A Brazilian mechanical and electrical company, Enesa has had its hand in building the country’s infrastructure for the past 30 years. Lee Weingast speaks with Bernardo Pimenta, the company’s executive sales manager, about how Enesa has managed to provide outstanding quality across a wide range of sectors.
It isn’t easy to track down Bernardo Pimenta, Enesa’s executive sales manager. Since the electromechanical assembly company was founded in 1977, he’s been traveling throughout Brazil’s expansive territory visiting large-scale work sites and making sure that the company’s extraordinary high safety, environmental and quality standards are being met. And it’s a good thing too, given that Enesa is responsible for the construction of some huge-scale projects integral to Brazil’s infrastructure, such as hydroelectric power plants, mining installations and oil refineries to name just a few. At any given moment, more than 8,500 Enesa employees are carefully and safely maneuvering heavy equipment and tools in their task of mounting enormous structures. This company’s commitment to improvement through achieving a balance in quality, profitability, safety and productivity is impressive and evident in all aspects of its activities. Enesa’s projects are mechanical and electrical but are always based on a genuine concern for human beings and the environment. Pimenta says that the company is proud that all its employees, “work in total safety; they come to work and go back home healthy.”
LIGHT AFTER THE DARK
The 1980s presented serious economic challenges to the South American country. Pimenta explains the company’s response to the recession in Brazil as, “rather mineiro.” For those of us not familiar with the traditions of the state of Minas Gerais, he clarifies, “We saw the crisis and we shrunk: we reduced our activities and income, we didn’t adventure out much and we survived. We didn’t seek out projects and preferred to keep conservative and low-risk.” This stance certainly seems to have been a wise one because Enesa weathered the rough patch and thrived in the years following the crisis. Today Enesa is one of the largest erector contractors in Brazil and, with earnings of R$800 million, ranked second last year in terms of income.
A dry spell in the year 2002 overtaxed Brazil’s power grid, which was heavily dependent on hydro-electric energy, and the year was marked by a series of major blackouts in the country. In order to diversify its energy supply the Brazilian government instituted a program to promote the construction of emergency thermal-electric power plants. Enesa was part of the force behind this shift, playing a key role in the construction of the new natural gas facilities for Petrobrás and other companies.
HEALTHY AND SAFE
Safety is an integral part of Enesa’s company culture. Of course profit and client satisfaction are key elements in the company’s mission but Enesa’s integrity is evident in the fact that accident and injury prevention is valued even above productivity, cost and quality. The company’s deep respect for people is shown in its strict adherence to all norms, laws and requirements for OHSAS 18.001, rigorous occupational health and safety guidelines. Training is provided and safety procedures are strictly followed by all employees at every step of every project. Not putting any member at any level of the Enesa team at risk without the right protection, is a value which permeates all practices. All work sites are monitored to ensure impeccable health and safety standards are maintained. This year, at the Alumar Aluminium Refinery Expansion project, Pimenta boasts that the company has completed 10 million man hours without accident and he points out that Enesa has been recognized with ISO: 9000 certification.
Enesa is aware of the increased world-wide concern about environment. Pimenta acknowledges that given the nature of the work – construction of dams, mines and the like – the company is responsible for some initial destruction. But he points out that the company has, “worked a lot on respect for environment and social responsibility.” And he goes on to explain, “If you come to our work site here in Maranhão, you’ll see lots of evidence of our environmental concern. First of all it’s clean, we recycle trash, there is no oil spilling out of machines (all are well-maintained).” Thousands of Enesa’s workers are housed on-site and are welcomed to their new home with training workshops on efficiency, safety and the environment. In 2007 Enesa was honored by Petrobrás for excellence in social responsibility. All projects proposed by Enesa’s clients must receive a certificate of environmental impact from IBAMA, the Brazilian environmental protection agency and because environmental responsibility is highly valued at Enesa, the company follows all guidelines for the ISO: 14.001 environmental certification.
Enesa prides itself on dispatching its own well-trained, highly skilled workforce for all its jobs. While there is some outsourcing, a full 80 to 90 percent of jobs are staffed by the company’s own employees. Pimenta explains, “Our projects in mining, metallurgy, etc. usually demand a force of around 1,000 men and most of our jobs take one- to two- and a-half years.” From mining to dams to steel plants assembly and construction, Enesa’s contracts which can range from R$100 million to R$700 million are big deals both in terms of Brazilian infrastructure and industry and in sheer size.
FEET ON THE GROUND
Pimenta proudly announces that the company has grown quite a bit in recent years, “From 2004 to 2008, the company has more than doubled: it has nearly tripled!” He sees the tables have turned and the leans times of the 1980s are over. Enesa is making major investments and have been able to attain growth, as Pimenta puts it, “with our feet on the ground.”
Enesa provides guidance and expertise in all aspects of project planning and implementation for assembly and equipment installation for its valued clients across a variety of sectors. Steel Plants, dams, mining facilities, power plants, ports throughout Brazil are assembled and constructed by Enesa for clients of considerable size and import including Petrobrás, Alcoa, Usiminas, Belgo-
Mineira: Alumar, Vale do Rio Doce, Siemens and other multi-nationals. Currently, says Pimenta, “The Alumar contract is our biggest one right now with 4,500 men at work on the largest construction site of expansion of an aluminum factory in the world. And we’re responsible for 60 percent of all the work done there.” This supersized project began in February 2007 and is scheduled to be completed in April 2009. For now, Enesa’s projects are all within Brazil’s boundaries but company management is studying the possibility of expanding into other areas of South America.
Where is Enesa going in the future? Pimenta says that the company will continue to look ahead by evaluating possibilities for growth and expansion with its “feet on the ground.” He adds, “Improving the quality of our work so our clients are always satisfied and will return to us” remains a core value of the company. Pimenta credits the company’s personnel, especially a team of engineers, technicians and supervisors who manage to keep an eye on Enesa’s successes and stumbling blocks in order to continually implement best practices in all aspects of the business. With its feet on the ground and its head on its shoulders, Enesa’s future looks bright.