Antonio Villarreal
Director General of Axioma
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Insight

Innovation Key for Project Management Success

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 17:19

As the Mexican construction industry continues to evolve, the demand for qualified project managers increases, and along with that comes competition. Because project managers do not sell a product but services, Antonio Villarreal, Director General of Axioma, says that the key factor that will differentiate project management companies in the future is their ability to innovate.
“According to KPMG, 49 percent of Mexican companies will have at least one project fail. In construction, a successful project is measured by its timely completion, within budget and that it meets the client's expectations. This fast-evolving economy demands continuous innovation,” he explains.
Innovation in construction can be achieved through the improvement of products, processes, construction systems and designs and according to Villarreal, developers and investors are becoming more demanding in terms of construction quality, times and, of course, lower costs with higher returns. Villarreal believes the potential of the Mexican construction industry is immense and that each year more investors choose to place their money in Mexico. According to INEGI, in 2Q18 FDI increased 14 percent in comparison to the previous year, despite the cloud of uncertainty generated by the presidential elections and the NAFTA renegotiation.
One of the most alluring sectors for investors has been the Mexican real estate market and he says it is important that companies innovate through continuous improvement and creativity. “Mexico invests less than 1 percent of GDP in innovation while the international standard is 2 percent. Axioma is trying to break the mold and constantly invest a percentage of its earnings in innovation,” Villarreal explains. “But we are aware that innovation in the construction industry is a long-term process and it requires a great deal of work.”
When asked to define a successful project management firm, Villarreal says that it must understand the business of its client to fully understand how to manage it. This philosophy has helped Axioma expand from its Monterrey roots to new markets across the country and to gain the trust of many small, medium and large developers. Axioma has participated in projects such as Saqqara Residential tower in Monterrey, Sukarne plant in Durango, CFRSO Ramos Arzipe with Black Rock and the platforms for BMW plant with Artha Capital.
Although there are many advantages to innovating, it is not always easy to do, says Villarreal. “The main challenges companies face when approaching innovation is the lack of information and knowledge,” he says. “Axioma integrates project management strategies from other industries and adapts those to the current situation. We use lean construction, design thinking and other strategies to promote innovation internally.”
The construction sector itself demands the integration of technologies such as BIM to ensure projects run smoothly. These technologies are the right hand of any project manager. Human capital also is extremely important to determine success in the construction sector and, according to Villarreal, there are many challenges ahead for project management players.
“There is a bright future ahead for the Mexican construction industry and a great deal to learn. Yet there are many things for which we can provide better solutions and improve,” he says. “The construction industry continues to be dominated by large companies that often make it difficult for smaller-sized companies to keep up. This makes the retention of human capital even more challenging.”