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Total Facility Solutions

Total Facility Solutions: Where People Come First

Carin Hall

As Total Facility Solutions continues its rapid growth, the company turns inwards, investing in a culture that embraces safety and respect for its people
Total Facility Solutions: Where People Come First

 

For nearly 10 years, Total Facility Solutions (TFS) has been delivering top of the line process-critical infrastructure for semiconductor, life science, renewable energy and science & research installations. After experiencing record growth in recent years, TFS continues to diversify its market and geographical reach, building an organization with increased competencies in several areas.

In the last few years, the semiconductor market has represented a huge fraction of business, followed by life science and science & research projects. Although the company is strategically diversifying into new markets, that market trend has certainly benefited both TFS and the overall US economy.

“I have been pleasantly surprised with the amount of investment in the semiconductor business in the US,” says TFS President Joe Cestari. “I'm happy and proud to see that the US has had a resurgence in technology manufacturing, specifically in the semiconductor business.”

WHAT MAKES GREAT COMPANIES GREAT

Today, a major challenge facing the industry is how to deliver products faster without affecting budgets or compromising safety and quality.

“That's difficult for companies doing what we do, designing and installing infrastructure in a facility,” says Cestari. “Where it was once tolerated to spend four years creating a product from a design, people now want delivery within 18 months or less.”

At the same time, revving up the speed of a project also makes it a bigger challenge to manage the safety, quality and budget.

“We've had to keep our eyes focused on executing work profitably, safely and on time,” says Cestari. “It's an everyday challenge, but that's what makes great companies great: the ability to look at the long term as well as today's outcome with the same amount of focus, rigor and structure.”

PEOPLE COME FIRST

In order to pull it all off, TFS heavily invests in its staff, from safety and training to attracting top talent in the field.

“In our business especially, people are our most valuable asset,” says Cestari. In order to source the right personnel, TFS leverages networks with several recruiting firms, universities and technical schools. As a board member for various magnet high schools with a technical focus, Cestari has the opportunity to source and train personnel before they become employees.

Unlike others in the industry, TFS oftentimes recruits in advance of projects, allowing for ample time to train and prepare professionals for a new job. Through the company's TFS University, courses are offered both internally and externally, whether it is safety training on behalf of OSHA, communication and leadership training from Dale Carnegie, or project management training from other organizations.

TFS is also extremely focused on driving an incident and injury free (IIF) cultural transformation of the company. An IIF program is a mindset created companywide in which all employees recognize their responsibility to themselves, fellow workers and their families to do their work safely.

“We work in a tough market in a lot of dangerous environments,” says Cestari. “We want to make sure everyone goes home in the same condition they came in. That is a personal commitment all of us have made and a cultural reality that drives everything that we do. Creating an IIF environment is about taking action, caring for one another and demonstrating that care on a daily basis. It isn’t about policies, procedures, goals or even zero incidents.” 

From the way employees are reviewed to the way meetings are held and how initiatives are undertaken within the company, TFS has fundamentally reshaped its communications in order to achieve the ultimate goal of zero incidents or injuries—a central component of the company's business model as it continues to rapidly grow.

NEW ENDEAVORS

In addition to its people, TFS knows that relationships with suppliers are key in maintaining, increasing and reaching new opportunities in the market.

“We buy a lot of material—if we don't have enough, we can't execute a job,” says Cestari. “Cost, schedule and availability of high quality materials are critical to our success. In order to make that happen, we've spent a lot of time investing in key partners in our supply chain.”

In recent years, TFS has established a number of national and international agreements with key suppliers that are the original parts manufacturers.

“We used to work more with distributors and representatives, but now we work directly with manufacturers to establish pricing, terms, performance expectations and—most importantly—a dialogue,” says Cestari. “We're building relationships, so that manufacturers understand what we'll need before a project gets started.”

Under a strengthened design team, TFS is capable of integrating 3D models and BIM processes with clients for more efficient, accurate and safer jobs. Laser scanning has also enabled designers to produce real time construction models from digital images.

“We see many of these technologies as revolutionary to what we do from a market standpoint,” says Cestari.

LOOKING AHEAD

Through diversified growth, TFS continues to look at geographical areas where the investment profile makes sense and fits its core competencies and strategy, notably in Phoenix, AZ and other parts of the Western US.

“Wherever we look to expand, we focus on becoming a part of the community and a part of the local fabric, permanently,” says Cestari.

Having established a great reputation in the field, TFS continues to expand into new regions and follow emerging technology markets.

“Overall, we're very proud of the fact that we've never lost a single customer in our entire history,” says Cestari. “In most cases, we continue to remain on site even after we do major capital projects with our customers.” 

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