Project management at the engineering firm BDI – BioEnergy International

Challenge

A bio-diesel plant to be constructed in Hong Kong harbor was to set new standards, not only with regard to technology, but also the sustainable use of waste materials. After project delays and disunity among the stakeholders with regard to the additional costs incurred, it was necessary to find a viable cost solution and quickly complete the plant.

Result

Globalise ensured that the project was successfully completed by motivating the multinational contact partners to work together and leading the project negotiations with great skill in conflict resolution. Globalise also contributed to the optimum distribution of costs with a newly developed approach.

Interview with
Markus Dielacher
CTO, BDI – BioEnergy International

“The project required skills in engineering, project management and cooperation with multinational stakeholders. We knew very well that Hong Kong is no ordinary place.”

Why did you call in Globalise?

Our extensive experience with technology, in planning and construction means that we usually manage projects independently in-house until turnkey delivery. In Hong Kong, we quickly realized that the local culture and environment would have a significant impact on the progress of the project. In this situation it was sensible to entrust project management to an interim manager with experience of Asia, who would address the cooperation of all partners holistically.

Nevertheless, you initially managed the project on your own.

Yes, and as long as the critical processes were related to our own sphere of activity, this was the right decision. At the actual place where it all happened, on the construction site in Hong Kong itself, we were confronted with unusual situations that required special experiences and a new approach.

“Although the administrative procedures in Hong Kong are very proper, they are not very transparent for foreigners. The Globalise manager really helped us here.”

Project management at the engineering firm BDI – BioEnergy International

“The Globalise manager suggested very innovative solutions and assumed a mediator role that was key for the success of the project.”

What were the issues that the Globalise manager was employed to resolve?

The contractor had wanted the plant to be constructed partly by our own specialists and partly by local subcontractors. We then realized that the local workers were used to much tighter control of progress by the project management than was necessary for our other projects. Some decisions could also only be made be someone who knew Hong Kong well: for example, how long you can continue to work on a construction site after a typhoon has been forecast.

Did the Globalise manager have to solve cultural rather than technical problems, then?

Naturally, he had expertise in engineering projects, but he also had the ability to motivate the multinational partners to work together. The Globalise manager quickly succeeded in getting the local partners to effectively support overall success in those areas in which local institutions simply have better access and leverage.

Was the Globalise manager able to make this connection?

Yes, he did so very well - we got exactly the right man for the job. The Globalise manager’s suitability was not just obvious from his résumé (a German engineer with in-depth project management experience in the construction of large-scale facilities and many years experience of living in China), but also his personal style of leadership.

“Globalise gave us exactly the right man for the job - it wasn’t just his résumé that was convincing, but also his personal style of leadership.”

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