Respond, Recover, Thrive
As the world tackles the health and socioeconomic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Abu Dhabi’s Euro Mechanical continues to make progress on projects and diversify its operations
Writer: Tom Wadlow | Project Manager: Ryan Gray
The year 2020 will be remembered as the year the world shut down to contain coronavirus.
No matter where you look, almost every industry has been disrupted in almost all corners of the earth – from tourism and manufacturing to mining and food production, enterprises large and small have been forced to adapt, innovate and dig in in order to survive.
The oil and gas sector has been no different. Current oil demand is around 92-93 million barrels per day, down from 100-101 million - a reduction of around nine percent.
In the UAE, maintenance, construction, control and automation solutions provider Euro Mechanical and its key client ADNOC continue to operate strongly. Yes, some projects have been held up, but both parties are confident in executing their long-term ambitions.
For Euro Mechanical CEO Jon Rawding, the 12 months since we last spoke have been defined by three words – respond, recover, thrive.
“Our organisation and its relationships with people have historically been grounded in trust,” he says, “and that means having trust in both the leadership of Euro Mechanical and the government of the UAE and Abu Dhabi – a belief that we have their best interests at heart.
“The pandemic has brought the family closer. I have been here since February 2018 – my predecessor served for more than 30 years so it was vitally important to establish trust with the team, especially given the events of this year.”
The CEO adds that the firm has been assisted by a coordinated and decisive governmental response to the pandemic.
Indeed, the UAE and Abu Dhabi authorities must take credit for the way in which testing has been made available en masse, with clear follow up communication ensuring the virus is contained effectively, thereby minimising disruption to socioeconomic activity.
Euro Mechanical itself has also been quick to respond, its first priority being the health and safety of its employees.
“This is our number one brand belief, and while we have had some positive COVID cases among our team, so far they have, thankfully, all been asymptomatic,” Rawding says.
“The other side of the coin has been to ensure the mental and emotional wellbeing of our colleagues. This has involved engaging with each individual, sharing learning and experiences relating to stress and burnout, and regular updates from leadership to keep the whole team updated on the latest events both within the company and externally.”
Another challenge has centred around the movement of people between or within projects, especially given that much of Euro Mechanical’s workforce are internationally based.
“We kept abreast of various travel restrictions and moved people when we could, but it is not something we have been able to control, so unfortunately some of our people have been stuck,” Rawding adds. “Communication has been critical to managing the situation with employees abroad, and we’ve also made some new in-country hires to help get resources to where we need them.”
Rising to the challenge
Indeed, the COVID response has been defined by what Rawding believes continues to stand Euro Mechanical apart in the field.
The company’s operations are grounded in long-term relationships that have been built up over generations and are based on mutual trust. And the CEO is determined to maintain a listen-first approach to all communication, be it with employees, clients or suppliers.
“Our relationships with partners are vitally important, and without these there simply would be no Euro Mechanical,” Rawding adds. “The pandemic has tested these relationships and shown us how critical they are, and once again this is all about communication and trust.
“Some of our partnerships stretch back decades, and are built on the premise of we do what we say we’re going to do. The events of 2020 have highlighted this imperative.”
Such productive and trust-centric collaborations have helped Euro Mechanical to make sound progress on a number of external and internal projects through the course of 2020.
For instance, the firm recently acquired upstream solutions provider Samco, a move which is unprecedented in Emirati business circles.
Overseeing the groundwork for the deal is Chief Business Officer Ahmed Jasser, who explains how it will enable Euro Mechanical to dive into the world of upstream.
“We saw the opportunity to act as a go-between for ADNOC, a traditional oil and gas operator, and a fast-moving, agile technology-driven enterprise,” he says. “This will allow us to source, suggest and supply new and potentially game-changing solutions to ADNOC’s upstream operations.”
This represents something of a diversification drive, the idea being to open up more opportunities and spread risk.
“We have traditionally been a downstream company, but see the need for a trusted partner in the upstream space, both from a client and principal perspective,” Jasser continues. “We listen to our clients’ challenges and deliver solutions for them.
“Moving upstream is a natural step, as we have significant collective experience in this space. With ADNOC, for example, we will be able to provide more innovative solutions that will ultimately reduce their costs and increase their outputs.”
From an internal perspective, Euro Mechanical has been equally busy optimising processes, streamlining the organisation and investing in people.
Jasser himself is a case in point, a new appointment whose role is to head up the new business support team which focuses on customer management, strategic business, marketing and innovation. Euro Mechanical also recognises internal talent, promoting from within three of its own employees to division manager roles in 2020, as part of a long-term strategy to develop the career paths of staff.
One of the long-term strategic initiatives being overseen by Jasser is to streamline business units, an example of this occurring in 2020 when its construction and fabrication divisions merged into a single, more cohesive division.
In another move to better serve customers, Euro Mechanical has invested in an enhanced customer relationship management process, and is also in the final stages of evaluating a potential new ERP system.
This leaves Rawding resolutely optimistic about what lies ahead.
“We’ve just moved into a brand-new headquarters which represents the start of an exciting new chapter. I would like to report in a year’s time that the world has moved on from COVID-19,” he says, bringing the conversation to a close.
“We have worked hard this year to build a resilient foundation to be there for our clients and partners so we can all thrive in the post COVID-19 world, and I cannot express enough how proud I am of everyone in the group. We now need to build on this effort, execute our plans to grow into the upstream space and expand our current business.”