Dulsco: One Company, One Vision, Many Solutions

Dubai based Dulsco provide solutions to make communities more productive, effective and sustainable. CEO, David Stockton, explains how a people centred approach combined with innovative initiatives positions the organisation as a key player in the Middle East’s circular economy.

When you have a company of over 11,000 people that specialises in services ranging from aviation below the wing solutions to oil tank cleaning and from C-Suite recruitment to educating children on recycling, it takes an agile, inspiring and passionate leader to keep everyone heading in the right direction. That company is Dulsco and that leader is David Stockton.

The United Arab Emirates has developed a reputation as a place where the new worlds of technology and innovation collide with more traditional cultures and industries.

As this web of companies becomes more complex, there are only a handful of companies who are able to effectively provide the diversified spectrum of services that the market is demanding.

Like all regions, the COVID pandemic hit the Middle East hard, but the region is known for its hard working attitude, its passion and refusal to give up. By working together, companies, government and communities have been able to not only survive, but in some cases, thrive. 

Dulsco is leading this collaborative approach. Having started its story back in 1935 when it supplied blue collar workers, the integrated service provider has developed a suite of high quality offerings that leading brands rely upon.

Business Worldwide Magazine spoke with David Stockton, CEO of Dulsco, to learn more about how he leads such a diverse company through challenging times.

David, thank you for joining us. As we talk the world is opening up following a year of being impacted by COVID. Would you mind giving us an update on how Dulsco and its people have responded?

It’s obviously been a challenging time for everyone but I have to say that Dulsco is coming out of the pandemic in really good shape.

It’s been very hard work for all involved, but by focusing on the well-being of our people and our communities as well as embracing the opportunity to innovate, we’ve been able to create a large number of highlights.

That sounds interesting. Can you share a few examples of this approach in action please?

Yes of course. There are a few that come to mind. First and foremost, it was essential that we continued to take good care of our people. I set up a Covid Action Group that took on the challenge of making sure that we continued to deliver the highest possible service to our clients and partners, but never once risked our peoples’ wellbeing.

We made COVID HSE training mandatory for every employee and as our people started coming back to their places of work, we created a Return To Work kit for everyone. We wanted people to feel safe and supported at all times.

From an innovation point of view, we worked closely with local government entities to repurpose some of our equipment to create a mass spraying system to sanitise streets. We felt that this was a way that we could genuinely make our community safer for everyone. 

Leaving the pandemic to one side for a moment, you’ve seen great success at Dulsco as demonstrated by being recognised as one of the Leaders in Waste Management 2020 and as a member of the 2020 Facilities Management Power 50. What are you seeing as the big changes in your world?

I think that there are several ways in which the sector is developing but one broad concept is that of being able to be more holistic in our approach. 

By that I mean that we’ve had to think about how we can weave together different aspects of our services so that we’re able to make it simple for our clients to engage with different areas of our expertise in the way that they need to.

I’ve found that as companies grow, they can so easily end up siloing off their services in a desire to be organised. However, this can make it hard for different parts of the business to learn from each other and support one another and it can be very confusing for clients as they try and figure out how to engage with you.

We’ve also found that all our stakeholders are expecting us to set the example when it comes to thinking about our environment in a more holistic manner. 

That makes sense, David, but can you give us an example of how you’ve been able to make that a reality. 

Take EXPO 2020 for example. We were so incredibly proud when we were appointed the Official Waste Management Partner of EXPO. To earn that opportunity though we had to think well beyond just the basic expectations of the brief. 

We spent a lot of time thinking about the whole tone of the event, the ambitions of Dubai and how we could play a role in educating all involved. 

Of course we wanted to deliver the basics to the highest standard, but we also wanted to think about how we could get everyone involved in EXPO thinking differently about waste and recycling. 

We carried out extensive training of cleaners, caterers and staff to educate them on the importance of recycling and reducing waste. We worked hard to ensure that the mission to divert as much waste as possible from EXPO 2020 away from landfills was carried out successfully. We also created a Waste2Resource plant to repurpose waste material and contribute to the circular economy.

Taking this holistic approach to the challenge of waste management at EXPO has meant that we’ve been able to deliver a fantastic service as well as had a truly positive impact on the community, economy and environment.

You mention education there – is that an important part of Dulsco’s offering?

Yes and it is delivered in many different ways. We obviously provide training as a service to our clients in a whole range of areas, but beyond that we take education to all parts of the community very seriously. 

We recently created a recycled Recycling Bus that we use to engage with children and help them learn more about the importance of recycling and thinking about all aspects of our environment.

You also mentioned the importance of being agile earlier. Is it really possible for a company as big as Dulsco to be agile?

It has to be. If the last year has taught us anything, it has to be that we have to learn quickly and adapt. 

For me, that agility is something that needs to be present in our people just as much as it does in our processes and businesses. It can be quite scary to empower people to embrace change and innovation, but I’ve always believed that if you show people that you trust them and that you care about them, then they will do great things together. 

I say it to our people all the time, but for me Dulsco is not purely a service provider. We’re all about building responsible and thriving communities and the best way to do that is to do it together.