Welcome once again to our Introducing Series, where this time we hear from Jose Miguel (Txemi) Fernandez, Project Manager for our Spain, Portugal and LATAM operations. Having worked with Gantrex for 7 years, Txemi is a strong advocate of a ‘glocal’ approach – bringing in all the resources of our global brand strength, but delivering, on the ground through a very localised and personal approach. So how does he achieve this and why does it matter?
Jose Miguel (Txemi) Fernandez – Quick Facts
Position: Project Manager Spain, Portugal and LATAM
Base: Bilbao, Spain
Industry Experience: I built a decade long career as a Project Manager in the construction sector, managing projects up to 7 M€, before moving to Gantrex in 2013.
Responsibility: As Project Manager for key regions, it’s my job to provide technical support to Sales Managers across the territory, managing and maintaining quality standards and providing the local connection to the global expertise and resource that the Gantrex team can provide.
Guiding Principle: If you can stay close to your customer, both in terms of physical availability and engagement with the project, success will folllow.
Txemi, how has being part of a global organization helped you build a strong local offer for Spain, Portugal and LATAM?
Installation services first came into my region back in 2015 when we started an installation offer in Spain. Up until this point Gantrex had undertaken some installation projects in the region, but this had been done through a subcontracting model. When we looked to deliver this directly, we really can say that we started from scratch. We went through an intense period of learning the Gantrex methodology in other regions, visiting other Gantrex sites across the world and then slowly but surely, we started to manage our own local installation projects. Being able to call upon the skill, training and support of our global business, put us in the very best position to build the skills, expertise and quality that we needed for our own local teams.
We now have an incredibly strong installation proposition for Spain, Portugal and LATAM projects and we are continually increasing our knowledge, skills, expertise and technology to continue to be best choice for local projects. As part of our quality program and commitment, we continually evaluate our service, identify areas for further development and also listen to what our customers tell us they need so that we can shape our service accordingly. Perhaps most importantly, our Site Managers listen to the direct feedback from the installation teams and work together, as one team, to keep pushing forwards the solutions that we can provide.
And why is a local offer so important?
Whilst I cover different territories, from South America to South West Europe, and each of these has their own unique challenges and market forces, one thing is common across both. In each market, one of the most critical points for success is to have close contact with the site teams. Good communication, effective and timely reporting and the ability to be on site as quickly as possible when needed are all parts of our installation offer that make a real difference to our efficiency and the confidence that a customer has in our work. We can only truly deliver these service standards by having teams on the ground.
What does this translate to the customer?
Confidence and trust are key. Our clients value the peace of mind that we provide when they choose Gantrex as their project partner. We are now very well recognized in our market, and have built a reputation as strong communicators. Even once the project is finished our clients know that we are still very much present in the market, and maintain regular communications with them. That way they stay in the know about what our teams are working on and we can provide periodical advice and insights in between projects.
Of all the projects you have completed so far, which one makes you most proud?
I am proud of every project that I have been involved with. I am also a strong believer that every project demands the very best effort. Regardless of size or value, even the smallest project warrants a big effort. That said, I will always recall the first automatic warehouse we installed in Spain. It was a complex and very challenging project requiring us to find solutions for demolition and also for entering the materials into the site. Once the project was completed the client sent a letter of thanks. A small gesture but one which meant a lot.
What have you been working on recently with your teams?
Right now, due to the impacts of Covid, a number of our larger projects are on hold. But we are still busy working on several smaller projects which are keeping our teams busy. Throughout April, whilst Spain was in confinement, we completed three projects in Ecuador: Yilport (Puerto Bolivar), TPG (Guayaquil) and DP WORLD (Posorja). Yilport was a big project with 600 m of track installation and 300 m of TrenchLok, which also required us to manage the demolition of existing installations. Projects such as this always present additional challenges as you are never sure what you might uncover during the demolition phase. And so it was as we found problems with the alignment and levelling of the existing trench. This is where the experience of our Site Manager, and total co-ordination with the client team proved to be invaluable as working together we were able to solve the levelling and alignment issues and deliver the project requirements as briefed.
Txemi, you work with lots of teams in different territories and will have seen different styles of management. What does good leadership look like to you?
I came across a saying once which read that ‘A good leader should always appear when problems arise.’ But in my opinion and in my experience good leadership means that they are present before this, so that the problems don’t arise at all! On a personal level, some of the best leaders I have come across in my career are those that can display both outstanding commercial skills, with a keen sense of responsibility and empathy. I try to include these attributes in my leadership style, always understanding the customers position, encouraging and taking on board the opinions of others and bringing everything together for the success of the project.
And where is your next challenge coming from?
Our teams are now looking ahead to Phase 5 of an Automatic Warehouse project for Gamesa in Celaya, Mexico. This project follows a phased program of works so everything is under control and scheduled clearly for the next phase of works. We also have a number of exciting tenders out at the moment and hope to receive some contract confirmations in the coming weeks too! There is lots to look forward over the coming months and we are very excited about the new challenges and opportunities that our teams will be working towards.