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PSMAS Updates their Service Centre and Corporate Image

PSMAS (Premier Service Medical Aid Society) has over the last two years embarked on a major turnaround programme. PSMAS was founded way back in 1930 and is the oldest Medical Aid Society in the country. Sadly in recent years they have been struggling to provide adequate services for their membership and some health practitioners were reluctant to treat patients when they presented their PSMAS cards. The company was struggling under huge historical debt, massive inflation rates for drugs, stagnant membership numbers and a host of other problems. However, under the leadership of Eng. Tendai Kapumha (Managing Director) the organisation has undergone a huge restructuring programme and is well on the way to recovering its former glory. Not only has the organisational structure been shaken up and improved they have also improved their own facilities for the benefit of their clients. Their headquarters on George Silundika Avenue (between Third and Simon Muzenda) was officially opened in 1998. The building still looks quite modern from the outside, with exposed steel structures, curved balconies, a geometric A-framed portico over the entrance and a tiled blue and white facade, but the interior needed major refurbishment to accommodate the new streamlined and more efficient business model.

The refurbishment of their headquarters has been undertaken in several phases. The first, and probably the most important, stage was the restructuring of the way services are provided for their members. Previously various departments were scattered around on different floors and members would be forced to traipse around all over the building. PSMAS engaged local company Metamorphosis AIDPM (Architectural Interior Design and Project Management) to create a new well co-ordinated, one stop Service Centre which would be much more convenient. PSMAS’s brief to Metamorphosis was to create a bright, modern and airy space which was immediately appealing and attractive on approach from the lift or the staircase. To achieve this the solid wall separating the lift foyer from the central desk is deep blue – the colour taken from the PSMAS logo – with ultra modern perforated aluminium sheeting, laser cut aluminium lettering and a 12mm toughened glass top. The new design also incorporated closing in the first floor curved balcony with glass panels to add extra floor space.

The Service Centre was opened out to the first floor atrium to provide a pleasant outdoor overflow waiting area. The floor was tiled with white nonslip tiles with black tile detail strips following the shape of the desk and subtly suggesting the circular pedestrian traffic flow. Circular bulkheads with downlighters and concealed red strip lights reinforce the circular flow. There’s ample seating both inside and outside in the atrium as well as a series of comfortable interview booths off to one side. new Service Centre was replaced with modern glass and aluminium partitioning and a wider doorway, and the structural gap overlooking the reception was similarly glassed in. A circular central Client Services desk was installed, so members can work their way around the different services.

The Service Centre was inaugurated in 2016 and encompasses four main departments: Membership Registration, Payments, Authorisation and Queries all located in the west wing of the first floor. The second phase of the refurbishments, completed in 2017, included the Service Centre extension or interview area situated in the east wing of the first floor, and the ground floor reception area. The extension provides more private booths where members can discuss their health issues with PSMAS staff. The ground floor entrance and reception was extensively redesigned by Metamorphosis to be more practical as well as being more attractive and promoting a positive brand image. The entrance facade was completely restructured and the interior space enlarged. The old facade was a sort of horizontal V shape with two entrances set at 90 degrees to each other – one for staff and one for members.

Metamorphosis extended the interior space by creating a single flat glass and aluminium wall situated at the outermost point of the V shape. The additional space created has been used to provide seating space for the public. The front glass panels have been fitted with welcoming graphic images printed onto perforated vinyl or Contra Vision. The vinyl appears solid from the exterior but it’s see-through from inside and allows light in to the reception. There are still two separate entrances but it’s now much more inviting for the public. Metamorphosis designed a curved reception desk which echoes the upstairs Service Centre desk.

The reception desk is bright red (the colour also taken from the PSMAS logo) and similarly clad with perforated aluminium and it also has a 12 mm glass counter top. The original black and grey granite panelling on the walls has been retained but Metamorphosis has installed a backdrop behind the desk made up of plasterboard painted in a mustard yellow central panel with deep blue pillars on either side. The overall effect is bright, cheerful and funky while still maintaining a smart and serious corporate image. Again, curved bulkheads with recessed downlighters suggest the way pedestrian traffic should flow towards the stairs and the elevator.

Phase three of the refurbishments included the new 24 hour call centre located on the second floor, an innovation in line with PSMAS’s modernisation programme. It’s geared towards providing the best and most convenient service for members at all times. Although the facilities are complete the Call Centre will only be operational later this year once all the necessary equipment has been fully installed. Phase four, which is currently under construction, will be a training centre for staff which will include a small library, and a kitchen and dining area. Metamorphosis has achieved these remarkable improvements often working under difficult conditions.

The premises were still fully operational during the renovations meaning that generally only light work could be done during business hours with much of the work done at night or over the weekends. In addition foreign currency restrictions made the importation of imported materials more difficult. Other recent successful projects undertaken by Metamorphosis include Steward Bank Masvingo Branch, National Aids Council Head Office, Steward Bank Platinum Branch Bradfield Bulawayo, Steward Bank Joina City Branch, and ZPC Hwange Guest House Extension, among others.

PSMAS has also introduced a brand new Wellness Corner which offers free advice on healthy lifestyle modification, nutrition, stress management, exercise. They also provide information about dealing with chronic conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes and managing cholesterol levels. The recent success of the restructuring of PSMAS’s corporate organisation and the improvement to their company image will ensure that the company will continue to grow and provide top quality service for their members.

text by Michael Nott

photos by S&D




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