If you were selling a car you would clean it inside and out before any prospective buyer came to see it – wouldn’t you?

Even if the car was mechanically sound, a great car to drive and very efficient – we all know that people form impressions by the outward appearance of things – as humans we can’t help it. If you were buying a house and you saw it had a broken window or two, an uncared for garden and peeling paintwork you might not even bother looking inside. If you were going on a date you would make sure you were clean and presentable – at least I hope you would!

So helping to create the right impression about our company can sometimes be challenging, as customers see us in lots of different ways. Improving our business isn’t always about making huge changes – sometimes it’s relatively simple things that can make that half a per cent difference – it doesn’t take long for a few half-per cent improvements to make a big difference (I think that elite sports coaches call this the aggregation of incremental benefits).

One of our general managers in Wood Group GTS, Ross Barraclough, left, came up with this idea as a way to improve our customer service by introducing a new method of packing and transportation for the components we send to customers.

We used to package items individually in run-of-the-mill cardboard boxes. The problem was they were easily damaged, especially if they got wet and customs officials were ripping them open to recover paperwork and not properly re-sealing them, even though many of the components we send are worth thousands of dollars.

Ross came up with the concept of using purpose-built flight cases. This reduced packing time and provided greater protection during storage and transport, plus greater ease of inspection within our business, as well as with customers. With a dedicated pocket for paperwork it also helped the goods get through customs intact.

As Ross puts it, “We also wanted to raise awareness of our service in the eyes of the customer by demonstrating a willingness to take pride in our work and to show a continuous improvement mind-set.

"This project has now been expanded significantly, and more than 50% of everything that leaves the site is packaged like this. We continue to think of ways to improve the service we offer and sometimes the smallest actions can make the biggest impacts to the quality of service a customer receives.”

These cases are often taken onto sites (onshore and offshore), so we are exposing our brand well beyond our immediate customer… a small change with a big impact.

Where have you seen small changes making a positive difference?