what you preach
In a changing world in which customers’ wishes and demands are always evolving, Schuberg Philis’s portfolio of products and services naturally adapts as well. Even in the flux of growth and continuous adaptation, it is important to hold on to our own core values. Maikel de Maertelaere and Mark van ’t Kruijs talk about the “why” and “how” of the Operational Excellence program.
Even though the “safe haven” concept, with its 100% availability and maximum satisfaction, is crucial for many customers, Managing Director Mark van ’t Kruijs has noticed a shift in customers’ needs. “In addition to mission-critical outsourcing, we are doing more and more work within a growing and evolving ecosystem of partners. Customers are increasingly making their own risk assessments, but this doesn’t relieve us of our obligation to keep our contribution at the highest level.”
This requires us to periodically revamp our own baseline certainties. “It goes without saying that we also see new business opportunities and that our role has changed compared to five years ago,” says Internal Auditor Maikel de Maertelaere. “But we should never forget where we come from and the high quality standards that go with it. Any new services should also comply with them.”
Our ongoing process of continuous improvement has made Schuberg Philis what we are today.
According to Maikel, operational excellence is mainly about the mindset. “Never stop thinking about your responsibilities, what you are doing, and how you could do it better. This ongoing process of continuous improvement has made Schuberg Philis what we are today.”
In 2019, Internal Audit initiated a companywide program around the quality of internal processes, procedures and services for customers. In a cross-functional setup, a fixed group of colleagues met weekly to work on elementary aspects like backups, security awareness and crisis management. “All of these things were no doubt good enough for customers and external auditors, but not for us.”
Based on the program, the different themes were picked up by subgroups. In bimonthly updates, everyone at the company was updated about their progress. This broad support base has made it possible to successfully raise the level of our services even further.
We have a reputation to uphold as a safe haven for our customers,” says Mark. “We guarantee that customers will not be surprised by issues around audits, uptime, performance, or security. What’s more, it costs a lot of time and energy to fix any audit findings or reputation damage. So it’s much better to have it all worked out in advance.”
By now the customer teams have reassumed responsibility for their continuous improvement. “The experts are in the lead, as it were. But if it’s necessary, we’ll organize it again. We are probably more critical of ourselves than most external auditors or customers would be, and if necessary, we can be very hard on ourselves.”
Mark van 't Kruijs
Maikel de Maertelaere