Mwata Belgrave, Director Operations at KCI: “We perform better than ever”
Mwata Belgrave takes real care of his team. Four questions about the main responsibilities and the biggest challenges of his job.
What are the main responsibilities of a Director Operations at KCI?
"As Director Operations I am ultimately responsible for the execution of all projects in our four market segments. KCI has two pillars being Sales and Operations. Operations consists of the various technical departments with a section head per discipline, the project managers and the Project Services department. Once the Sales process is completed and the contract with the customer is signed, we come in. First of all, a project team is formed by assigning a project manager and the required engineers from the various disciplines. This project team will deliver the project within schedule, budget and with the right quality.”
“My main task is to coordinate the running projects and to prevent or solve potential issues on the projects. I also need to ensure that the ‘backpacks’ of our professionals are structurally well stocked with the proper procedures and tools to carry out projects efficiently and to provide the right quality. For example, think of the right project management procedures and templates. KCI usually runs between 20 and 40 projects simultaneously - from very large, such as the Observation wheel in Dubai with a project value of several million euros, to very small with a duration of no more than one or two weeks. And everything in between.”
What were you doing professionally before this job and how did you come in contact with KCI?
"I came on board at KCI because the company was planning to outsource a portion of the technical designing to Thailand. I lived and worked in that country for several years, so I was asked to coordinate the communication with Thailand. After a few internal career steps, I went to work as a project engineer, and later as a project manager. My current position was created after the latest reorganisation, designed to make the organisation more efficient and with a flatter hierarchy."
What is according to you the biggest challenge in your job?
"In general I would say the challenge to be service-minded towards our customers but to deliver within the agreed time schedule and budget. You have to constantly find the balance between being very service oriented and yet respecting the budget. In today's market there is also the challenge to maintain the necessary knowledge within a team of relatively small size. We do more with fewer people, and that's not always an easy ride. "
What are you most proud of?
"The Dubai project is quite challenging: it is a project with both technical challenges which ask the maximum from our Structural engineers, as well as Project Management challenges as the client is a very large organisation with a strong commercial drive. The way we manage that as a team is something I am proud of. It is not easy to control such a large project both technically and financially and in terms of risk management. I am proud of the whole team! Things can always be improved, of course, but compared to some years ago, we perform better than ever."