Jul 20, 2012
Consulting company recommends discipline-orientated project management to industryBack
Engineering|Expertise|Africa|Consulting|GIBB Group|Packaging|PROJECT|Project Management|Projects|Systems|Africa|South Africa|Building|Discipline-orientated Project Management|Packaging|Project Management|Service|Systems|Value Chain|Infrastructure|Power|Richard Vries|Information Technology
© Reuse this
“We focus purely on developing and managing engineering-related projects, as this is where our expertise lies. Our experience and expertise in this area have put us in a strong competitive position, given our understanding of the full value chain of a project,” he states.
Vries notes that discipline-orientated project management has also prevented the company from being affected by the shortage of skilled project managers in the country.
“It is our way of mitigating the challenge as well as the problem that comes with it – not meeting client expectations. We hire employees with years of experience who have worked their way up in the engineering industry.
“If we are hiring a project manager for a power station project, for example, we ensure the person has experience in that particular discipline. Project management at GIBB is not simply about administering software – it is about understanding the value chain of the entire process,” he says.
Vries says that problems arise when companies hire nondiscipline project managers.
“When a project manager is hired to manage a type of project he or she has never managed before, problems arise. For example, hiring an information technology project manager to manage the building of a dam will result in the person not knowing exactly what to do. He or she will then rely on the software, or other people, to try to get by,” he explains.
Vries states that discipline-orientated project management should be a solution not only for GIBB, but also for the rest of the industry.
“When hiring a project manager, companies must ask applicants what experience they have in that particular field [which empowers them] to know what needs to happen on site.
“It is not only about the project management qualification; it is about discipline-related experience as well,” he stresses.
“The biggest problem we face is managing timeframes and budgets, as projects in the engineering discipline tend to be large scale.
“Time and budget management are probably the most important criteria for our clients and large projects make it a huge challenge to ensure we deliver what is promised within the allocated time and budget,” says Vries.
Scoping and packaging the project is another challenge.
“Take the building of a dam, for example. There are so many unknown elements when the project starts. You can never, with absolute accuracy, predict what you might find when digging the tunnel or what other unexpected challenges may arise.
“This makes scoping the project and the budget another challenge for us. This is where our experience in the industry comes in. We can rely on past experience and expertise to help us face the challenges and ensure our client is satisfied,” he says.
Further, Vries points out that GIBB’s clients, particularly outside South Africa, are often also faced with funding challenges.
“The need is there to build the infrastructure but the funds are not.
“On the other hand, we see a lot of financiers wanting to fund infrastructure projects. The challenge for us is to bring the two together,” he explains.
This is an area where he feels the company is develop- ing strong capabilities and expertise.
“We have the industry knowledge to tell financiers where they can spend the money and we can foster the relationship to benefit our clients as well,” he says.
“Project management plays a key role in service delivery. A lack of service delivery leads to political instability. We have seen it in our own country.
“We need more project man- agers who understand this role and who can deliver, so that when the politicians make promises, they are promises that can be delivered on,” he says.
Experience, task orienta- tion, strong commercial orientation, industry knowledge and extensive knowledge of project-management delivery techniques are Vries’s criteria for a successful project manager.
“At GIBB, we have a structured process that our project managers must go through to become a project leader or project director. This ensures they are sufficiently trained and experienced,” he says.
“We are aiming to develop our software, internal quality controls and other systems into a real science. With large projects, the work can become very complicated. There are ways and means of monitoring and managing a project in a simpler way than what we are currently doing. We want to find those ways and means.
“We also plan to develop the human capabilities in the company by improving the technical and project-management skills of our people. We also continue to recruit top engineers and project man- agers from all over the world to come on board with us,” he says.
Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Project Management News
A project management company must thoroughly understand the needs of the client before it can successfully manage an engineering and construction project on behalf of the client, says engineering and construction company Fluor South Africa project director Arnout van...
Updated 12 minutes ago US energy firm Chevron will shut down its 100 000 bl/d South African oil refinery in Cape Town from February 13 to March 31 for routine maintenance and safety inspections, the company said on Friday. "Chevron has made contingency plans to mitigate potential...
Updated 36 minutes ago Days of rolling blackouts this week have blighted South African society and business, and they face an increasing number of outages in years to come. But the alternative, a grid collapse, could be catastrophic. Bordered by tiny, war-scarred or impoverished states...
Updated 1 hour 26 minutes ago Petrochemicals giant Sasol, which typically incinerates its waste sludge streams or sends them to hazardous waste sites, is increasing its use of composting to treat these streams at its Secunda plant, in Mpumalanga, reducing transportation and disposal costs, as...
Recent Research Reports
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
This Week's Magazine
The international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope – which is to be jointly hosted by South Africa and Australia with, later, outstations in other countries – may not yet exist, but international scientific working groups are already deciding what...
A free Web-based solar power plant capacity-planning tool offers project planners and developers, as well as governments, a means to assess the solar energy potential of thin-film solar PV power over an area of land. The tool was developed by thin-film solar...
As yet, no specific methodology, timeline or costs have been finalised to remedy the water ingress, excessive to contractual specifications, into the Gautrain tunnel between emergency shaft two (E2) and Park Station, says Bombela Concession Company technical and...
The “seriously disruptive” electricity outages in South Africa have cost packaging group Astrapak more than R2-million in “irrecoverable downtime costs”, the company said on Monday, adding that the power cuts were negating some of the benefit of energy saving...
Bakkies and more affordable cars dominated South Africa’s new vehicle market in 2014. Unaudited data from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) shows that South Africa’s most popular vehicle in 2014 was the Toyota Hilux, selling 37 562 units.