Capex/Plant Engineering Don’t Do the Ostrich! – Impulses for Major Plant and Engineering Projects

Author / Editor: Dominik Stephan / Dominik Stephan

With large investment projects, not everything always goes as planned: According to a recent study, 35 % of organisations abandoned a major project in the last three years. Problems such as these are no stranger to construction companies, as many pitfalls can arise between trade unions, contractors and those managing strict timetables. Reason enough for Capex 2013 to take a look under the hood of project management …

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Identifying risks and seizing opportunities: Successful project management starts when the project begins!
Identifying risks and seizing opportunities: Successful project management starts when the project begins!
(Picture: BASF SE/Detlef W. Schmalow)

“You can build anything you want. As soon as it stands, someone will come along and demand changes,” commented one participant in summarizing the dilemma that many engineers face. How large investment projects can also be successfully managed in times of stressed budgets and tight schedules was the main theme of Capex 2013.

To this end, TA Cook invited participants to the Hilton Hotel in Düsseldorf/Germany under the motto, “Successfully managing large projects”. Approximately 50 participants from the process industry and the plant construction and engineering sector arrived and used the opportunity to exchange information and converse with one another.

Head in the Sand? No Way for Plant Engineers!

A lot of money is at stake. Large engineering contractors account for a global turnover of some € 300 billion, according to a new study conducted by the German Engineering Association (VDMA). Now that Korean and Chinese contractors want a bigger piece of the action, the market for established players is becoming ever smaller. The share of Western Europe dropped by 8 % to a mere 37 % in just six years till 2012. At 17 %, Germany can still hold second place behind the USA, but for how long? Relief is also not in sight if one considers that 97 % of companies firmly believe that pressure will continue to increase.

And yet, the head-in-the-sand policy cannot serve as a model for the industry: No fewer than nine presentations sent out an important message on how large projects can be successfully managed on an international as well as local scale. From chemical giant BASF to pharmaceutical companies such as Merck, the presenters shared their experiences.

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