NAS Airport Services Ltd is a company dedicated to delivering the highest quality inflight and corporate catering solutions and associated activities, forever going above and beyond when it comes to customer expectations
Going the Extra Mile
“Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship so keep moving, keep growing, keep learning. See you at work!”
For Stephane Lopez, this famous quote from Denzel Washington has become something of a personal mantra – that hard work pays off.
An individual with 24 years’ experience in inflight catering, cabin cleaning, maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) across Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Seychelles, Reunion Island, French Antilles, the UAE and now Kenya, he today stands as the General Manager of NAS Airport Services Ltd – a company that’s become crucial to the operational success of over 30 international airlines at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi and Moi International Airport (MIA) in Mombasa.
Why? Well, mirroring the GM’s own philosophy, NAS demonstrates consistent dedication to delivering the highest quality products and services.
“We are proud to say that NAS is a one-stop shop for all of its customers,” Lopez states. “Our scope covers inflight catering, corporate catering, airport bars and restaurants, lounge operations, train services, laundry services, quality assurance services and laboratory services.
“What differentiates us is our people. Our team members are the greatest asset we have with their depth of knowledge, wide experience, trying mindset and progressive spirit and dedication. They remain agile and focussed on a daily basis in order to exceed our customers’ expectations.
“Going the extra mile is very much part of our DNA.”
Committed to Kenya
Indeed, the GM is full of admiration for his staff in upholding such a unique, purposeful ethos.
On a quarterly basis, the company duly celebrates its teams’ efforts during the internal Double Baggers Award Ceremony where those who have contributed significantly are recognised and credited.
Likewise, it also hosts a monthly NAS Top Table Award Ceremony that holds a similar purpose.
“Top Table is also used to promote our employees who go above and beyond their duties,” Lopez explains. “Teamwork, customer focus, anticipation, communication, a never give up and can-do attitude and respect are key for us.”
Awards are not the only way in which staff are rewarded. In addition, NAS develops team building events in the aim of cultivating a unified spirit and invests heavily in both internal and external training resources to support personal progression plans.
“I am also a true believer of promoting from within our organisation,” Lopez comments. “As managers, we have a mandate to continue building NAS for tomorrow by helping each and every employee realise their full potential in whatever way we can.”
The company’s partners and suppliers are also viewed in a similarly important light. Having originally been founded in 1949, NAS has developed a number of long standing, fruitful collaborations with various enterprises over decades, the GM pointing to these relationships as vital.
“Our partners and suppliers are essential,” he affirms.
“I am proud to say that NAS Catering Services provides meals both on flights and in any canteen that are prepared, cooked and delivered using fresh products, and that is largely thanks to the work of these entities given the farms to fork concept.
“As a local operator, part of our mission is to work with local suppliers and partners, and 95 percent of all our catering products are currently produced in Kenya. Our suppliers are chosen from an extensive auditing process based on the quality and dependability of their goods which are stored at our cold storage facilities which comply with the strictest international hygiene controls including ISO 22000 – 2018 certification.”
This commitment is further reflected in NAS’s extensive corporate social responsibility efforts, notably its flagship greenhouse projects.
Previously, the company found a number of children’s homes becoming reliant upon its food supplies and sought to change this, empowering them across Kenya with the development of greenhouses in which these facilities may grow their own produce.
“The plan is to help at least one children’s home in each of Kenya’s 47 counties,” Lopez says. “We still have a lot of work to, but we have so far opened eight greenhouses that have helped to transform food security for these kids.”
Continuing the fight
Beyond the meaningful relationships it builds with both its own people, external partners and local communities, NAS likewise is making great strides in the way of operational improvement.
From a process standpoint, it conforms to world-class standards, investing in integrated software to guarantee accuracy and real-time analysis capabilities on every client order and maximise efficiency through its supply chain, scheduling, audits and checklists.
What’s more, this software can be tweaked to be compatible with its client airliners’ own administration platforms – another demonstration of NAS’s willingness to go above and beyond when it comes to exceeding customer expectations.
“We’re always looking to benefit equipment or processes,” Lopez states. “We’re well known for the development of the ‘sous-vide’ technique, where food is vacuum sealed, with our state-of-the-art in-house equipment that includes blast chillers, ovens and packing machines and a research and development kitchen lead by our culinary director for Africa.
“Likewise, owing to the fact that we’re part of SERVAIR – GateGroup, we’ve implemented a brand-new enterprise resource planning system which enables us to have full traceability of our perimeters.”
All these investments will be crucial in enabling NAS to meet its goals moving forward – to grow, protect and consolidate the company, its customers, team members, partners and shareholders.
Given the current global climate, this won’t be without its challenges. The implications of coronavirus will undoubtedly take their toll on economies and companies around the world, NAS undoubtedly set to take a hit owing to rising travel restrictions.
Yet despite the cause for concern, the GM still expresses positivity for the future as our conversation comes to a close, pointing to the pillars upon which the organisation is built as strong enough to withstand the impacts.
“Our environment is in perpetual change with difficult times as now with the current COVID-19 outbreak around the world,” he affirms.
“But we will remain extremely focussed on our mission in order to take our organisation and our teams to the next level.
We’re confident that as one we have a great chance of celebrating 80, 90, 100 years and more.
“We’re always excited to work with different people, engage in different projects, learn, share, discover new best practices and different ways of working, thinking and living.
“I would like to thank all our NAS pioneers and team members for their continued fight for our company and customers. As we say here, Pamoja Tusonge Mbele – together we are moving!”