Phoenix Industrial has a different approach to solving customers’ problems. “We’re not traditional,” says Kelly Adams, Vice President. “We help clients from a process-oriented perspective. Because we have a strong technical background, we can look at project from any point, critique it and rebuild a process that would help save costs.”
“We’re an integrated constructor, but a lot of what we do is process improvement,” he continues. “Construction is only a percentage of what we offer. We don’t just come to put in pipe and steel, and just tell the client we’re done. You have to see things from a bigger picture. Large-scale projects have critical points of interaction layers that need to come together in the right way.”
Part of Phoenix Industrial’s success in finding the right solution to a client’s problem is from listening to clients in a collaborative manner, and being adaptive to those needs. “There are varying ways of approaching a problem,” Kelly reasons. “When we do it, we come with a clean slate and listen to what the client is asking of us and we take that very seriously. We look at the problem from technical, construction and procurement perspectives to find the optimal approach.”
More about Phoenix
Phoenix Industrial is an Alberta-based company that provides fabrication, construction and maintenance services to the oil and gas, pulp and paper, forestry and petrochemical industries throughout both Alberta and Saskatchewan. Fifteen years ago, the company mainly did facilities maintenance, specialising in turnarounds and shut downs, as well as construction and fabrication projects. Over time, however, industry members noticed Phoenix’s performance record. It was about five years ago that the team was invited to expand into new market segments, working with international companies on larger-scale projects.
“Phoenix Industrial was asked to work on megaprojects around the oil sands and its supporting facilities,” says Kelly. “From there, we branched out into full-scale construction management, increased our fabrication capabilities, started a scaffolding company and purchased an NDE company. We’re an integrated company. Phoenix continues to move up the value chain to provide general construction management and cost-controlled WorkFace Planning.”
Planning seems like a simple enough task, but in the construction industry, it’s an element that is oft underestimated. In fact, the Construction Owners Association of Alberta (COAA) has found that large construction projects have large overruns, due in part to insufficient planning and resource-related issues. From their field experience, Phoenix Industrial estimates that WorkFace Planning (WFP) can improve labour efficiency by 30 to 40 per cent, which would result in a 15 to 20 per cent savings on overall construction costs.
What is WFP?
Workface Planning is the process of organizing and delivering all the elements necessary, before work is started. It enables craft persons to perform quality work in a safe, effective and efficient manner. WFP means workers will have the necessary materials, equipment, tools, drawings, information and communication to do the job.
Phoenix Industrial has extensive experience with WFP and provides this service to all projects. For the company, it makes sense. The benefits are significant, providing all parties with an accurate overview of the project scope and schedule, from start to project finish. At any point in the process, the project management team can provide valuable information, based on confirmed productivity in the field, such as project end dates, manpower curves, system and sub-system commissioning dates.
When asked why WFP has become so popular, Kelly answered, “The industry started recognising that traditional methods of construction management—when it comes to large-scale projects—couldn’t meet the daily demands of tracking costs, schedules etc. There became a demand for some type of automation and the need to deconstruct operations into manageable packages, so work could be reported clearly and executed efficiently.”
“WFP became the driving force to do these projects better,” he adds. “What happened with Phoenix Industrial is we had already had many of these methods in place. Three years ago, we decided to look at how the construction process is executed, and how each step is reflected in cost. For the last three years, we have executed each project like a cost study. We look at things from a different perspective than most construction companies, especially when it comes to understanding the details that drive cost up or down. WFP solidified our own process.”
As Phoenix Industrial continues to set itself apart as an innovator in the field, there is good reason to believe the company will only go up from here. Once a regional player in north-western Alberta, the company is now also in the process of centralising their office in Edmonton and looking for space in Calgary. Plans are in the works to expand their fabrication capacity in the Edmonton area.
“Long term is about moving up the value chain,” Kelly says. “We started as a traditional construction company with a defined scope and we’re good at that physical component. But as we have matured, we have built higher-value services on top of an already-strong construction foundation. We’re comfortable with overall project execution and we continue to broaden our capabilities in construction management and procurement, on top of that. Our focus is on strengthening our expertise, so we can be as service-oriented as possible. Phoenix Industrial aims to provide the breadth and depth of project execution skills required for projects now and in the future.”