Ernesto Rosas Ramírez
Mexico Business Director
KLB Group
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View from the Top

Talent Development Essential to Project Management

By Pedro Alcalá | Fri, 11/26/2021 - 12:53

Q: How would you describe the process through which KLB Group developed its service portfolio?

A: KLB Group was established in 1995 in Paris, through the efforts of its founders Flavien Kulawik and Jean-Marc Le Breton, with the company name being an acronym of their last names. They recognized that many companies had trouble implementing their projects and managing their development. The methods employed were incorrect and their objectives remained unfulfilled. We focus on the company’s projects and provide a variety of services. We look to implement objectives that are defined at the beginning of a project and that need to be completed by the end. We want our clients to have a clear vision of each objective’s reach and also its limitations. This is the basis of KLB’s growth, first within France from 1995 to 2000, then internationally across Europe from 2000 to 2009. Since 2009, we have started offices in Canada, Brazil and Mexico in 2014.

Our service portfolio is based on three principles. The first is pragmatism. We want projects that deliver practical and tangible results to our clients, so that they can create a reliable traceability of its execution. The second principle is flexibility as most of the projects require flexibility to be achieved. The third principle is compliance and fulfillment. We make sure projects are taken to their ultimate completion under the terms agreed upon with our clients. In regard to compliance, we are always aware of the latest legal developments in terms of labor regulation, fiscal requirements and financial guidelines.       

Q: What led you to Mexico’s oil and gas industry and how did you identify its most important needs?

A: When we began working in Mexico in 2014, we focused on infrastructure, construction and energy projects. Back then, we were more focused on renewable energy projects, such as wind and solar farms, along with power generation projects like combined cycle power plants. We even worked on some gas pipelines. This was the core of our business in Mexico until 2018, when we identified the attractiveness of the country’s oil and gas sector. We opened our first office in Ciudad del Carmen and worked on offshore projects. In 2019, we began working under our first contract, managing a project to oversee the supply of specialized equipment to construction vessels. This led us to our first projects on offshore platforms. In 2020, we began working with the leader of Mexico’s ultra-deepwater projects, including the crewing of a drillship near Tampico.

Q: What is the main value that you bring to these projects through the combination of your human resources and project management services? 

A: There are three main competencies that we bring to the table. The first is selection. When a client tells us what their project’s issues are, we begin selecting the person they need onboard, the kind of technical qualifications they must have and the skills that are required. There is no effective project execution without effective talent selection, management and development; we firmly believe that. The second competency is troubleshooting. We work with many clients who have never worked in Mexico before and end up getting lost in the country’s national context. They need a reliable partner that will comply with all applicable regulations and best practices. We address the performance of our clients’ project execution through efficient troubleshooting. Our third competency is delegation. Our clients might know what needs to be done and may have no desire to manage certain skills in-house or through their own processes and structure. That is where we come in. They can rely on us to delegate tasks by choosing the right subcontractor or outsourcer to support them. Our financing is completely private. We are not part of any investment fund with no financial debt, which provides us a high investment capacity when a project requires it. With a turnover of US$43 million, an expected growth of 20% for 2021 and over 700 professionals, we are confident in our capacity to keep growing in Mexico. Being financially independent is also allowing us to work both with small and medium companies as well as the largest IOCs, and adapt to each of their expectations.

Q: In regard to specialized projects and vessels, such as the drillship, how do you manage the transition from foreign crews to larger degrees of national content?

A: We have to consider that some of these projects have never taken place in Mexico, so much of the training and talent development necessary to bring up local content levels needs to be done from the ground up. The drillship project was either the first or second of its kind in Mexico. As a result, there was a real lack of specialized resources in Mexico to crew this drillship and we had to be honest with our clients about this issue. A certain level of technical and safety training is necessary to board this ship. This means that the necessary certifications were also scarce in Mexico. Our talent selection process led us to find the people who were closest to the profile we were looking for regarding this type of project, as well as closing gaps in terms of training and certifications.

 

KLB Group is a French operational consulting firm specialized in Project Implementation. They assist their clients with their purchasing, supply chain, finance, HR, IT and construction projects.

Pedro Alcalá Pedro Alcalá Senior Journalist & Industry Analyst