory and consulting practice that delivers advice and improvement projects for infrastructure owners, operators, and delivery providers.

To find out more, visit Voeu.

This article featured in the August edition of Trenchless Australasia. 

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