M+W Group Is Opening Up in Malaysia
M+W Systems Malaysia
M+W Group isn’t exactly new to the game.
The company, which is more than 100 years old, is a global engineering and construction partner for technology-based clients in a variety of sectors including energy, environmental tech, life sciences, IT and telecommunications, and much more.
However, the company best is recognized as market leaders in several segments: semiconductors, photovoltaics, biotechnology, and high-tech infrastructure.
The company’s Malaysian office is helming some of its most innovative projects, but most important, exemplifies some of its best practices.
A Competitive Advantage
M+W believes it has a competitive advantage in the market for a few reasons, the first of which is its commitment to its customers and community.
M+W Group is a big proponent of social responsibility and strong ethical values. It’s also strongly supports its employees and places environmental concerns among its top priorities, making it a business that others want to work with.
“Our objective is to be a partner of choice, by offering transparency, best in class execution, and setting industry benchmarks in quality, safety, time to market and total cost of ownership across diverse industries,” Managing Director of M+W’s High-Tech Products in Malaysia Richard Kimber said. “We are committed to creating long lasting relationships, value for customers and want to be ‘partner of choice’ delivering on time and with cost certainty.”
M+W also believes its global operations and 100-plus years of experience—with 18 in Malaysia—put it ahead of the pack in the various industries it serves.
Regardless of which office is approaching a project, the standard operating procedure (SOP) will be the same.
“M+W has one SOP that uses knowledge transferred from all global entities within M+W, inter-country or regional engineering, resource support, and a ‘lessons-learned’ culture,” Kimber said. “We ensure that quality and commissioning starts on Day 1.”
This doesn’t mean they approach every project the same way, though. M+W uses customized solutions to meet the needs of each customer. This is streamlined thanks to all of its engineering processes being done in-house.
An Open Book Approach
Tackling projects in this manner works so well mainly because of M+W’s open book approach.
“This allows M+W to provide a ‘total facilities solution’ under one roof, and for efficiency and consistency,” Kimber explained. “It promotes ‘fast track’ projects’ success since design and construction are overlapped. We have proven that time and cost can be reduced when compared to a lump sum approach—where typically the design is not fully completed when issued for pricing to contractors.”
This emphasis on openness is a boon to business in more ways than just increasing efficiency. It also allows for increased dialogue between M+W and its customers.
Kimber believes the approach is built on transparency and trust, and that everyone benefits from it.
“We have delivered numerous projects under this procurement approach and we share in the savings by managing the construction process to agreed timescales, budget, and quality levels,” he said.
According to Kimber, it’s also about giving the customer the right advice at the right time. The more time and resources spent on influencing the final product make for diminished returns all around. For M+W, it’s about maximizing its work and giving the customer the best value, all while keeping them fully in the loop.
This is especially important to the Malaysian operation, since this is a service M+W can offer that many others cannot. The company believes that this is in the best interest for the customer, since many are promised the complete package, but often end up getting burned by.
“There are local contractors who would do anything to win jobs—offer unrealistic promises, agree to schedules that cannot be achieved and submit low bids,” Kimber said. “We seek to be open, honest, transparent, and true to our word. At times this doesn’t help us when we are competing against ‘Bob the Builder’ or clients that are blinded by the cheapest price.”
In Malaysia, an understanding of the correlation between risk and cost is vital. Customers often select the service provider who makes lowest bid without realizing the potential risk. In recent years, there have been many unfortunate cases of contractors taking on too much risk and failing to deliver, which ultimately leads to them going bust and leaving the customer with a distressed project.
Kimber explained that while the customer may be paying more for contractors that are resourced and managed correctly, the risk is dramatically reduced.
“It’s all about managing risks,” Kimber stressed. “Clients need to ask themselves: would they deposit money in a bank that they haven’t heard of, has a limited track record, but promises a good return? No, they will go to a bank that gives certainty at a competitive price.”
Playing it Safe
For M+W, physical safety for its employees is just as important as investment safety for its customers.
“Safety is a core value and we are committed to an injury free work place where everybody goes home safe,” Kimber said. “There is no compromise and work will stop even if this means program delays. We set working conditions to ensure that our work practices and procedures meet or exceed all applicable legislations related to health, safety, and the environment.”
M+W also expects trade partners to actively contribute to the implementation of its Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) policy.
In Malaysia, the policy has continuously developed using M+W’s global and regional EHS requirements and practices as a basis, while also taking into account particular EHS considerations for working in Malaysia. To accomplish this, M+W has worked alongside the Malaysian Ministry of Human Resources regulations.
Not surprisingly, these practices are working and it’s not going unnoticed.
M+W in Malaysia received the Gold Star for Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) for construction in 2012, Gold for OSH in Construction Management in 2011, and the National OSH award in 2010.
Looking ahead toward the future, M+W is optimistic, but understands it faces certain challenges, such as a shortage of skilled laborers in the state of Johor.
“Based on experience and lessons learned, we have told our clients and potential clients that worker retention is and will continue to be a challenge—especially with the proximity of Singapore, which offers higher salaries and lower taxes,” Kimber explained. “This is also a challenge with the impending Refinery and Petrochemicals Integrated Development (RAPID) project in Johor. We need to address this by paying realistic labor rates, offering incentive schemes for project completion, etc.”
Despite this, M+W has some exciting projects happening in Malaysia, including the design of one of the largest data centre projects in Asia, a biotech project in Johor, and the design and build of First Solar’s new pilot project, the Kulim High Tech Park.
“We have also streamlined our trade partner data base and will engage with those that truly share the same values as M+W,” Kimber noted.
On top of all of that, Kimber was clear in saying that M+W Malaysia is always looking to improve how it conducts business.
“As an engineering and construction company, there is a continuous effort to improve on efficiency, facilitate smart solutions for both engineering and construction, and together with our partners, seek to provide better solutions that always ensure a win-win situation with our new and existing clients.”