The secret ingredients in Fabtech’s secret sauce


The pharma industry has its share of troubled projects, and most industry insiders have at least one horror story or two of stalled, over budget, or failed projects. Managing a large turnkey pharmaceutical or biotechnology project, especially in certain geographies, comes with implicit challenges. The bigger the project, the more complicated it gets; there is more uncertainty and risk.

Ever so often we hear whispers and rumblings of disasters; of a particularly important project having stalled or gone dormant because the company executing the project wasn’t able to manage the project capably. Most of the companies executing these projects are non-manufacturing trader exporters who do not possess critical project management skills to execute the project properly. When you add to this improper domain knowledge, incomplete or no understanding of the geopolitical landscape, lack of an in-house team to manage the installation leading to an undue dependence on the whims of vendors and subcontractors you’re looking at the perfect recipe for disaster.

We’ve been called in to take over a number of stalled projects over the years. Our teams have been tempered by fire and complexity. We’ve worked on projects in war-torn nations like Iraq and Syria, tough geographies like Nigeria, and complicated countries like Sudan. We’ve used every project as an opportunity to learn. I can proudly say that even when faced with the worst we’ve never abandoned a project. So for us, even abandoned projects are a cakewalk in comparison. Some of the abandoned projects we’ve taken over and successfully delivered include a vaccine project in Nicaragua, a soft gel facility in Bahrain, an IV solutions project in Sudan and a multi-dosage facility in Nigeria. Our ability to deliver where others have been thwarted has resulted in us developing a reputation as the company to call, especially when it seems like a project will never see the light of day.

So how does Fabtech do things differently?

For one thing, we’re flexible. When it comes to projects that require external and government agency approvals, it doesn’t help to say that we’re going to stick to the contract. Especially when the changes required are prescribed by the regulator of that country. When we took over a stalled project recently, we realised that regulations for that project mandated BSL 3 when the previous contractor had delivered BSL 2. In situations like these, we’re not challenged. We’re prepared. Our domain expertise comes from years of experience combined with in-house manufacturing, design and contracting capability. Nothing matters more to us than ensuring our projects comply with regulatory standards of the country in question.

Secondly, unlike most of the turnkey solution providers in our domain, we’re actually “turnkey“. All the machinery, equipment and utilities that go into a project are manufactured at Fabtech plants or through partner manufacturers. We’re not consultants who integrate using third-party equipment and materials; we’re capability builders. Manufacturing everything in-house or through partner manufacturers gives us greater control. We’re able to manage project deadlines efficiently, and our teams know everything there is to know about the proper installation and functioning of the equipment. If we’re asked to upgrade or change spec entirely, we can, because we control the manufacturing process. We meet these requests with ease and view them as an opportunity to prove capability and build lasting relationships rather than as a chance to draw blood.

Third, and this is what makes us a game-changer, is that we are willing to commit. We commit resources, people and technology to ensure the success of every project we take on. For all our international projects we station a team onsite for the duration of the project. We’re always on hand to ensure the customer does not have to worry about a thing.

These are just some of the reasons our customers come back to us again and again. We are trusted in more than 40 countries – by governments, by institutions, by regulatory agencies and by companies themselves.

When you sign us on, you’re signing on a partner that will never let you down.

This post was originally published on LinkedIn on December 6, 2017.