Wood & Grieve Engineers

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Wood & Grieve Engineers
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Wood & Grieve Engineers
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Understand and deliver

Wood & Grieve Engineers
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Wood & Grieve Engineers is a national consulting firm which provides a wide range of services to both the private and public sector throughout Australia. With each and every client, they aim to deliver exceptional project outcomes by understanding the client’s every need and then deploying technologies that are appropriate to those needs. The company’s efforts in this arena have consistently beenrecognised by the prestigious BRW Client Choice Awards, who named them 2013’s Best provider to the construction and infrastructure sector.

“We’re good at what we do, and we’re thrilled that our clients acknowledge that,” says Jose Granado, CEO of the company. “We really go out of our way to make sure all of our staff are motivated to do the best they can, and we take pride in making our clients as happy as possible.”

The first steps toWood &Grieve’s success were made in 1961, when the business was founded by college friends Tony Wood and Kip Grieve. The company started its life as a structural and mechanical services company. Over time, they grew and expanded their offering to include acoustics, civil, electrical, ESD, fire, hydraulic, lifts, property asset management, and underground power services.

Granado joined the company as those additional services were gaining prominence. He helped oversee the company’s evolution, first as a ProjectEngineer, then a Director, and now as CEO.

Personal touch

Prior to starting his career at Wood & Grieve, Granado spent roughly ten years at a South African consulting firm, where he had risen through the ranks to become a partner and Director. When he left that role and decided to move to Australia in 1997, he received many job offers –from Wood & Grieve and most of their competitors.

“I have a passion for providing excellence in service, and one of my close friends suggested Wood & Grieve would be a good fit,” Granado recalls. “And that was the feeling I had too, because they did a lot of little things that were close to my heart. When my daughter was born, for example, they sent me a note congratulating me. I wasn’t even working for them yet.”

That kind of personal touch, Granado adds, is what enables Wood & Grieve to form strong relationships with all their key stakeholders – from their clients, to their employees, to their subcontractors, suppliers and more.

“First of all, you have to foster the relationships internally,” Granadosays. “You have to respect each other, hold each other accountable, and treat each other as if you’re each other’s clients. If you can’t do that, there’s no way on earth you’re going to do that for an actual client. You may do it for a little bit of the time, maybe at the beginning, maybe while you’re courting them – but it’s not sustainable. It has to come naturally to you.”

That is why, Granado explains, that every member of Wood &Grieve’s team – which includes more than 400 people – has to be culturally aligned with the business. As part of that, the team members have to be able to spend time together, even when they are not being paid. At the end of every week, the company puts on ‘Friday night drinks,’ and Granado says he’ll often go downstairs in the Perth office and will see roughly 150 people staying an extra hour or two hours, catching up with each other and having a good time.

“That’s from the top down,” he says. “All the Directors are there, and it applies to every office. It’s a great indicator to see people enjoying each other’s company. I may joke that you’ll always get Engineers anywhere there’s free booze and food, but it does go beyond that.”

Those strong internal relationships, Granado continues, lead to strong relationships with clients. Because their engineers enjoy working for the company, they want to represent it well, and are truly intent on doing the best they possibly can for the client.

“That attitude has to be instilled in an employee, and has to be in their head every time they’re sitting opposite a client,” Granado says. “I believe we do that well.”

From there, Granado says, there are a few more important factors when it comes to creating – and then maintaining – strong and lasting relationships with clients.

“First of all there is nothing in the world like doing a great job,” he says. “That’s the best marketing, and that’s an absolute must.”

“Second of all, you have to truly understand the client’s needs,” he adds. “It’s all well and good to read a brief on paper, but if you don’t communicate back to the client what your understanding of their needs are, you might miss something – and that’s what we do as well. We go back to the client and say ‘This is my understanding of what you want. Now, in getting there, what is important to you? What is your true vision?’”

On a project brief, for example, the customer may say they want a certain-storey building capable of accommodating a certain number of people. What will not be on paper, however, are the client’s aspirations – do they want the building with the smartest electronics, do they want a building that will last the longest, or do they want something else?

Granado explains that it’s possible for a building services provider to do what they think is a fantastic job, and still not fully satisfy the client. Oftentimes, that could be because the client didn’t or couldn’t define exactly what they wanted – at Wood & Grieve, they make sure they extract that definition or client vision.

“By going that extra yard, and trying to really understand the client’s needs, you’re far more likely to hit that mark,” Granado says. “So those relationships are formed slowly by doing each job to the client’s total vision.”

“It’s really a simple formula,” he adds. “Understand your clients and deliver,on time, to their requirements.”

Always improving

Wood &Grieve’s commitment to customer service has been consistently rewarded with industry accolades and repeat business. Most of the company’s clients – including government bodies and big corporations like Brookfield Multiplex and Mirvac – have been coming back to them for decades. Several of their employees, for example, have been with the business for more than 30 years and are still dealing with the same clients they were from the start. Granado himself, who has been there 15 years, still works with some of his own original clients.

As for industry accolades, Wood & Grieve has earneda plethora of honours from respected industry bodies such as the Illuminating Engineering Society of Australia, the Urban Development Institute of Australia, and the Master Builders Association of Australia. Their most valued award, however, are the ones given to them by Business Review Weekly’s Client Choice Awards – who, in 2013, recognised them as the Best provider to the construction and infrastructure sector.

“We started entering those awards to find out what we could be doing better,” Granado says. “That can actually be quite hard. We’ve always had senior people, such as myself, phone clients post-project to ask them about their experience, and ask if they would use Wood & Grieve again – but that was our only source of information, and it’s not the easiest way to get absolute honest feedback. They always try to soften the blow, and we can only fix what we know about.”

“So we entered the BRW awards for the first time in 2005,” he continues, “And we were pleasantly surprised to win three awards that first year, but we were even more pleased by the type of feedback and information that was given to us. Because it’s anonymous – and BRW is a third party doing almost an audit of the industry – the clients felt really comfortable putting totally honest answers. That information became really, really valuable.”

Wood & Grieve continued to enter the awards for that type of detailed feedback, and would always endeavour to follow it up by taking action to address it. The real reward, Granado says, is the increased satisfaction they’ve been able to provide to their customers as a result – but he acknowledges that winning the actual awards is nice too.

“When you do a good job, you like to know about it, and winning that award is exactly that,” he says. “And it motivates us all to do better and to keep trying to improve.”

That motivation, because it is sincere and genuine, is what has led the company to such consistent awards victories. And Wood & Grieve is not just motivated to improving customer service, they are also motivated when it comes to improving to technology.

According to Granado, Wood &Grieve’scommitment to keeping up with the latest in design and building technology benefits their customers as much as it does them. Since 2008, they have been developing and using a new design and drafting process known as Business Information Modelling (BIM). That technology acts as a design tool, and also serves to create a 3D drafting package.

“It allows you to place a lot more information on a drawing,” Granado says. “We integrate the services in the building in 3D. It is more interactive. Once you hand that over to the client and depending on the level of services integration required for that project, the package can also include all the information related to the project plant and equipment, all available at the click of a button. It’s a powerful tool.”

Granado credits Wood &Grieve’s technological efficiency, in turn, to their services contractors and suppliers – all of whom they enjoy strong and lasting relationships with, just as they do with employees and clients. Moving forward, he says he aims to keep those relationships positive, and continue to advance technologically along with the market.

He also aims to continue growing the company in both size and profile. He says his goal is to become a “truly recognised national company,” but also says that’s a goal may never be accomplished, which is by design.

“The goal that we set is not one we can accomplish in the next year, or the following year, or the year after that,” he says. “We’re like an athlete who says ‘I want to be number one.’ The real goal shouldn’t be to get to be number one but rather to do the best you can do, and that goal never has an end to it.”