Perseverance, Adaptation Drive Success in Challenging YearBy Pedro Alcalá | Thu, 07/08/2021 - 13:44
Q: What are the most important lessons learned from 2020?
A: COVID-19 affected all companies in the sector equally. The biggest lesson we learned was perseverance, and we were able to keep all of our projects at a global level. We kept operational interruptions to a minimum. We faced challenging situations in different parts of the world but we began working through a framework based on adaptation to the unusual environmental and contextual challenges that we find in different working locations. We were able to sail through 2020 without absorbing any substantial negative impacts. We also avoided any major setbacks in terms of the health and safety of our employees, while maintaining regulatory compliance with all environmental matters. In general, we closed the year with positive results considering the circumstances.
Q: What were the most important challenges the company overcame with its ongoing work with Hokchi?
A: Our work continues to expand and evolve in various directions. We continue to assist them with the supervision of their engineering, particularly at their plant in Paraiso, Tabasco. One challenge was to begin early production while the plant was still being built, which we executed successfully. But we did experience unexpected roadblocks on this project in 2020. For example, the number of our personnel on-site had to be limited as testing protocols were put in place.
In general, our work became more challenging than we expected due to the pandemic but we were able to make sure that work was unaffected. We are known to work with speed and agility, especially when it comes to delivering projects. The pandemic forced us to adjust to delays. We had to guarantee the constant on-site presence of certified experts who could supervise and approve engineering operations at the highest standards. Our ability to do so was limited by the pandemic’s quarantine and travel restrictions, so we had to broaden the networks of experts that we could rely on. We also received assistance from our personnel in Italy. As a result, our response time became quicker than usual during the pandemic.
Q: How is the company increasing its local content?
A: We begin with training programs for local personnel to build a base of common knowledge that makes communications and coordination more agile. We work under a flexible and efficient model that minimizes meetings and redundant orders, messages or other forms of communication. Sometimes, that can result in a bit of a culture clash with local business customs, which has happened in Mexico. We also make sure to have senior experts oversee the process as each project enters a critical phase and train personnel during our work. This structure has allowed us to increase our local content levels, since every employee gets involved in training sessions, from managers to technicians and manual laborers. The percentage of Mexican workers in our projects now ranges from 93 to 96 percent.
When it comes to local content for material used in construction and engineering, we find Mexico to be an incredibly resourceful location. In this sense, we have found it easy to work here. The technologies and the qualified talent we need have all turned out to be readily available. We have also found service providers that help us fulfill our projects’ needs. By combining this local procurement with carefully planned logistics that could absorb the delays caused by quarantine and testing periods, we were able to normalize our operations in the midst of the crisis.
DG Impianti Industriali is an Italian engineering, project management and maintenance firm founded in the 1960s with a specialty in the petrochemical sector but that has expanded into the entire oil and gas value chain.