May 17, 2020

Q&A with ISS CEO Jorgen Lindegaard

Freddie Pierce
3 min
ISS headquarters

With more than 200,000 B2B customers worldwide, ISS is one of the worlds largest commercial providers of facility services. Headquartered in Denmark...

With more than 200,000 B2B customers worldwide, ISS is one of the world’s largest commercial providers of facility services. Headquartered in Denmark, the company has operations in 50 countries in Europe, Asia, North America, South America and Australia.

However, it wasn’t always this way and the firm has changed considerably since the turn of the millennium. It now has a vast global presence, while its revenues and margins have grown significantly. In this unique Q&A, CEO Jorgen Lindegaard tells Supply Chain Digital more about the transformation and formulation of ‘The ISS Way’.

Q: What is ISS?
ISS is one of the most successful global service companies, with an impressive historical performance. We are present in many countries around the world, which gives us a competitive advantage in that we are a lot less vulnerable in an increasingly global market. During the past few years, ISS has been transformed. We are now much more than a cleaner – we are a broad-based service provider, offering services in cleaning, catering, security, office support and property services. That’s not bad for a firm that has been historically concerned with cleaning.

Q: Tell us more about ‘The ISS Way’.
Well, we decided that the time is now to strengthen our position even more, and to achieve it we have developed ‘The ISS Way’ as a means for leveraging our international footprint. It was developed during 2008 and is a strategy which I believe will guide the business in the coming years.

Q: Why have you implemented the strategy?
Globalization is changing the industry and we now have new standards to live up to.

But globalization is an opportunity too – we can gain market share. This is why we have the new strategy; ‘The ISS Way’ is our way of doing it and will enable us to grow both individually, as countries or regions, and collectively, as a group.

‘The ISS Way’ is all about us developing a cultural and strategic platform – a guide to all things great and good about ISS. By following it, we hope the firm can fulfil its vision of Leading Facility Services globally – by leading Facility Services locally.

Q: Are you better prepared for future challenges?
‘The ISS Way’ is helping us to optimize our existing assets and with the current financial crisis, there are obvious challenges ahead for us, but it is important to remember that no matter how harsh the economic climate becomes, there will still be demand for many of our services.

The big challenge for us is retaining customers and helping customers maybe save on cost, demonstrating also that outsourcing can be beneficial to their business. We can see that happening in many places, even in the public sector. They see the need for outsourcing, ie expertise. We know we will be pushed hard on price, but of course it is impossible to deliver the same quality at a cheaper price, so we are trying to offer better value, which is different. It is about saying, ‘Okay, maybe you need catering or whatever, as well as cleaning’; in essence integrating our services more, which is a key part of the ISS Way.

We want people to see that they can get more out of ISS, reducing the need to deal with multiple people paying varying prices for each service. We want better integration basically, so we can offer people more.

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Jun 16, 2021

EU and US agree end to Airbus-Boeing supply chain tariffs

3 min
Supply chains embroiled in Airbus-Boeing dispute will no longer be impacted by $11.5bn tariffs imposed on food and beverage, aircraft and tobacco

The EU and US have agreed to resolve a 17-year dispute over aircraft subsidies, suspending tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of goods that have plagued procurement leaders on both sides of the Atlantic. 

Under an agreement reached by European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Tuesday, the tariffs will be halted for a period of at least five years. 

It will bring an end to punitive and disruptive levies on supply chains that have little to do with the argument, which became embroiled in the trade battle. Businesses on both sides of the dispute have been hit with more than $3.3bn in duties since they were first imposed by the US in October 2019, according the EC. 

The US imposed charges on goods upto $7.5bn in response to a World Trade Organisation ruling that judged the EU’s support of Airbus, its biggest aircraft manufacturer, unlawful. A year later in November 2020, the EU hit back. The WTO found the US had violated trade rules in its favourable treatment of Boeing, and was hit with EU duties worth $4bn. 

In all the tariffs affected $11.5bn worth of goods, including French cheese, Scotch whisky, aircraft and machinery in Europe, and sugarcane products, handbags and tobacco in America. Procurement leaders on both sides of the fence were forced to wrestle with tariffs of 15% on aircraft and components, and 25% on non-aircraft related products. 

Boeing-Airbus dispute by the numbers  

  • The dispute began in 2004
  • Tariffs suspended for 5 years 
  • $11.5bn worth of goods affected by tariffs
  • $3.3bn in duties paid by businesses to date 
  • 15% levy on aircraft and 25% on non-aircraft goods suspended

Both sides welcome end to tariffs 

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen branded the truce a “major step” in ending what is the longest running dispute in WTO history. It began in 2004.

“I am happy to see that after intensive work between the European Commission and the US administration, our transatlantic partnership is on its way to reaching cruising speed. This shows the new spirit of cooperation between the EU and the US and that we can solve the other issues to our mutual benefit,” she added.

Both aircraft manufacturers have welcomed the news. Airbus said in a statement that it will hopefully bring to an end the “lose-lose tariffs” that are affecting industries already facing “many challenges”. Boeing added that it will “fully support the U.S. Government’s efforts to ensure that the principles in this understanding are respected”. 

The US aerospace firm added: "The understanding reached today commits the EU to addressing launch aid, and leaves in place the necessary rules to ensure that the EU and United States live up to that commitment, without requiring further WTO action."

This week’s decision expands upon a short-term tariff truce announced in March this year. The EC says it will work closely with the US to try and further resolve the dispute, establishing a Working Group on Large Civil Aircraft led by each side’s trade minister.

Airbus last month signalled to suppliers that post-pandemic recovery was on the horizon, telling them to scale up to meet a return to pre-COVID manufacturing levels. “The aviation sector is beginning to recover from the COVID-19 crisis,” said Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury, adding that suppliers should prepare for a period of intensive production “when market conditions call for it.”

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