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After over two decades in the industry, Glenn Ford is enjoying a change of focus from Australia to the wider world. Wherever he is, he’s busy chasing excellence – in the way USG Boral serves our customers, and how we’re propagating safe, scientific building methods to developing countries.
Glenn Ford has spent 22 years in the building services industry. After nine years with Boral/CSR joint venture Rondo Building Services, he joined Boral Plasterboard in 2002. Working principally in business development, he then served a decade as State Sales Manager for Victoria. The creation of USG Boral in 2013 saw Glenn take a regional role as Sales Excellence Director for the joint venture.
Today, Glenn is almost as likely to be on the road in any of a dozen or more countries than at his Port Melbourne base. “In my new role I’m working with all our different country Sales Directors and other leaders,” he says. “I’m travelling around 40% of the time.”
A critical function of Glenn’s role as Sales Excellence Director is the introduction of best practices to the USG Boral sales organisation. For 12 months after its formation, the new joint venture studied the capabilities of its national sales teams, identifying foundational gaps that needed filling.
“With a salesforce of over 500 people located across the Middle East, Indian sub-continent and Asia Pacific, we needed a better approach to working with our customers,” Glenn says. “We chose a proven methodology from Carew International called Dimensions of Professional Selling, or DPS. It works by gaining a deep understanding of customer needs, identifying gaps and exploring options, then presenting this information back in a structured manner.”
DPS has now been rolled out by a combination of global and local native-speaking in-house trainers, overseen by USG Boral’s global Vice President of Sales, Kevin Miller.
“We’ve taken our people to another level – where they can become a true business partner, not just a customer service or sales rep. Through up-skilling they’ve become more efficient, so we’re saving our customers’ time. In this way, we can work with our customers to grow their businesses – and our own as a result.” Since completing the DPS training for face-to-face salespeople, support staff have also undergone training. Glenn says the next step is Excellence in Sales Leadership (ESL). “We’ve adapted Carew’s ESL for our 100 or so sales managers and are in the process of training our people to deliver it. It’s ideal for USG Boral’s ‘player coaches’ who have responsibility for their own customers as well as managing large teams.”
Glenn says that USG Boral wants to be recognised as world-class. “We’re working hard to bring all levels of our sales and service functions up to the highest standards, so that we’re in the very best position to support our customers.”
Another of Glenn’s focus areas is supporting USG Boral’s building science initiative to cut construction weights, costs and time.
“In much of Asia the construction industry is still where the Australian and US industries were 25 years ago,” Glenn says. “While we’ve moved to lightweight construction both internally and externally, in many countries they’re still constructing walls with bricks and blocks – with all the implications for foundations, slabs plus the limitations on space and the number of floors they can erect. They may appear to build quickly, but that’s because they typically use a lot of workers.”
According to Glenn, modern lightweight building methods have been gaining ground in the more developed countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, where labour costs have risen over recent years. There is also gathering interest from China.
“With Building Science we’re taking a leadership role in getting the information out to architects and developers. We’re introducing a vast range of materials they’re not previously worked with – from lightweight plasterboard systems to metal ceiling panels. There are several important quality and safety messages too: fire-rating, seismic engineering, acoustic considerations and, of course, OH&S.”
Glenn is not ready to rest on his laurels. “As global players we have the responsibility to promote and support the design and construction of world-class buildings. It’s going to be a hard slog for the next five to ten years. But we’re beginning to see light twinkling at the end of the tunnel.”