Interview with Christian and Fillip (both 34), project controllers in the Overhead Line Construction business unit
One year ago, Christian and Fillip started working at the same time as project controllers at EQOS Energie. During this time, they experienced a lot of things, first and foremost the integration of Bilfinger FRB into EQOS Energie. After working hard all of last year, they now get to reap the benefits of their efforts.
When you started working at EQOS Energie, you didn’t just witness the entire integration process of the FRB but provided intensive support in the process. Were there any special challenges?
Christian: There were certainly several at the start. Since we were both new at EQOS Energie, we didn’t know the structures and processes at either company. The greatest challenge was to put ourselves in the position of two companies, to bundle their respective potential and to assess all of the projects uniformly. While we received timelines for the realisation and successful implementation of Bilfinger FRB, we had total freedom as to how we would execute our assignments, which I felt was very positive for this process.
Fillip: In the beginning, we literally worked in two worlds – at EQOS Energie and at Bilfinger FRB. On one hand, there were two different IT systems; on the other hand, there were two different project assessment approaches. Therefore, it was our task to integrate the project side of the FRB universe into that of EQOS Energie. This immediately made our start very exciting, since we completely supported the migration and were fully involved. The fact that we started at EQOS Energie together was a clear advantage. As a result, we were facing the same challenges and were able to perfectly complement each other.
Now that the system has been successfully converted, how do we imagine your responsibilities as project controllers?
Fillip: Basically, we analyse all construction projects of the Overhead Lines Construction business unit at the cost-benefit level. This also includes monthly project assessment discussions with the project managers in charge. Together we determine the remaining requirements until the end of construction. The assessment process consists of two steps: First, a validation of the current situation based on the previously rendered service is performed. Subsequently, the remaining construction work is examined and a full in-depth analysis of the projects in terms of the gross margin development is conducted. We generate the monthly reporting of the entire business unit and report directly to the management.
Christian: We accomplished much with regard to the integration of the companies and systems and performed the groundwork for our current work. We created good structures and optimised processes, but this is not yet completed. We are still improving processes to increase the quality of assessments and in order to be able to further free up the project managers. In general, we are already covering a very large area of responsibilities. This is mainly about assessing individual construction projects in terms of their actual status. Each of us supports his own profit centers so that we can jointly cover the entire business unit. We support any project for nearly its entire lifecycle, i.e. we look at it from quote submission all the way to completion. Watching the development over this extended time period is an exciting part of our work. Since we organise and time everything ourselves, it is very important for us to maintain an overview and work in a structured manner. Based on the fact that we are involved in practically all business tasks, we represent the business interface for all of our colleagues in operations.
» We are proud of what we have accomplished «
How do you feel after the first year at EQOS Energie?
Fillip: Just as it was for many of the people involved, the integration was new territory for us at first and we were on our own for part of it. As a result, we figured out solution approaches by ourselves. In doing so, one major focus was on ensuring high quality results in the short time available. The initial time period was really exciting, but in the end it is the result that counts, and that is what we worked towards. We have a positive future outlook and are looking forward to new development potential.
Christian: While our workload is large, which is not unusual in controlling, we integrated very well with and had great support within the Corporate Controlling department. The work with our colleagues is a lot of fun and the team spirit is great. Our assignments are at a high, sophisticated level. Apart from the project work, more responsibility and assignments were added throughout the year, which ultimately connects everything to form one large unit.
How does your collaboration work? Do you learn from and with each other?
Fillip: Based on the division into profit centers, our areas are clearly defined, but the assignments themselves are congruent. We are working with the same tools, we coordinate with each other when there are new developments and we exchange our ideas. We are not boxed in, but instead there is sufficient room for optimisation and new ideas. This creates synergies between us, which are the basis for effective collaboration.
Christian: We attach a lot of importance to quality – whatever it is we do, we do properly. Specifically because we have this quality standard but also because we are co-responsible for the results. That is why we speak to the project managers a lot and very often so that all information is available in a transparent format.
If you could give advice to yourself prior to you starting work at EQOS Energie from today’s perspective, what would that be?
Christian: At the start, you need a lot of staying power, since the first months are very stressful and demanding due to the abundance of systems and changes. There will be lots of unknowns, but once you are in, have integrated and know your colleagues, everything will become much easier. Bring initiative and be ready to perform and everything will go in the right direction.
Fillip: If you accept this task, things will get exciting – I guarantee it! You will meet many interesting people, experience changes and you won’t be bored. Exciting times will be ahead of you and you will grow from it.