Mon, 27/01/2020 - 10:14
Current Issue 34
Abu Dhabi-based Euro Mechanical is at the forefront of progress in the energy sector, empowering its employees and embracing ‘oil and gas 4.0’ at every opportunity
Writer: Jonathan Dyble | Project Manager: Ryan Gray
Why don’t spiders get stuck in their own webs? Why can’t I see my eyes? Why were swear words invented if we’re not allowed to say them?
It’s almost impossible to spend time around children without avoiding a barrage of the most common of childhood queries: “Why?”
Curiosity is a fundamental part of human cognition. It’s not long after we’re able to talk that the intuitive desire to understand the motive behind any action or process begins to spill out of our mouths, often in the most weird and wonderful ways. Recent research has in fact shown that children ask more than 70 questions every day…a study that is undeniably ironic; a catch-22 of human nature.
While it may fade over time, our innate inquisitiveness never truly disappears. And in the world of business, this aptitude can often be more useful than many might realise.
“Have you heard of a man named Simon Sinek?”
Euro Mechanical CEO Jon Rawding poses me a question of his own as we sit down for a long discussion over the phone. “He’s the author of a number of books including Start With Why, and a thought leader that our company takes great inspiration from.
“When I came on board in 2018, I asked a simple question: What is the purpose of Euro Mechanical? Why does it exist?”
Originally set up in 1976 in the fledgling oil industry of Abu Dhabi, the founders saw an opportunity to create a long-term sustainable business
that would grow in tandem with the sector in the Emirate. And it has been
a success, Euro Mechanical having built a reputation for long-term, trusting relationships along the way, forged from the strong family values held by the owners that are endemic in the UAE.
“We quickly identified this as being a central pillar of the company’s ethos –to add value to the lives of the employees, the local and international suppliers that work with us, and the clients we work for,” Rawding reveals.
“Ultimately, the goal is to make a positive contribution to Abu Dhabi and the region.”
A man after Sinek’s own heart, and a keen advocate of the need to understand why something should be done before it is actioned, Rawding spent the next two years remodelling the company in line with this realised philosophy –a process vastly easier than the one that was initially anticipated.
“We rebranded the company in 2018, but I quickly worked out that it didn’t require much effort at all,” he affirms.
“The brand identity of giving back was ingrained within the culture of the company long before I arrived. Testament to the Al Hurr family, the foundations upon which Euro Mechanical has been built are not short sighted–they’ve been nurturing a company that will stand the test of time and maintain a legacy.
“In respect to that, all of our partnerships and decisions are focused on the long term –on developing relationships of trust and creating credibility in the industry, both now and for years to come.”
A newly cultivated approach to leadership provides the proof in the pudding, the company having discarded what it deemed to be an outdated, restrictive command and control policy, replacing it with new management techniques designed to empower employees.
Each member of staff is given ownership and responsibility, while management have been encouraged to deliver empathetic leadership.
“The idea is to create an environment for our workforce that allows them to perform to the very best of their natural ability,” Rawding reveals. “Operating in such a manner makes us more accountable to ourselves than even the client.
“By taking greater ownership, our staff have become entirely aware of the fact that Euro Mechanical’s reputation is theirs to maintain at the same time, which backs up our promise that we will do what we say we’re going to do when working with any customer.”
It is not just the organisation’s approach to management that has taken a progressive turn, however.
Technological transformation driven by industry 4.0 (or oil and gas 4.0 as it is known locally) has likewise been highly prioritised at the firm, which is in the process of positioning itself as a stalwart of energy-centric innovation.
Indeed, with an eyewatering $680 billion estimated as the added value that can potentially benefit the oil and gas sector as a result of new technologies, it’s easy to understand the motivation behind Euro Mechanical’s shift from reactive to proactive adoption.
“The industry is changing so quickly that we have to change with it,” the CEO advises.
“You only need to look at ADNOC, the main client here in Abu Dhabi. They’ve changed dramatically in the last two or three years, and we’re moving with them. It’s another necessity in terms of achieving longevity.”
Euro Mechanical’s partnership with Silicon Valley-based TACHYUS stands as a particular highlight, the company now able to provide solutions to optimise energy production and unlock significant value for its customers by using data-driven decisions powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Meanwhile, the organisation’s internal business processes have equally become the subject of technological improvement, a new enterprise resource planning system and enhanced IT infrastructure having helped to better measure operational progress.
“When I first joined this industry, I was one of only a handful of people using the most sophisticated technologies while working on oil rigs,” Rawding recalls.
“Since then, the technology has vastly improved. And that’s exciting. It’s exciting for younger people entering the industry because so much is new and changing right now, and it’s exciting for people like myself who can see this change in mindset.
“The scope to apply new technologies is expansive. Our sector has lagged behind others in the past, but because of that implementing state-of-the-art innovations is now quite often like working with a blank canvas.”
Talk of the past and present naturally then steers the conversation to the future, a topic of optimism for the CEO.
Here, he reveals that the aforementioned emphasis on technology constitutes one of four elements within Euro Mechanical’s strategy for 2020, reiterating the importance of personnel development as the second component of this masterplan.
“Innovation and learning is a critical part of our blueprint and will provide the grounded footing for our organisation to grow,” he states.
Beyond this, customer relationship management and strategic partnership development will likewise take precedence as the business looks to maintain momentum.
The former will see the incorporation of a centralised proposals management team whereby Euro Mechanical’s six divisions will no longer be siloed, instead working together to pool resources and reap rewards such as more targeted marketing insights.
“We want to increase collaboration and likewise raise awareness about the work that we’re doing,” Rawding explains. “We’ve been pretty quiet previously but have a lot to shout about in terms of our achievements and value proposition.”
The latter, meanwhile, reiterates the company’s position as an entity seeking meaningful relationships with both new and existing partners alike who share its outlook of longevity and trust.
“The lifeblood of all of these efforts of course is the financials,” Rawding adds, “a space that we’ve also made inroads into, having hired a Chief Financial Officer in 2018 and integrated the appropriate tools to improve monetary transparency.
“We’re busy, but that’s compelling. We’re accelerating the flywheel if you like, getting faster and better in respect to progress and change across the board –looking at the past year alone you can see this heightened enthusiasm.
“The company’s becoming much more sophisticated, but not on a corporate level where the numbers are the most important thing. Rather, the numbers are the result of everything else we’re doing, and that’s truly exciting.”