We caught up with Carl Wilkinson our Portfolio Manager who leads Altrad’s operations from our offices in Norwich.
Carl, thank you for sparing the time to chat with us today. Firstly, could you share a little information with us about your role in Altrad?
Sure, I have been with the organisation now for a little over seven years carrying out various roles. I have been in my current role for around a year and a half and I lead the Norwich operation to deliver our contracts in the region, both onshore and offshore, with a team of around 250 great people.
We have many clients in the region including Perenco, Petrofac, Emcor, Costain, Centrica, Viridor and Dow Chemicals. We provide a range of services including access, insulation, painting, mechanical and offshore deck services.
Thank you Carl, much appreciated. What development plans have you in mind for your team and the Norwich business?
Whilst COVID-19 has caused some disruption, we have a bright future ahead and we are continuing to work on plans to develop our business. We are working on individual contract development plans in order to deliver enhanced value to our clients, but also on business development and growing our market share in the region.
I have also been working on a longer term project, which will increase our investment into the training and development of our staff. I have some of the best people in the industry working within my region and this training will provide greater development opportunities for the team, whilst ensuring we become even more successful in delivering value to our clients.
The onset of COVID-19 has brought about many challenges for our clients and for Altrad, could you explain how this has impacted your business operations?
The coronavirus pandemic was unexpected and quickly brought about disruption to everyone in many different ways. We have seen a reduction and postponement of some work scopes in oil & gas, whilst others have increased, mainly for planned outages in the power generation sector.
I love the saying, ‘every day is a school day’ and the last few weeks have certainly been that! The continuous changes to our work volumes and adjusting to these changes has been extremely demanding.
In the round, our teams have responded extremely well, despite the disruption, and that is a credit to their understanding, flexibility and “can-do” attitude. They are a credit to Altrad,
Given this period of change and uncertainty, it must be a tough time for the whole team, how are they coping?
I am genuinely amazed by the commitment and attitude of the team, from our critical workers attending site every day, supporting our clients to remain operation, so we all have power to turn on the lights, to our payroll team who work tirelessly to process weekly timesheets and furlough payments.
Given the circumstances, there is a lot of pressure to deal with, which is unavoidable, but the way the team have responded has been admirable. I wish to take this opportunity to thank each and everyone of them for their flexibility and understanding.
Some of our clients our now starting to plan for resuming activities and managing operations to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone whilst doing so. Are you experiencing the same dynamic, and if so, what do you think will be the main challenges for Altrad?
Yes, we have seen a continuation of many work scopes and activity levels are starting to increase every day. Our clients have helped tremendously by being very proactive in ensuring our people are kept safe by following the Government guidelines and by introducing other social distancing measures.
Personally, I feel the challenge will be to ensure our people feel safe in their work environment. This continues to be one of the main focuses of the business and right now, it’s my top priority.
I am confident we can return to some normality in the near future, in the meantime, we continue to be proactive in preparing for this day.
Have you any positive stories you could share?
We have a monthly meeting with the local management team which covers a range of topics, one of which is reviewing safety observations from all our sites. The continued level of awareness displayed by our teams is self-evident and has continued to be recognised by our clients. For me, this demonstrates that our focus remains on the job in hand, and on safety, despite the current challenging circumstances brought on by COVID-19.
I am extremely grateful for everyone’s contribution and for the positive mindset that prevails, which contributes enormously towards keeping everyone safe,
Do you have any closing thoughts?
It would be remiss of me to finish off without saying a huge thank you to everyone for their support, it means a lot to be part of a team who share the same values.
Stay safe everyone.