7 consultants advise: your business perspectives during and after the pandemic

17.09.2020

Risk and opportunity management are vital for ensuring the continuity of your business. With their background in engineering and cost estimation, economics and international relations, seven Bilfinger Tebodin leading consultants from Central & Eastern Europe share their expert opinion on the current market and diversified services, both being adopted to new challenges: prior, during, and after the pandemic.

Łukasz Warzec, Consultancy Director in Central & Eastern Europe, over 15 years of consultancy management experience, environmental protection and geology

About Lukasz: Environment is my passion. Moreover, I see it as a big business influencer in most industrial projects. I have undertaken numerous pre-acquisition environmental due diligence audits for developers and investors. Major topics were a site history, soil and groundwater contamination, environmental and health & safety management systems, compliance, air emissions, hazardous substances handling and storage.

How to reduce costs at the stage of site selection? Right now business owners are focused on current operations, aiming to optimize all processes and minimize overspends. However, I expect them to come back to new investments soon, and I have some good advice on how to make it at minimum costs and maximum effectiveness.

When it comes to an after-crisis investment, you naturally look for the cheapest option. From the perspective of site selection– greenfield or brownfield – it means investing in brownfields. Those sites definitely have an environmental past and history, they often happen to be contaminated. Once you buy such piece of land, you are left to deal with consequences yourself. However, there are ways to use it for your own benefit and reduce the costs. A qualified consultant with a broad knowledge can advise to buy a proper piece, calculating all hidden spends to make it feasible.

In many cases, we helped clients to save a fortune on that. During the acquisition process, I recommend Phase 1 environmental due diligence to check the history of the site and find out if there are any risks connected with the air pollution, soil and ground water contamination. This procedure is followed by Phase 2 environmental assessment. To assess the costs and risks of contamination, we drill bore holes, collect soil and ground water samples and more. My team knows those details in and out. If we see that there is a risk for human health, we offer a remediation scope. Combining the knowledge of local regulations and requirements with a global experience, we define the methodology and provide support with permitting or contacting local authorities for official decisions. In the end, you get a win-win solution with your site safe and your costs reduced.

Contact Lukasz: lukasz.warzec*Den Text zwischen den * loeschen, dies ist ein Spamschutz*@bilfinger.com

Paweł Mielnik, Lean Business Process Improvement Manager in Central & Eastern Europe, over 17 years of experience in production process design and supply chain optimizations

About Pawel: I started at Bilfinger Tebodin as Business Process Improvement Manager with a lean production design and value stream mapping. My principal task was creation and implementation of best practice logistics and process engineering strategy, policies, processes and procedures, expanding this service across Central & Eastern Europe. This led me to being a supply chain expert — a service that becomes more and more important in the operation of industries.

Why is the supply chain a hot topic today? With the recent changes, supply chain has become a headache for many companies. I always offer to treat it as an exciting opportunity and embrace the change. Today we have experts and technologies to release your headache, making your supply chain and logistic processes as efficient and transparent, as you could not dream of.

Are you sure your production can’t go faster? Imagine trucks not standing in a queue, manual work reduced to minimum, production hall rearranged in a more convenient way to keep the ‘flow’ of your processes. My passion is a supply chain network, designed end-to-end. With my team, we deliver a complete functional solution, sometimes even without a need to attend a factory. In most cases, the proposed solutions help our clients save up to 20% of operational costs. Here are top 10 services I see most relevant today, with which we are ready to support you, no matter where the production plant is located:

1. InLOG Layout design | 2. VSM visualization | 3. Inbound/outbound setup | 4. Production Process optimization | 5. Solutions for IoT and Industry 4.0 | 6. Warehouse design and analysis | 7. Supply chain optimization (Xdocks, Synergy) | 8. Standard work — operational procedures | 9. Process automatization — system integration | 10. Organizational structure — HC optimization

Contact Pawel: pawel.mielnik*Den Text zwischen den * loeschen, dies ist ein Spamschutz*@bilfinger.com

Lucie Kybalova, Head of Consultancy in the Czech Republic, over 13 years of core experience in procurement, cost control and bank monitoring

About Lucie: I treat price and cost as gods of construction, understanding investor’s challenges to the core. Since 2007, I made my journey at Bilfinger Tebodin from a budget specialist to a cost controller on the site, procurement specialist, bank monitor and a CAPEX cost estimator with the knowledge of Central and Eastern European market.

What is the secret of saving? Cost is the king. Management is the queen. Once you manage a project and production carefully, the king will be happy and secure.

I’ve been in the shoes of Procurement specialist on investor’s side, so I clearly imagine the challenges our clients are facing now. The supply chain goes through tough times, prices are hard to fix or predict, and the investment depends a lot on the contractors’ behaviour through the crisis. In these realities, a proper cost management comes first. I would add that with the Green Deal across Europe, second comes the environmental aspect.

At Bilfinger Tebodin, we have been monitoring the cost environment across Europe long-term. Where to build, which options to explore, what not to forget considering country specifics — those questions are only possible to answer based on the experience and lessons learned. The best advice is to anticipate and lower risks as much as possible through mitigation measures and right contingencies approach. Involvement of a technical and environmental consultant is a key to guarantee a safe guided tour through your investment and production.

Contact Lucie: lucie.kybalova*Den Text zwischen den * loeschen, dies ist ein Spamschutz*@bilfinger.com

Olga Belova, Consultancy Director in Russia, over 13 years of experience in consultancy

About Olga: I joined Bilfinger Tebodin in 2015, developing a unique team to create the best fit for our clients’ challenges. In the end, people are our treasure, and repetitive clients are my best green-light indicator. Those are two things that really matter.

What is noticed among recent project requests? Market is turning towards solutions that are lean, green and sustainable. From my perspective, this trend is even stronger during Covid-19, as our clients are interested in optimization of ‘wastes’. Wastes can be anything: resources, space, energy, or even time. That all can be optimized for the client’s benefit. For one of our clients from a food sector we have come with a lean design solution for their storage premises, enabling them to maximize their storage capacity at a minimum cost.

During the pandemic, digitalization has gone further than ever, and we took the challenge. It’s been proven we can do site visits from a distance using digital tools, e.g. cameras or drones, and work from home without losing the productivity. Yet we have much more inside Bilfinger to adopt for the needs of our clients with digital solutions. That is an exciting tour we can guide them through!

Contact Olga: olga.belova*Den Text zwischen den * loeschen, dies ist ein Spamschutz*@bilfinger.com

Michał Szczęsny, Project Manager in Poland, 12 years of experience in project management, bank monitoring and supervision

About Michal: Since 2008 at Bilfinger Tebodin, I managed both commercial and big industrial projects as a project manager, as well as I acted as a bank monitor, focusing just to one single target — doing the best for the client’s business success.

Should we wait with investments during the crisis? I tend to avoid the word ‘crisis’. Economies are in constant movement from slowdown to prosperity — in the cycle from worse to better times. What is happening now is a slowdown, and it can be used to your benefit, as it comprises opportunities to pay less. My team and I are monitoring investments in Poland, and I notice that now prices have stabilized. If you start the works during the economic slowdown, once the good times come you will have a business in operation and will be ahead of your competitors.

To do this, I would start step by step — not with a big EPC contract (as EPC contractors now hesitate to fix prices) but with the formal decisions, designing, securing financing, inquiry for general contractors prices. It can be done internally or better - with support from a project management consultancy company and an experienced cost consultant.

For sure, an investor should observe particular market trends in his/her sphere. For instance, some commercial businesses have slowed down, so investments into e.g. office buildings, shopping malls or hotels require consideration. At the same time, it is a good moment to start construction of industrial or logistic buildings. In Poland large scale infrastructure projects are still ongoing and more are expected, since it is a logical step during the slowdown. Governments plan public projects, so investors may consider their involvement into public-private partnerships

Contact Michal: michal.szczesny*Den Text zwischen den * loeschen, dies ist ein Spamschutz*@bilfinger.com

Karolina Szymanowska, Senior Engineer and consultant at Bilfinger Tebodin in Poland, HVAC expert

About Karolina: My prior professional interests cover HVAC systems and renewable energy. At Bilfinger Tebodin, I have been an engineer, manager and consultant. Those three roles are best, when combined. It results in a winning combination of the technical, economical and operational visions of the same project.

How to ensure a facility is safe from Covid-19 or other biological hazards? We see that our clients struggle to minimize the risks for their people. It is possible — good practices are already in place. Some companies have to rearrange their factories and offices in order to prevent the transmission of the virus and keep operating safely whatever external risk comes. This includes not only the plant structural changes; sometimes organizational adjustments are required.

For instance, the first step towards a plant biological safety is dividing the workers into shifts and providing as much separation between the groups as possible. If one shift gets an active case, it will not affect the whole workforce and the production process may continue. When it comes to engineering solutions, a good idea is to start with ventilation. Modern open space environments usually have it designed into a one single system, although the new pandemic realities require a totally opposite approach — to either separate the flows of air, or in some cases to resign from heats recovery even though it would increase energy demand.

The pandemic has also triggered a trend for “piece of a pie” investments instead of the big ones to save the costs. I foresee some risks that may follow in this regard. A comprehensive approach to modernization is the best way to do it right. Now business owners tend to build multiple small assets, change or rearrange their facilities ASAP without a harmonized plan, responding to short-term market opportunities. Such approach does not really help savings; it only leads to extra costs and future safety risks. This might be avoided by involving a reliable consultant, who would step in with a long-term optimization strategy that will pay off in the future.

Contact Karolina: karolina.szymanowska*Den Text zwischen den * loeschen, dies ist ein Spamschutz*@bilfinger.com

Oksana Cherinko, Consultancy Director in Ukraine, 25 years of experience with International Finance Institutions (IFIs) and international donors in projects preparation, independent assessments, monitoring and audits, M&A transactions

About Oksana: For over 20 years with the company, I may evidence that continuity in our local and regional operation and adjustment to market opportunities does bring added value. With background in finance and economics, I am enjoying being part of the consulting engineer world and leading multi-expert teams formed both from international and local experts. My own values are constructive approach and partnership. With many clients, colleagues and partners we work together for decades complementing each other and exploring new opportunities and markets, together.

How is Covid-19 reshaping the market and what are the long-term trends? We are monitoring Covid-19 impacts on businesses, FDI, construction and industry, it is available on our webpage. Generally, we consider Covid-19 as an opportunity for further digitalization of own and clients’ operations. It is a boost for building effective communication schemes and new cooperation strategies.

Within the recent ongoing projects in Ukraine, we observe increased activities of investors in inland and coastal agro-industrial facilities, port terminals and infrastructure, industrial and oil & gas assets’ optimization, and various private-public partnership initiatives. Many successful investment cases and our clients’ opportunistic vision are supported by Ukrainian political and economic drive towards the EU integration and increased inflow of international financial support for innovative and environmental friendly technologies.

Under planning of investment and searching for financing, our advice is to account global, European and regional long-term agenda such as new industrial strategy, energy transition, climate resilience and “greening” of infrastructure and cities as well as comprehensive accounting of social impact. Such strategic approach helps to plan and implement sustainably successful and valuable investments.

Contact Oksana: oksana.cherinko*Den Text zwischen den * loeschen, dies ist ein Spamschutz*@bilfinger.com