Refuel and Refresh
Writer: Phoebe Calver
Project Manager: Joshua Mann
At a time when Angolan service and supply markets are going through a process of consolidation, services companies such as Express Support Services Lda (ESS) will need to focus energies on local investments to create facilities from which to support their clients.
Previously, oil & gas companies had provided the necessary facilities, however, due to recent cost-cutting efficiencies and local content development measures that are being adopted across the oil & gas industry these collaborations are no longer optimal for companies that are looking to lower their cost of ownership.
It is looking likely that due to this new market landscape, only services companies with solid capital support will succeed. The market ESS works in has spent the past 12 months in a state of constant fluctuation due to the ebb and flow of oil production, however, despite these fluctuations; Angola’s large offshore hydrocarbon potential continues to attract international oil companies.
ESS stems back to 2000, when the Compass Group purchased a company called SHRAM, and the Company name became Eurest Support Services; prior to another rebranding in 2002 when it became ESS Support Services Worldwide. Two years later the Company merged with a local partner and the new name of Express Support Services was created.
“It is our goal to be able to provide a taste of home through our food services, enabling companies to have refuelled and refreshed employees with hopes to improve their productivity,” explains James King, Managing Director at Express Service Solutions Lda. “It doesn’t matter where people are in the world, their need for quality, choice and value will always be paramount. Our consumer focus will always drive development and innovation in the food, brands and services we offer.”
The Company’s commitment to rolling improvements means it is always on the look-out for ways to develop its already high standards, adding value in terms of cost-saving, innovation, efficiency, communication and simplicity. Every day ESS’s catering teams are able to provide 30,000 meals, always ensuring the best possible quality and quantity for its customers.
At ESS the primary vision is to work as a world-class provider of contract food services, becoming renowned for its great people, fantastic service offerings and results, delivered safely.
King continues: “As a Company we have never lost focus of our vision in Angola, by ensuring we always listen to our clients and provide them with innovative solutions.
“Alongside that, there is of course the need to achieve the highest ethical and professional standards at all times, wanting the relationships we create to be based on honesty, respect, fairness and the commitment to an open dialogue.”
There is a prominent passion evident throughout the Company to ensure the delivery of superior food and service, all the while taking pride in the ability to achieve this. Like any good and successful company, ESS looks to replicate its triumphs and of course, learn from its mistakes by developing ideas, innovation and practices that will enable it to be a leader in the industry.
“As a Company we encourage individual ownership while working closely as a team,” adds King. “We value the expertise, individuality and overall contribution of all our employees and the ability of working in support of each other, sharing good practice in the workplace through the pursuit of shared goals.”
Everyone working within the Company takes responsibility for their actions - both individually and as a group - by consistently seeking opportunities to make a positive contribution to the health and wellbeing not only of its customers, but also the communities that it works in.
When it comes to hiring the right people to fulfil the Company’s vision, its approach is to recruit the right candidate for the right position, a strategy that is achieved with the help of its qualified and experienced recruiters as well as using psychometric assessments.
King affirms: “When recruiting for our new vacancies, it is important to us to prioritise internal candidates which ensure internal promotions as well as our employee development and retention.
“We have focuses on internal as well as external training, alongside certified accreditation to ensure that our staff are always capable of carrying out their duties to the best of their abilities, while focusing on their strengths and developing their weaknesses.”
The extensive training and career progression opportunities aside, ESS also provides a very competitive pay scale and benefits which place it highly comparative to market statistics; massively aiding in the motivation and retention of employees.
“It is one of our biggest aims to maintain the ratio of 97 percent local employees, while also focusing our energies on diversity within our units,” explains King. “We are particularly focused on promoting and developing female and disabled employees through our specialised programmes such as Angolanisation and Succession Plans.”
Not only is localised employment important to the Company, but the need to source products locally is also a driving factor which is taken into consideration. Thanks to economic diversification, local fabricators are encouraged to grow, develop and deliver quality products.
“Presently, Angola is making moves away from importing products where the country would have subsequently been at the mercy of foreign exchange rates,” explains King. “Ideally as we move forward our products will be both grown and manufactured in Angola. This will make way for less transportation and be better for the market, while delivering fresher goods to the market at a lower price.
Transparency in service
The Company has worked hard to differentiate itself within the industry, based on two factors - quality service and health & safety - which are driven by a well established Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) platform with transparency in reporting and several subject matter experts in food quality and safety.
“Our partners always want to know that they are providing the best quality and the safest possible products for the customer,” adds King. “We ensure that our QAQC inspections and audits all fall in line with our partners’ KPIs, making HSE our number one operational priority. We place it first in everything we do.”
ESS takes safeguarding the health & safety of its people and customers as a moral responsibility, therefore playing an essential role in the success of the business. Over the years the Company has established a safety culture where its people can instinctively take responsibility for their own safety and that of the people around them, acting accordingly.
On an equally important level, the Company is minimising the environmental impact of its operations, particularly on the local communities ESS operates in and of course the larger global community. Its aim is to continue to set industry leading standards which lay the benchmark on health, safety and environmental performance, while providing customers with the assurance that the Company is constantly striving to reach the top in industry standards.
King concludes: “In order to achieve this, we have employed a Company policy and standards framework which is supported by comprehensive communications and training, designed specifically to ensure that processes and practice within each of our operating units fully comply with local legislation as the minimum requirement. It will be exciting to see how our processes grow and develop over time as we expand in the industry.”