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Alan Hood, Services Manager Business Unit APAC at Gantrex

The Gantrex ‘Introducing’ Series

December 12, 2019 - Welcome to our new Introducing Series where we look forward to sharing with you some of the insights of our key Gantrex team, so that you can better understand the drive, commitment and motivation that makes the people behind Gantrex the best in the world.

To launch the series we asked Alan Hood, our Services Manager Business Unit APAC, to share his thoughts on the team and what he thinks it is about the culture and ethics of our Gantrex brand that keeps us at the forefront of the industry.
Alan Hood – Quick Facts 
  • Position: Services Manager Business Unit APAC
  • Base: Dubai
  • Industry Experience: >10 years industry experience, >30 years heavy engineering experience
  • Responsibility: Managing installation team of up to 70 people on key projects around the region
  • Guiding Principle: Never ask your team to do something you wouldn’t do yourself
Alan, your team has already successfully installed more than 60,000m of rail this year alone.  What factors do you consider to ensure every Gantrex installation is right first time?

Our team is managing up to 6 major projects at any one time, and these can range from medium to large-scale installation,  1200 -25000 m of rail. We are blessed to have highly effective project managers on board that deal with the daily questions and technical challenges at every level. Every installation is unique and brings its own special characteristics and influencing factors. With such variance in size and type of rail we install we have a stringent set of planning and quality control processes that we follow. For each individual job, we start with a review of the clients’ requirements, then clients ER`s are reviewed and we build a set of procedures around that. We then turn our attention to the logistical and resourcing aspects for each project, ensuring that we consider all technical and environmental conditions that can be a particular challenge for Middle East projects.
We must respect and conform to the stringent ISO 12488-1-2102 installation tolerances or even tighter as specified by the designer. Our method statements, risk assessments and ITP have to be written in line with the project requirements and a scheduling program to ensure we meet the quality criteria and standards of each client, as well as those of Gantrex. We are increasingly being called upon to install specialist projects here in Middle East and we have to consider the working conditions for our teams. An example, a recent install in an aluminum smelter saw Gantrex teams work in temperatures of 75 degrees plus, with 95% humidity during a planned 18 hour outage. With the work in a strict rotational schedule  the teams worked an 18-hour shift with 20 minutes on and 40 minutes off.  The safety of our team and the delivery of a quality job are paramount, and we will never compromise on either.

Is there a particular project that makes you especially proud?

The current Khalifa 1 project has been probably the most challenging and rewarding project to date that we have managed with our team.  This particular project requires us to install 25664m of rail/ Trenchlok in just 26 weeks, averaging out at 160m per day finished installation. This was challenging and when you add in the extreme weather conditions that saw teams working in temperatures you get here in UAE of 45c + degrees each day, you can start to see just how big a challenge we had in front of us. Water here is more precious than fuel.

Our project management team in conjunction with the client spent many months in planning this tight and demanding schedule, working within the legal requirements to ensure the health and safety of our team. The project is still ongoing but to date we delivered the project so far on time and we continue to meet our milestone objectives whilst achieving our budgetary goals. This is an outstanding achievement and the result of excellent teamwork and superb client collaboration.

There’s lots of industry debate about the difference between management and leadership. As a self confessed ‘captain of your ship’ what do you put good leadership down to?

In my view it’s really quite simple.  The effectiveness of a team is driven by the culture of the management of the company. We are blessed in Gantrex to have strong and effective leadership and a positive working culture , to that effect I will never ask my team to do something that I’m not prepared to do myself. Leadership is about motivating and directing your team and you have to be part of the team to be able to do that. Understanding what drives them, caring about their wellbeing and above all treating everybody with respect. The bottom line – you have to set the example and create the right environment for people to excel.

What makes you most proud?

I am proud of the incredible results that we can deliver for our clients because of the way we work as a team. In our team in Dubai alone we have hundreds of years’ industry experience and this really sets us apart from other market players. On any given installation project the team includes an entire regions input – from the Group CEO to the warehouse teams - everyone has a part to play in our performance.

I also believe we have the best puddle arc welders in the world. Self-motivated and highly skilled, we attain a 99.92% pass rate with almost zero defects on the thousands of welds we do each year on rail profiles up to and including A150. Again, a focus on quality has got us to this position.

How do you see the role you perform for your clients?

In a number of ways we are regarded as the Consultants’ Consultant. Installation covers much more than putting pieces of steel in the ground and our clients look to us for technical advice and guidance. We are the experts in our field and with our vast experience can draw on insights from other projects, forecasting specific challenges that we can envisage with an install, such as environmental conditions, which can be especially challenging in this particular part of the world.

We never underestimate the role that we play and the trust and reliance that our clients place upon us and we set ourselves the highest quality standards on every job we do. Coined ‘the rules’ by my team we never compromise on quality and we aim to achieve the highest standard, regardless of project classification, every single time. We are a Class 1 team and we won’t settle for anything less!  

And any final words of advice to budding installation professionals?

Don’t rush! There are no short-cuts to Installation quality. Industry skills are honed over years and years of experience. Perhaps that’s why the Gantrex teams are amongst the best in the world. If you ask my team what are the first three words I say every day they will answer Quality, Quality, Quality,
Less haste more speed.


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