Contract catering giant Elior has brought its UK operational helpdesks under the umbrella of a single shared service supported by service management software Sostenuto by Sunrise.
The group, which employs 12,000 people across 1,300 outlets, provides catering, hospitality and facilities management services across business as well as venues from football stadiums to heritage sites.
Operational project leader Andy Baron is responsible for deploying Sostenuto across the different support functions, allowing everyone involved with the group, from suppliers to staff and chefs, to phone a single number with their queries, whether they relate to invoicing issues, staff maternity queries, or quality complaints.
“From day one, we made extensive alterations to Sostenuto to fit our business,” said Baron. “Over the years the software has been put to the test for scalability, flexibility and accessibility and passed with flying colours. Since the initial implementation, Sostenuto’s user base has grown four-fold, and the process has been seamless. Configuration is straightforward, so you don’t have to rely on consultancy for most changes, which helps keep costs down.”
“Because it is browser based, the software can be deployed with minimal disruption and is accessible from anywhere. Even more importantly, it is a platform which is tried, tested and stable.”
The IT service desk was the obvious team to take on the extended support enquiries, on the strength of strong established processes geared around a service culture.
Queries concerning a vast range of functions are directed at the central shared service desk, and then get referred to ‘super-users’ in the relevant departments. Supplier management and HR are two key operational areas which come under the umbrella of the service desk.
Elior’s bread and butter is made up of high volume contracts with venues such as football stadiums and margins can be very tight. In this context, managing suppliers effectively is a critical activity for the business’s success.
“We have had to centralise complex purchasing operations,” explained Baron. “Although we are working on a large scale, regional requirements have to be taken into account – customers in Cheshire would expect Cheshire cheese on the menu!”
“We have customised Sostenuto to allow chefs throughout the country to make enquiries regarding invoicing, pricing and delivery,” continued Baron. “They can also register complaints relating to specific suppliers or the quality of ingredients supplied. We have adapted the terminology used in the software, so that ‘items’ refers to ingredients and ‘products’ actually means ‘meals’.”
“Category managers use Sostenuto to manage supplier relationships. Having performance reports available in meetings gives them a lot more leverage.”
On the HR side, Sostenuto now allows the service desk to monitor and manage all queries relating to staff, including absence, CRB (criminal record bureau) checks, disciplinaries and dismissals, holidays and maternity.
Next to come under the umbrella of the shared service will be environmental quality queries from across the group.
“As a business, we are delighted with what Sostenuto has allowed us to achieve,” said Baron. “Personally, I really enjoy working with Sunrise as a supplier. Their support has been outstanding over the years, which gives us great confidence for the road ahead.”