Road building business in Scandinavian way: million euros scope - five people

Tells AB “Panevėžio keliai” General Director Virmantas Puidokas:

-Work of our team in Sweden is really impressive. Company works cost-effective in position of General Contractor, trust of customers’ increases.

Customer and contractor relations in Sweden are based on trust and competence values. This is opposite to exaggerated control, confrontation and distrust policy prevailing in Lithuania. Principle of Customer and Contractor relations is a main difference between Swedish and Lithuanian road sector.

Quality control in Sweden is performed by contractor, there’s no technical control as institution usually. Customer performs observation of contractor’s self-control, external experts are involved into final product evaluation.

Another feature of Swedish market –principles of activity organization. In Lithuania large scope projects are implemented coordinating internal and external subcontractors’ work, half or more works in the objects in Sweden are implemented on their own. This activity model is more cost-effective, but it requires more competence and responsibility from contractor specialists. Machinery operator in Sweden is not only capable of working with special equipment, but also reads drawings and is able to work following received information. Swedes do not understand why machinery operator must work with supervisor which controls him. These features are welcomed and should become our goal.

In Sweden I haven’t noticed so called “Shoferizm” manifestations which are frequently noticed in Lithuanian construction sites. This kind of practice came to us from soviet times. It manifests in the way that driver; machinery operator works only with one machinery and is responsible for it himself. It means that vehicle or mechanism works only one shift per day.

More effective activity model involves machinery and vehicles operated not by single, but two operators but technical maintenance is done by specialized division. When work is finished operator handles machinery to technical maintenance team, they check its condition and the same mechanism is further operated by other operator. This makes machinery work not for single shift, but two during the day. In Lithuania work by this principle is organized in railway, aviation and shipping systems. Civil aviation plane for flight is prepared not by pilots, but other specialists.

Work in foreign country makes you change attitude to various things, revaluate some values. For example nobody is surprized by women working in Swedish objects. Even in the machinery operator’s position. Machinery is new, modern, operators do not fix it themselves. Men and women can equally good read technical drawings and perform works accordingly, because there’s no need for excessive physical force for such work, mind, not muscles are in use.

It is worth following Swedish example of multifunctional machinery and tools usage. For example – excavator with trailer. Excavator digs soil, pours in into trailer, moves to the designated place and unloads. Instead of three mechanisms and people works one. Risk of downtimes due to three specialists and mechanisms coordination decreases. What its most important when there’s less of heavy hand job, processes can be automated. In a large objects this multifunctional model may not always be the best, but in smaller it is especially effective.

High specialists’ competence also enables effective planning and work organization. We are used to worker performing small task given by manager and waiting for the next task without initiative rationally use time and other resources. In Sweden worker, machinery operator is able independently organize works, this makes his working day much more effective.

I am very happy about our people accepting challenge and changing their life by leaving to work in Sweden. I believe it was really difficult for them to get used to foreign country with different mentality, language and work principles. On the other hand difficulties which they met made them different level specialists. Not talking about English and Swedish languages they have learned. I am happy to see young person who may stayed at the middle level in Lithuania today looks right, easily communicates at least in English language and is able to organize work in much complicated environment.

I am happy about Swedish specialists who joined our team. For them it also was a challenge to decide working in Lithuanian Capital Company. Joint work already gives results; we are finding our place in Swedish market. In the beginning as subcontractors, at present we participate in State procurement tenders in the Contractor’s position.

Impacted by different environment our people also change. I would like to have more pioneers leaving for work for certain time. Our specialists have to bring good experience from Sweden to Lithuania and share it here.  We have to learn from more advanced in order to stay competitive in Lithuanian and foreign markets.

To be continued…

Newspaper “Road people”, Nr. 34