UG2 CEO, Lou Lanzillo and Jeff Peterson, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Innovation
Courtesy Hans Harmadi Photography
As society moves into the era of the internet of Things, with a heightened awareness of once ambiguous processes, there has been a recent explosion of connectivity at work, and more is certain to come. The commercial cleaning sector is not exempt from this transformation, and in fact, some Building Service Contractors (BSCs) are effectively pulling their customers into this integration process. This was both the challenge and the opportunity for CEO, Louis Lanzillo when he founded UG2 in 2012. His mission was to expand on the traditional business model of a BSC by integrating service with the high tech expectation of accountability tracking. UG2’s goal was to disrupt the status quo and emerge as the partner of choice for the most discriminating clients. In other words, Lanzillo wanted to be the company delivering superior service with the metrics to back that service up.
Because technology exists, BSCs find themselves under growing scrutiny to optimize performance and provide proof of the quality and frequency of their work. This is especially the case in the large cities where high tech corporations flourish. This is where Lanzillo’s vision—to become the industry’s leader as the next generation Integrated Facility Services (IFS) provider— has taken shape. As they ramp up for their third year of growth, UG2 continues to win more contracts throughout New England, the Tri-State and Mid-Atlantic Regions. They employ over seventeen hundred and service over sixty million square feet in ten states, and the District of Columbia. In only its third year, UG2 is generating over seventy million dollars in revenue. Their continued expansion and ability to gain and keep new contracts is testimony to Lanzillo and his executive team’s ability to capitalize on their niche in and become the new benchmark in facility service.
Leveraging relationships and technology
What the strategists at UG2 have discovered, is that most customers put little thought into how providing accountability measures equates to a benefit or savings for their organization. So, by educating facility managers on the expanded role that technology and data management can play in the organization, UG2 has become an integral part of the delivery of these systems. The ultimate goal is to define accountability, focus in on areas for improvement, and recommend new ways to improve.
Senior Vice President of Strategy and Innovation at UG2, Jeff Peterson, says “many times, in the bid process, clients don’t always focus on technology as a critical component of the total facility services solution.” According to Peterson the role of a BSC technology partner in working with a client usually follow these steps.
• Leverage technology to support the service delivery model
• Utilize a comprehensive mobility strategy
• Create standard and measurable optics
• Drive cloud based technology support strategies
• Become data and knowledge managers
• Create a ‘one-stop’ account management model via web highway
• ‘Keep it Simple’ in driving process and technology adoption
While technology sets UG2 apart, outstanding people, quality services and customer focus is still center to UG2’s value proposition. “UG2 is recognized for being a citizen of each of our client’s industries. We deliver leadership and support services focusing on quality, safety and performance management,” says Peterson. What that means is the service model and process improvements are implemented first, and then the appropriate technology is aligned in a cost effective manner. UG2’s goal is to provide technology services and solutions that align to the unique customer requirements. Peterson states, “We will drive market differentiation through realized innovation”.
How trust leads to diversification
UG2’s success is not limited to their janitorial offerings, as they have had great success in other service offerings as well. Diversification has been a significant part of the company’s growth. UG2 offers additional facility services in Operations and Maintenance, Office Services, Logistics, Mobile Maintenance and Energy Services, just to name a few. But, in keeping true to their roots, UG2 remains primarily a commercial cleaning company. The formula to adding additional UG2 services is transitional over time but very systematic. When trust is built with the client management team, UG2 becomes a partner to improve overall facility services and processes. It is not long after, that many clients want other cost savings through efficacy and this leads to the addition of other UG2 services. Integrated service essentially means UG2 becomes the technology service provider and then has to play five roles in solutions utilization.
• Project manager; in driving standardized implementation methodology, process design, and solution delivery
• Business strategist to understand and align to customer needs
• Data manager; implement performance measures and use the data
• Customer activist or advocate; the voice of the customer to solution providers
• Innovator; bring new ideas, solutions, and provide thought leadership
As facility consultants to their customers, UG2 can now offer value added advice and solutions that facilitates real process change.Peterson went onto explain that a BSC provider is a team builder, uniting the effort and maintaining strong communication. Peterson says, “Our customer retention is extremely high because we are providing quality service and outstanding people first, viable support solutions second and a high level of accountability, third.”3
Data defines accountability
When pitching janitorial services along with integrated technical solutions, like those offered by CompuClean’s quality assurance software, the IFS team first establishes a process protocol with the customer to drive the quality management program. Once the system parameters are created and data is captured, a base line can be established. Tasks and periodic inspections can be carried out and analyzed, then processes have a chance to be improved upon. In this way, metrics can be presented and ideas can flourish in an environment of complete transparency. As the process is improved upon with innovative processes, equipment and products, new reports can be produced to show improvements in the service delivery model.
As Peterson can attest to, the larger the facility, the greater the savings potential by incorporating IFS best practices. In most cases, the investment in software tracking tools must be managed by a business case and ROI review process, as technology represents a cost driver that must be countered by productivity or other business related savings. But, Peterson points out, that even in smaller businesses, awareness is shifting and at the core there is a desire to produce a set of quality management metrics alongside all IFS services being delivered.
After all, without measurable data, it is impossible to solve problems and track progress. UG2 is able to capture information and measure quality data through cloud based solutions offered by CompuClean. What Peterson and his operations team like most about CompuClean is that the software is easy to use. “Technology has to be easy to use, or it will not be used,” says Peterson. Inputting inspections using an iPad or iPhone gives managers and customers real time ability to load data and alleviates human error that can occur by manually inputting data into a spread sheet. Mobile inspections from UG2’s managers, QA manager, and customers occur at different times to fully substantiate accurate results and quality assurance.
UG2’s focus on performance metrics and KPI dashboards across the IFS spectrum of services includes other categories such as work order management, asset reliability, financial metrics, safety and training, client satisfaction, and various sustainability measures. It’s important for any BSC that offers full facility services to deliver metrics and data analytics to support their service delivery execution.
Internal UG2 strategy meeting with Jeff Peterson, SVP of Strategy and Innovation; Tara Leverone, Finance Manager; Rudy DeLeon, Senior Account Manager; Greg Lanzillo, Operations Manager; Lou Lanzillo, CEO; Armando Lezama, Director of Operations; and Lauren Lanzillo, Project Manager.
UG2’s continued growth along the Eastern Seaboard and into the Mid-West with the focused creation of ‘Centers of Excellence’ is the Company’s focus, moving forward. UG2 is laying the ground work for Chicago as a Center of Excellence as the next phase of their geographic progress. Peterson says, “We will continue to travel with our partners to new markets provided the opportunity has sufficient critical mass to allow us to cascade our management and technology platform to those regions.” Through 2017, UG2 plans to stay focused on its core services and self-delivery model, as well as leverage new partnerships, increase sustainable practices, and continuously improve account management.
UG2 consistently researches new innovations in mobility, data analytics, web portal capability and the latest integration of cloud based technology in order to offer the latest generation of solutions to their clients and prospective clients. To that point, it would seem that innovation and constant improvement are at the heart of UG2’s winning strategy. Lanzillo and his management team have created a company culture that challenges paradigms of apathy, embraces technology and carries a solutions mindset, and the endless possibilities innovation can bring. Lanzillo’s mantra is blazoned on the wall: “We are committed to continuous improvement and we never rest on our laurels. We understand that complacency leads to mediocrity.”