A Hands-On Job in China – Done Remotely
Even in times of crisis, Bokela keeps their customer’s project deadlines.
Sophistiacted filter technology is Bokela’s forte and often requires the experts to travel abroad to oversee the implementation of new filter technololgies at their customers’ sites. Now the exceptional situation due to the Covid-19 pandemic forced them to find new ways, as business trips are currently on hiatus. Remote filter commissioning is the current key term.
The global spread of the Covid-19 pandemic is undoubtedly a challenge to most countries and economies around the world. Restrictions, safety regulations and closed borders have affected the economy and countless companies. But despite the strain of worrying about health, financial security and economic future, it has also shown an inspiring zeal to find new ways, to break new ground and to work more closely together - remotely - in a joined effort in keeping things going.
Bokela is by definition an international company whose customers are spread all around the world. Normally, this means that the Bokela experts spent a fair amount of their time abroad, implementing new filter systems, overseeing the installation of additional filters, evaluating new project sites and generally making their expertise availble to others. Now, however, they are grounded, despite project plans and due dates. Some projects could be prolonged, pushed to later deadlines or put on hold for the time being, but what about those that cannot afford a delay? Bokela came up with an ambitious and daring solution: the five filters in question were to be commissioned remotely.
Five BoHiBar drum filters were delivered in the last quarter of 2019 to the site in China. The customer, specialising in the filtration of organic products, was already familiar with Bokela and its filter technology due to the earlier installation of a first pressure drum filter in 2016. In early 2020, the final stage of the current project was to be completed, but due to travel restrictions and government regulations on both sides, Bokela experts on the project were prevented from being on site. However, it was crucial to the customer to put the system into operation on time which called for an unconventional approach.
The experts at the headquarters in Karlsruhe, Germany, now communicate twice a day by telephone and video conferencing with the local experts in China. These conferences take place between 6:00 am and 9:00 am German time, when both sides are already – or in case of China – still at work. At the end of each day, photos, videos, brief reports and questions are sent from the construction site in China to Karlsruhe and answered or commented on by the experts in the Bokela head office and sent back to China together with work instructions for the next day. In this way, the created work plans and detailed lists can be processed step by step on time.
“It is something we haven’t done before – and most likely will not be the regular method in the future but be restricted for special cases”, Stefan Walter, Senior Manager, Project Management at Bokela in Germany, says. “We are hands-on. We like to be close to our customers and close to their projects – in mind as well as physically. By visting our customers multiple times during the process, we can ensure that our own high quality requirements and standards are met and that we are able to support the contractors on site with our know-how and years of expertise. Providing this remotely is an immense challenge and proves to be very effortful and complex – for us as much as the people on site.” However, it is a very valuable experience due to the learned and tested methods since the company can support its customers quickly and effectively in the future if they need help - for example in maintenance or in solving operational problems as part of a trouble shooting. The successful and timely completion of this project proves once again that Bokela does not shy away from thinking outside the box – in terms of filter technologies as well as project management. According to Walter, the five filters will be operational in four weeks.