Reli­a­bility cre­ates trust

Cus­tomized machines are the core busi­ness of Harro Höfliger. Our cus­tomers not only expect us to come up with elab­o­rate tech­nical solu­tions, but also with seam­less project imple­men­ta­tion and ongoing trans­parent overview of the project. Pro­fes­sional project man­age­ment pro­vides the basis. How exactly this is han­dled within the com­pany, and what specifics need to be con­sid­ered is explained by indi­vid­uals respon­sible for the respec­tive area.

Why is project man­age­ment so impor­tant for Harro Höfliger?

Günter Ziar­netzki, Head of Project Management

Our orders are tech­ni­cally very demanding and time frames are usu­ally tight. There­fore, it is nec­es­sary that every­thing is struc­tured and trans­parent. Con­se­quently, at Harro Höfliger project man­age­ment means that all indi­vid­uals respon­sible for a project work together in a team. To this end, across all divi­sions, we clearly define respon­si­bil­i­ties and tasks within the project. This enables project teams to work effi­ciently without com­pro­mising our most pre­cious asset, the cre­ativity of our employees. Pro­fes­sional project man­age­ment is a solid pillar for us, because it assures the reli­a­bility of process oper­a­tions and thus the high quality of our prod­ucts. This is what our cus­tomers rely on.

What are the respon­si­bil­i­ties of a project manager?

Car­o­line Milden­berger, Project Man­ager Sales

First and fore­most, I am the direct con­tact for my cus­tomers. Addi­tional core tasks include project plan­ning, con­ducting design reviews, man­aging project processes and reg­ular reporting. During the plan­ning phase I pre­pare a schedule defining the sequence of required work activ­i­ties which I coordi-nate inter­nally and also with the cus­tomer. I clarify open points, answer ques­tions on require­ment spec­i­fi­ca­tions and make sure that the order is clearly defined for all par­ties involved. That way everyone gets the infor­ma­tion they need. When a project is close to the Fac­tory Accep­tance Test (FAT), it is my job to per­fectly plan the forth­coming cus­tomer visit so that cus­tomer accep­tance and dis­patch can pro­ceed according to schedule.

Why are there two project man­agers for every project?

Thomas Joos, Tech­nical Product Man­ager Design

We rely on a well-coor­di­nated dual lead­er­ship. As “tech­nical project man­ager” I con­cen­trate pri­marily on the tech­nical imple­men­ta­tion and achieve­ment of the tech­nical project objec­tives whereas the “sales project man­agers” keep an overview of the “big pic­ture”. They plan, con­trol and ini­tiate cor­rec­tive mea­sures if some­thing gets “out of con­trol”. More­over, they are in con­stant con­tact with the cus­tomer. This cre­ates trans­parency, both inter­nally and exter­nally, and forms the basis for a trusting cus­tomer rela­tion­ship. Nat­u­rally, I am also always at the customer’s dis­posal for tech­nical questions.

How is the quality of project man­age­ment processes ensured?

Markus Hänle, Project Man­ager Sales

For the past year or so, Harro Höfliger has been offering project man­agers an exten­sive qual­i­fi­ca­tion pro­gram. The cer­ti­fied project man­ager training is car­ried out in accor­dance with the guide­lines of the German Society for Project Man­age­ment (GPM, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Pro­jek­t­man­age­ment) and the Inter­na­tional Project Man­age­ment Asso­ci­a­tion (IPMA). Building on expe­ri­ences gath­ered, after com­ple­tion of a project I always invite every­body involved to a so-called Lessons Learned Meeting. In this review, we reflect on the entire project in order to iden­tify strengths and weak­nesses from an orga­ni­za­tional and tech­nical point of view. These find­ings pro­vide a per­fect source of infor­ma­tion for my col­leagues for future projects. Our goal is to avoid the same mis­takes in new projects. Although mis­takes are “per­mitted”, they are not to be repeated.

Why are there spe­cial project man­agers for for­eign customers?

Yuan Su, Project Man­ager Sales

Many cus­tomers speak Eng­lish well, how­ever, dis­cussing ques­tions in their mother tongue is still a major advan­tage. Cul­tural dif­fer­ences – for example dif­fer­ences in eti­quette – and people’s men­tality are also to be con­sid­ered. I myself am Chi­nese and there­fore respon­sible for our cus­tomers from China. I know what con­duct is expected of me, how I have to react to dif­fi­cul­ties and how I can avoid mis­un­der­stand­ings in advance. The same applies to my col­leagues whose mother tongue is Russian or Arabic. Through cor­rect and clear com­mu­ni­ca­tion, we avoid dif­fi­cul­ties and save time. In addi­tion, this cre­ates a very spe­cial rela­tion­ship of trust with our customer.

How do cus­tomers respond to the inter­na­tional project man­age­ment at Harro Höfliger

Dabing Hu and Yuan Su after the suc­cessful machine accep­tance at Harro Höfliger.

“When Chi­nese com­pa­nies under­take invest­ments with German sup­pliers, they expect lan­guage bar­riers and dif­ferent ways of thinking. Harro Höfliger, how­ever, con­vinced us oth­er­wise. During ini­tial meet­ings, we were quickly assured that lan­guage would not be a stum­bling block for the project. We have worked very well together with Ms. Su and with a focused approach. She is Chi­nese, speaks our lan­guage and knows our ways of thinking. This has had a very pos­i­tive effect on the course of the project. If I had ques­tions, she could quickly pro­vide answers or clarify issues. I had the feeling of being under­stood, and this is impor­tant for the safe imple­men­ta­tion of the project and for me personally.”

Dabing Hu, Pro­duc­tion Man­ager, Respirent Pharmaceuticals

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Photos: Tom Philippi