The pandemic tsunami arrived suddenly, disrupting the order of business priorities and working practices. Covid-19 forced all organizations to reshape their activities by focusing on concepts still unexplored in the working world, such as social distancing and lockdown. Some companies were better prepared: smart working, remote testing, advanced digital systems and intelligent work organization. These are the companies that, despite the pandemic, continued to tell stories of the goals achieved, reacting to difficulties with promptness, vision and sacrifice.
Obviously, a resilient organization is not created out of nothing, it requires the full trust of the employees towards the managers and vice versa, as well as towards the company itself. At the base of everyone’s motivation, for Maire Tecnimont, is the sharing of the objectives to be achieved and the provision of the best tools to do so. During the pandemic crisis and the restrictive measures that followed worldwide, we received confirmation not only of the motivation but also of the excellence of our people. All of them committed to reacting, transforming and reshaping their daily activities in order to continue their work, respecting deadlines for deliveries and inspections, even in the days of the lockdown when time seemed suspended. Women and men who, at whichever geographical latitude, through teamwork often at a distance, developed creative and innovative solutions to solve problems of various kinds. We are proud of this, but not surprised: we are well aware that the complexity of our work at Maire Tecnimont has long taught us that every day brings a new challenge. And overcoming it has made us and will continue to make us stronger.
THE TESTIMONIES OF OUR EMPLOYEES DURING THE LOCKDOWN PERIOD HIGHLIGHT THE RESILIENCE ABILITY THAT HAS PREVENTED OUR PROJECTS TO STOP. HOW DID WE DO IT? HERE ARE SOME STORIES, AMONG THE DOZENS COLLECTED, THAT HAVE SEEN COLLEAGUES FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD COMMIT THEMSELVES TO THEIR WORK DESPITE THE DIFFICULTIES.
Brave choices in remote areas
This is shown by a story set in Egypt: a very difficult choice that involved the team engaged in the project of the Kima Fertilizer Complex. «It is March 15 - say Pawan Gambhir (Project Manager) and Mauro Attuati Travostino (Site Manager) - when the Egyptian government announces the closure of the international airport and the suspension of flights, leaving us with two choices: return home to our families at such a complex time or stay and conduct the performance test scheduled for a few days later. Staying meant not knowing when we could return home. But leaving would have meant postponing the long-awaited test indefinitely, putting the plant and its activities at risk. After making a detailed analysis of the situation, in the end our team decided to stay on site
to complete the test on March 22. Self-motivation, commitment and resilience were what made the difference».
The same adaptability and courage convinced the team of the ZCINA GPL Train 4 Project to maintain the isolation of the camp where they work, located in a remote area of the Algerian desert. «To prevent any risk of contamination - explain Alfredo Montigliani (Project Manager) and Davide Roldo (Site Manager) - in addition to adopting the strict HSE guidelines of the Group, all the Friday trips that the staff would make to the nearest city were interrupted. In a nutshell, there was complete commitment to the project, without exceptions».
The importance of high performance and advanced technologies
Stories documenting how the investments and progress made in the technologies shared by the Group have been fundamental to completing complex activities during the health emergency. This is the case in the management of the remote walk around using Smart Helmet, narrated by Enrico Anzoino (Layout & Piping Manager): on that occasion the team members of the PDH Tobolsk project, in the Russian Federation, accompanied the customer to the plant virtually, managing to provide all the necessary technical suggestions.
An experience also shared by Claudio Cristofori, Process Control & Automation Manager: «I am happy to share the latest results on digital technologies and remote connections used during the Baytown Project in Texas. The Tecnimont Automation team planned to perform the Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) of the control and security systems of the plant exclusively by remote, with an approach that would contain the overall cost of the project. As a result, we have been able to verify the remote system configuration, performing a complete system test, from the virtual loop check activities to the validation of the control strategy, through to the display-operator check. Following the approach of this remote test, the team has also developed new tools to share the test results internally among the parties involved (EPC contractor, End User, System Vendor) in real-time, allowing us to immediately observe the progress and corrections that need to be made to the system configuration».
Beyond the comfort zone
The difficulties also lead to this: finding the courage to improve and overcome their comfort zones, sometimes taking on new responsibilities. Stefano Scaramelli knows this well, working with Maire Tecnimont in the Amur Gas Processing Plant UI&O Project in remote Siberia. «Due to the travel restrictions imposed by Italy and the Russian Federation, our Site Project Director and the Construction Director are temporarily absent from the site. Therefore, in addition to maintaining my original position as Project Control Manager, I am now acting as Site Director at the head of a staff of 245 people. An experience that has pushed me to make many important decisions to ensure the safety and psychological well-being of our employees».
And precisely to ensure the psycho-physical well-being of workers, Gupta Gopal, communications specialist at Tecnimont India, explains the launch of a communication campaign aimed at employees working from home during the lockdown in India. «The objective is to keep everyone involved, healthy and productive. Our campaign contains a number of messages such as time management, positive attitude, meditation, exercise and even cooking, which can be done either with family members or alone. Our colleagues have received a daily online card with several ideas about the suggestion of the day».
The strength of solidarity
The messages of Tecnimont India’s communication campaign highlight a fundamentally valuable aspect of facing difficulties: the strength of relationships. Here is a story of solidarity, of friendship between two countries, whose title is a proverb: “The man who moves a mountain begins by taking away small stones”. The main characters are KT - Kinetics Technology, a Maire Tecnimont Group company, and China Chemical Engineering, chosen to play the role of Second Construction Company (CCESCC) as subcontractor of the Luanda refinery expansion project in Angola. From the very beginning of the collaboration, the Italian and Chinese teams have established a strong spirit of cooperation that not even the pandemic has been able to affect. China was the first country to face the Covid-19 epidemic, and in that period KT and CCESCC continued to work together to ensure the continuity of the project. Days when our team was always concerned about and interested in the health conditions of our Chinese colleagues. Then Covid-19 spread to Italy. What happened then? CCESCC helped us by sending 5,000 masks by surprise. A gesture of great generosity and solidarity from a country already hard hit by the pandemic.
The best words to close this journey, among the thousand forms that resilience has taken in Maire Tecnimont, are those of the Director of the BCEP project - Baytown (Texas USA), Carlo Bussi: «The people of Tecnimont and their families are strong and resilient. We know how to adapt to changing circumstances, becoming stronger together as we face the new challenges we encounter. We know how to face a Mission Impossible, all around the world: from Milan to Houston, Mumbai to Tampico».
History teaches resilience