Innovation processes and virtual solutions
Redefining the workplace, on-demand training, the focus on innovation and the implementation of virtual solutions are some of the challenges presented by the current context, according to Pedro Napoletano, Corporate Director of Engineering, in a talk he gave as part of the Engineering Center Talks Cycle.
At the latest edition of the Argentine Engineering Center’s cycle of talks, Pedro Napoletano, Corporate Director of Engineering at Techint E&C, spoke about "Post Pandemic Global Engineering". Bringing up the challenges that engineering has had to overcome in this context, he discussed the new forms of work organization and processes of innovation oriented towards increasing productivity and helping organizations to be more flexible.
Engineering, as both the starting point and the driver of projects, faces a key challenge that has to do with multidisciplinary work, dealing with the need to manage information flowing along internal channels, receiving feedback and also getting external input such as that provided by suppliers. This goes hand-in-hand with the complexity of networking with large numbers of people working towards the common goal of project completion.
According to Mr. Napoletano, the outbreak of the pandemic brought them face to face with the major challenge of how to develop a project within a demanding and tight time time-frame when you have 100% of the staff working from home.
To do this, the team had to work on several different fronts at the same time, managing flexible hours and the Work From Home environment, and developing ways of remotely implementing technological tools and training personnel. Thus, "we had to put together a comprehensive technological package for distribution to the homes of our employees so that we could all work in the same way, achieve the same results as in the office, and meet demanding project deadlines," he explained.
Another key aspect for the company was how to achieve seamless integration between its different Engineering Centers around the world, involving nearly 1,000 people. "We had to achieve as much synergy as possible, all online, using integrated software, standardizing procedures and standards, quite apart from ensuring we met the specificities required by some of our customers," he said.
In terms of innovation, Mr. Napoletano talks about how the use of drones swiftly came to the fore. Although already in use for many projects, they quickly began to be more widely used for land surveys to collect on-the-ground information without needing people to travel physically to the location.
“The current context presents us with several major challenges for the future: how we redefine the workplace as a collaborative environment where we meet each other, even as we still have many people working from home; the need to provide robust online training on demand, how we continue innovating to remain at the forefront of developments; and the implementation of all kinds of virtual solutions to reduce the numbers of personnel on the ground where projects are being developed. This new normal is here to stay and it will be a challenge for all of us in Engineering,” he stated.
Towards the end of his talk, Pedro commented that the future of Engineering is intertwined with developments in renewable energies, environmental solutions, big data and advances in medicine. He was mostly referring to the latest renewable energy trends that gained prominence in the world during 2020 through the launch of various groundbreaking initiatives. Many of these are “associated with the development of renewable energies and the possibility of using these to generate green hydrogen and other non-fossil fuels; as well as CO2 capture, on and offshore.”