With a welcomed boost in activity over recent weeks, I thought this month we would give you a whistle-stop update into what is going on within Groundforce`s European adventure, an overview of some of the projects we are working on at the minute and even show you some pictures of our equipment in the ground.
After the initial handful of projects in Scandinavia which got us involved in the wider European market, our cross border sales activity has resulted in a significant number of enquiries in several countries across Europe at the minute; Italy and Germany appears to be where things are really hotting up at the minute. In recent months we have supplied equipment to jobs at Rostock Docks, Oldenburg, Hamburg City Centre and used on a gas pipeline work out to the east in a little village called Banzkow to name but a few….and it doesn’t stop there either as we have just submitted the full design documentation for a very large and prestigious basement propping job back in Hamburg docks which is due to start in early December. All design work for these European schemes has to be presented in accordance with the new Eurocodes and individual countries National Annexes which makes life interesting to say the least!
To help meet this demand we have now taken on Jörg Heidmeier a German National as Technical Sales Manager, who will help the current team bring in more work and help maintain the relationships we have already. More importantly, Jörg`s German is a lot better than ours! To complement Jörg’ sales activities we are looking to recruit a German speaking engineer to help us out.
And its not just new personnel either; we now have a new depot to store our equipment on the rare occasions it’s not out on hire. Well, I say new but we are moving in with one of our sister companies TPA in a depot in Hanover which is about 90 minutes south of Hamburg on the A7 (by sticking to fairly typical UK speeds and not taking full advantage of the autobahn).
Back on to the design challenges, I would be lying to say it is a straight forward process operating on a technical level in Europe. With the constant problem of the language barrier, discrepancies with design codes (despite the introduction of Eurocodes) and differing partial factors dictated by each countries’ unique national annex, means there is plenty going on to keep our design team busy. We have found that as we are trying to sell our products to new customers’ who are unfamiliar with and naturally sceptical of hydraulic systems, this lack of knowledge generates a wealth of questions and the detail in our design submissions increases ten fold as we have to revert back to first principles to get the designs passed by the checking agencies in Germany these are the dreaded, mysterious and all powerful regional based Prüfstatikers! Nevertheless, despite the sharp learning curve these diverse activities keep us from getting bored and enable us to see some of the world outside the UK!
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