… is the name of the Shell Retail Business programme that is being systematically rolled out worldwide to enable and empower retailers and Shell’s sales force to deliver consistent operational excellence and smiling customers at every site, every visit, every day. To recognise and reward the efforts and performance of Shell retailers and employees from 16 different countries, Shell’s Retail Business held a three-day People Make The Difference Real (PMTDR) Conference in March at the Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa in Oman, which culminated in a gala dinner and awards ceremony.

At the awards ceremony, 49 leading retailers and Shell staff were recognised for their achievements throughout 2006. ‘Shell in the Middle East’ went along to the event to meet some of the main players in the Shell Retail Business and to talk to some of the delegates and award winners…

“This is my first visit to Oman and to Shell’s retail operations here, which are some of the best I have seen anywhere,” said Josef Waltl, Executive Vice President of Shell’s Global Retail Business, whilst attending the PMTDR Conference and awards ceremony in Oman in March.

“During my trip to Oman I have visited several retail sites and have been impressed by the quality of the operations on site and the quality of the people.

Josef Waltl, Executive Vice President of Shell’s Global Retail Business“The strength of Shell’s brand and market share in Oman is impressive – I just wish Shell had such a share in other countries.

“The growth in sales in Oman has also been excellent and I am pleased to see that there are still good opportunities for further growth. So it is fitting that, against this background, we have chosen Oman for Shell’s first global People Make The Difference Real [PMTDR] Conference.

“The conference brings together the best retailers and Shell District and Territory Managers from 16 countries where we have rolled out our PMTDR programme. The gala awards ceremony gives us the opportunity to announce the best Shell Global Retailer and winners in other categories and to celebrate their success and recognise their achievements.

“PMTDR focuses on the critical interaction between our dealers and their staff with customers on Shell retail forecourts all over the world. This is where customers can experience the difference between Shell and its competitors through the quality of service they receive.

“This PMTDR Conference is also designed to make Shell employees and dealers feel a part of Shell’s global organisation and to give them recognition on an international level outside their own national environments, where many of them may already be well known for their excellent customer service and performance.

“During the event many people have been networking, meeting and making new friends and contacts, discussing their various operations and learning from the other delegates. We have listened to what the delegates have to say, to us and to one another, about how PMTDR works – or can be improved – for them.

“For me, and other members of the Shell Retail Leadership Team, it is also a good opportunity for us to meet our dealers and Shell employees from all over the world.

“For me to qualify the event as a success or not, I would want to know that the delegates had enjoyed it and felt that Shell had appreciated and recognised the delegates and their efforts and that Shell was motivating them to do better still.

“I hope that this event, in fascinating and beautiful Oman, also proves to be the experience of a lifetime, whether our delegates remember going off on a 4 x 4 safari in the Wahabi sands, dolphin watching or joining new friends and contacts at a beach barbecue.

Andy Wood, Faisal Al Hashar, Josef Waltl“I would also hope that, when they return home, the delegates will take back the lessons they have learned from this conference and implement them in their own business environments to keep on the path of continuous improvement. If that does happen, then the conference will have been a success and a worthwhile and important investment from which our customers will benefit through even better service throughout Shell’s global business in the future,” concluded Josef.

Bruce RosengartenBruce Rosengarten is the Global Marketing Manager for Shell’s Retail Business and a passionate architect of the People Make The Difference Real programme.

“The PMTDR progamme was conceived to ultimately empower the one million or so people working in the 46,000 Shell-branded retail stations around the world who deal with customers every day,” says Bruce.

“Whilst these one million people may not all be employed by Shell, but by our dealers and retailers, they are still serving customers at Shell retail sites all over the world. We want them to be inspired and motivated to deliver a higher quality of service for customers and so we developed the expression ‘Make The Difference Real’.

“The challenge when developing the PMTDR programme was to create a systematic programme which would make a real impact on the people on the ground working at these 46,000 Shell-branded retail sites and inspire them to deliver something unique to the customers. This then led to the development of the People Make The Difference Real programme.

Bruce then went on to say, “It is possible to develop the greatest marketing programmes and campaigns but unless you can deliver to the customer they will not be successful.

So that is when we decided that we needed a systematic approach and that we needed to have the right people, give them the right skills, give them the chance to measure their performance against others and then give them the right recognitionand reward programme to match their efforts.

“At the same time we wanted to give our retailers the opportunity to use the PMTDR programme with their staff. To do this, we developed a methodology that allows Shell and its retailers to deliver a programme together which is designed to produce better service for customers.

“From the feedback we have received we know that customers can already see and feel the difference. This has been made evident by better sales at the Shell-branded retail sites which have introduced PMTDR.

We do not believe that all customers perceive Shell as the leader in the industry – yet. However, we do believe that through continuing improvements in levels of service at retail sites we can outperform competitors and change the perception of customers.

“When Shell and its dealers have got it right for the customer we know two things are going to happen. Customers are going to come back more often and they are going to buy more products from Shell sites.

“That builds two more important goals. Shell dealers and retailers will become financially more successful and Shell’s Retail Business as a whole will be able to generate incredible shareholder value from this programme,” concluded Bruce.

Ahmed Al Kindi, Retail Territory Manager for OmanAhmed Al Kindi won the first-ever award for Retail Excellence for a Territory Manager for Oman. Ahmed is the Retail Territory Manager for the areas of Dakhalia and Dhahira and is responsible for 25 retail sites. He has been with Shell Oman Marketing for just one year.

He says, “I am extremely proud to have won this award. It has not come easily and I owe a great deal to the fabulous team I work with who have supported me over the last year, making this achievement possible.”

“Shell Oman Marketing [SOM] is very proud that Shell’s Retail Business has chosen Oman for the very first global People Make The Difference Real Conference,” said Faisal Al Hashar, General Manager Retail Sales and Operations, SOM.

“This is a recognition of Oman as an ideal location for the conference and also of a market in which Shell has a strong retail presence, with a market share of almost 50 percent of the retail fuel volumes sold in Oman through a network of 121 retail outlets.

Faisal Al Hashar, General Manager Retail Sales and Operations, SOM“In 2006 SOM’s Retail Business recorded a milestone with the sale of over one billion litres of fuels and a 15 per cent growth rate in 2006 over 2005.

“Hosting the global PMTDR Conference has been a big boost in morale for all Shell staff in Oman but especially for those in Retail. As a run-up to the conference, SOM has been fortunate to host a Retail Operating Unit Review that was attended by Shell’s Global Retail Leadership Team, as well as members of Shell’s East Zone Retail Leadership Team.

“The leadership teams have visited a number of our retail sites, and the feedback has been very encouraging and valuable.

“The PMTDR Conference has been a great success. It was interesting and useful, and provided a number of good opportunities for interaction with retailers and Shell Retail’s employees from around the world,” concluded Faisal.

Lourdes MartinezLourdes Martinez is a retailer from the Philippines with four Shell-branded retail sites. She says, “After 16 years as a Shell retailer it is very gratifying to be recognised and rewarded by being invited to attend this global Shell conference in Oman.”

“I implemented the PMTDR programme at all my retail sites, starting in July 2006, and since then I have seen a real difference. My staff have become more involved in managing the forecourts, they are taking a greater interest in the business and they are working harder to meet the targets which I have set. They now have a feeling of ownership, knowing that their performances make the difference.”

Graeme CahillGraeme Cahill has been operating Shell retail sites in the UK for the last 25 years and today owns seven sites in Colchester in the southeast of the country.

He says, “After 25 years of service to the Shell brand I now feel that Shell is starting to recognise not only the retailers but the People who Make The Difference Real, our staff.

“At my sites I am implementing the PMTDR programme and drawing on the strength of Shell’s fuel network card. As a result, we have achieved good growth in our convenience retail business, as well as in higher fuel sales. “It has been a pleasure to attend the conference in Oman at this beautiful location,” Graeme added.

Millon ManMillon Man owns four Shell-branded retail sites in Hong Kong.

He says, “This conference has been very informative and worthwhile. It is my first time in Oman and it has been a real eye-opener. The atmosphere amongst the delegates has been excellent and I have enjoyed sharing my experiences in the retail business with other delegates from all over the world.”

“I have been implementing PMTDR at my sites since March 2006. In the beginning it was quite hard to motivate my staff to adopt the programme but after some training they have adopted the PMTDR programme whole-heartedly.”

“I hold regular weekly meetings with all my staff at each retail site to discuss the results of PMTDR, to coach anyone who needs it and to share the successes of the best staff members.”

“Since introducing PMTDR my fuel volumes have increased considerably, as well as the sale of lubricants and convenience retail items. So, without a doubt, the PMTDR initiative has made a positive difference to my business.”

Alkmini StavrouAlkmini Stavrou is from Pyrgos in Greece, where she has been operating her Shell-branded site for the last two years.

She says, “I implemented PMTDR in April 2006 and since then I have seen an increase in fuel sales of more than 15 per cent. The commitment from my staff at the site has improved and I now have a lot of smiling, happy customers.

“The conference has been very well presented, managed and organised and as delegates we have wanted for nothing,” Alkmini concluded.