Procurement – effective management is key to success
Linde Engineering is a global leader in plant construction with a proven track record in the delivery of turnkey industrial assets. Smooth and efficient assembly of contractual plants and plant components on site hinges on an optimized procurement organization. Our success here shows that this extends much further than buying goods and getting them from A to B.
It all starts with a detailed project plan
As our name suggests, we specialize in the precision engineering of high-performance process components and tailor-made industrial plants. But our work does not stop there. Once completed, this equipment and the high-quality components we source from our suppliers have to be carefully transported to where they are needed, on time – whether that be to our own fabrication yard or our customer’s production site. And this is where Linde’s
procurement specialists come in. Their work starts as soon as the customer signs the dotted line. They prepare a detailed plan to ensure the success of all subsequent construction and assembly steps. Linde Engineering operates seven procurement centers in different regions across the globe – thus ensuring close proximity to the various suppliers and partner companies that work for and with us. We have a wealth of experience as a one-stop provider of industrial plants and, as general contractor, excel at professionally managing the entire engineering, procurement and construction process flow.
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Our global team masters even the most challenging projects. The
nitrogen rejection unit (NRU) we built for a customer in Australia is a prime example here. This unit was integrated into one of the country’s largest natural gas plants in order to increase the calorific value of the natural gas. Reaching beyond the technological challenges, Linde Engineering’s procurement team also successfully overcame all logistical and organizational hurdles in this complex project. Highlights of this project included the modular design of the NRU. The four modules were assembled in Tarragona, Spain, under the supervision of Linde’s engineering team at Schalchen, Germany. After this, the NRU was shipped practically ready-to-run from Europe to Australia. Our engineers had to plan and manufacture a host of different plant components to meet the special conditions on site and so the entire project had to be exceptionally well coordinated. On completion of the manufacturing work, the procurement team was responsible for coordinating the order process to ensure each part is available at Tarragona for assembly – precisely when it is needed.
Modularization was also the key to success when we were asked to transport an
ethylene cracking furnace. Logistics and timelines are even more important when it comes to modular designs. Which is why the procurement team makes sure from the very beginning that subcontractors, partner companies and shipping firms can also meet the high-quality standards and schedules required for the project. Linde has continued to strengthen its technical expediting capabilities in recent years and expanded its global reach. The parts for the cracking furnace, for example, were sourced from over a dozen countries. We process around 30,000 orders a year and have developed a platform to streamline communications and the process flow. Suppliers can upload their data and documents, and the system automatically checks that the subject matter is correct.
In many cases, our projects are run to extremely tight deadlines. A project perfectly illustrates how Linde Engineering works professionally, reliably and successfully even under extreme time pressure. An industrial complex for producing, storing and transporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) was built at record speed. The plant was designed to have an annual capacity of around 1.5 million tons of LNG per year. As part of this project, our engineers rapidly constructed an LNG storage tank. Speed was a top priority for the customer and future operator of the plant and so our engineering and procurement experts drew up an ambitious timeline for the project that would see the 42,000 cubic meter tank built in just 22 months. This called for special construction technologies. The outer tank, for example, which is 30 meters high and 60 centimeters thick, was erected by sliding the concrete wall upwards. This project also called for close and productive collaboration across teams from different companies. This meant that our experts had to efficiently and continually coordinate timelines, and maintain close contact with all subcontractors. The success of this project is proof that all technological and logistical processes dovetailed to perfection, confirming Linde Engineering’s reputation as a reliable, flexible partner.
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Organizing heavy haulage and shipping oversized consignments are everyday tasks for our procurement team. Impressive references in this area include the delivery of two coldboxes to one of the world’s largest research facilities, the
European Spallation Source (ESS) located at Lund in Sweden. The coldboxes were developed by
Linde Kryotechnik in Pfungen, Switzerland. Measuring ten meters long and 3.5 meters in diameter, the boxes weigh approximately 40 tons. The special requirements for these one-of-a-kind modules once again show how Linde Engineering makes the impossible possible – whether transporting equipment in containers, trucking ton-heavy components across Europe or shipping process equipment by sea. In some cases, we even have special cargo vessels built to transport spectacularly heavy loads to their destinations. All of these transport and shipping abilities help us reliably realize even the most complex engineering projects and deliver on time – regardless of location, scale or schedule.
Team management at scale
Close collaboration with customers and supply partners is essential – even if just to successfully manage the sheer number of orders involved in engineering projects. For example, our procurement experts have to process around 100 orders for smaller projects and highly standardized plants. This figure climbs to 500 for medium-sized projects and to more than 2,000 for large-scale projects and highly customized plants – as was recently the case with our project for Reliance Industry Limited in
Jamnagar, India. The ongoing success story in serving this customer underscores another of our core competencies: We work successfully in large teams bringing together internal and external stakeholders. And we have created the right organizational structures for this kind of teamwork. All individual work strands dovetail to perfection so our customers can look forward to on-time, on-quality and on-spec handover of their industrial equipment.