Colin Phelan, Acumental Limited, shares his thoughts on Neylons Frontline Workers Award

Colin Phelan, Director of Acumetal Ltd, provides specialist support in all areas of the Facilities Management market, working with Service Providers to sell and deliver better and end-users to buy and deliver better outcomes. Colin has over 30 years’ experience working on both client and service provider side in these markets and has used this experience to build a range of products to support his clients in their quest for excellence.

I was proud to be invited to attend a Ceremony being held by a Client of mine, Neylons Facility Management, on 20th November 2020. Neylons is an Irish owned Facilities Management SME based in Co Galway, providing Facilities Management services to a range of sectors including Healthcare and Assisted Living.

As we are all aware, these two sectors more than most, requiring the unparalleled commitment of our frontline workers during this most difficult of years for these communities.The Event was to thank and celebrate the Neylons frontline workers who continue to provide a range of front line services including Housekeeping, Caring, Maintenance and Catering to their Clients. The Event was initially scheduled for late summer to be held as a traditional gathering. However, like a lot of plans for 2020, that could not happen due to the 2nd Covid-19 national lockdown.

The Event was then planned on Zoom for 20th November. In truth, Neylon’s founder Sylvie, and Chief Executive, Maria, both asked my view on the plans to hold the Event on Zoom as neither of them would accept that it could not happen during 2020. I was far from positive in my response, believing the logistics would hinder smooth operation with attendees from around 20 locations across the length and breadth of Ireland together, with not believing Senior Client stakeholders would take the time to attend the Event due to business priorities.

How wrong could I be! Having spent the last 35 years in Facilities Management, as a Service Provider, End-User Client and Consultant for the last 15 years, this Event showed me a new paradigm in our Industry and certainly challenged my pre-conceptions brought from 30 years delivering FM services in London. I was truly humbled observing the commendations and gratitude exhibited by Neylons Senior Client stakeholders attending the Event and personally thanking the Neylons Team for their commitment during 2020. Of the 15-20 Client organisations invited, only one, yes one invited Client was not in attendance at the Event held between 10 am and 1 pm, a real credit to all involved.

During my 35 years, I have said and in turn heard repeatedly Facilities Management organisations are working towards and stating they are part of their Clients Team and not seen as a Service Provider. The difference on this occasion being, a significant number of Neylons Clients embraced Neylons service and culture, and stated Neylons were not a Service Provider, they are an integral part of their Team and hoped they would be for years to come. This is the ultimate compliment for a Facilities Management provider, and if we could bottle it, our industry would avoid becoming commoditized and instead focus on delivering value in the role of a trusted strategic partner.

Hats Off to Neylons Facility Management and your Clients, walking the walk with regard to collaborative partnering relationships. Whilst recognising it is your People that will be the ‘difference that makes the difference’.

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