CT: Infraserv Höchst is aggressively pursuing a policy of developing business at external sites. Yet over the years comparatively few external site projects have actually materialised. How important is the operation of external sites for your business model?
Mohr: It is of great strategic importance. We are of the firm persuasion that we can apply our wealth of expertise at any site at which we are active to generate cost advantages in the interests of our clients and add to our knowledge in the process. And, of course, we would also like to earn money with the product ‘site operation‘. Moreover, companies from other sectors – whether building companies, waste management operations, energy suppliers, or maintenance companies – have also discovered this area of activity. However, on the basis of the experience we have gained in the course of almost 20 years as successful operator of Industriepark Höchst, above all with our specific industrial expertise, we can offer compelling solutions for manufacturers of chemical, pharmaceutical, and paper products. The main reason for the slow rate of materialisation of the site projects is that site operation is not a well-established, conventionally marketed service. Many companies have yet to attain true cost transparency with regard to their expenditure on infrastructure. They still have to recognise the huge potential for optimisation that slumbers here.
CT: You have already developed such activities at Griesheim, Monheim, and Marburg. What are the opening steps associated with such projects?
Mohr: The first step is always to establish cost transparency. We have developed our own tool for this. For some sites it is sufficient to know the costs, others then want to draw up specific projects. The main objective is to introduce flexibility into infrastructure costs. Hitherto, it has usually been the rule that infrastructure plant and the resulting costs are simply ‘given‘ and can hardly be influenced by changes, for example, in the production process. We create synergies and exploit optimisation possibilities permitting rapid and flexible adaptation of the infrastructure to the specific demands of the client. In the case of Industriepark Griesheim, where we encountered a challenging market situation in 2009, we clearly benefit from the proximity to Industriepark Höchst. Here there are numerous synergy effects which we exploit to the full.
At Marburg we are helping to establish the new Novartis site. We started with the construction of the energy centre and our subsidiary GIS Infrasite is currently assisting with the expansion of pharmaceuticals production. This is a scale-up project for which the client does not intend to provide any human resources activities. The Creative Campus at Monheim, which we took over in 2012, constitutes a third example – here the focus is on laboratories as well as utility supply and waste management solutions.
CT: What has been your experience with the operation of external sites?
Mohr: It is all running very well. We invested considerable time in the concept phase and thus attained far greater clarity as to the challenges facing us. Our expectations were largely fulfilled. However, the initial conceptual approach usually covers just 80 % of the whole. Some areas were significantly expanded and in some cases services were cut back. Yet precisely this flexibility represents a decisive advantage for the client, particularly since we can react to changes very quickly. Commercial expectation were largely fulfilled, for us and for our clients.
CT: Griesheim is a comparatively large site. In contrast, Monheim is an example of a medium-size site, of which there are thousands in Germany and elsewhere in Europe. What principles apparent from take-over of the management of the Monheim site do you consider to be applicable to other sites?
Mohr: The Monheim site is of manageable proportions, but has its own infrastructure with access control, building management, and tasks typical of a chemical park. The need for a site operator arose from its development into a multi-user site: The park is home to various legally independent entities, each with a different core business. Questions inevitably arise in connection with matters such as responsibility for safety. These topics have to be addressed systematically, and the wealth of experience we have acquired over the years can help to avoid problems. It is relatively easy for us to structure such questions and then develop answers.
CT: Could the operator have done that on its own?
Mohr: The core business of a research or manufacturing entity does not include such tasks – ours does. The advantage for the client: He has a very good overview of the expenses associated with the various infrastructure services, and is in a position to control the costs. Flexibility is another benefit: If a company needs more or less floorspace, energy, or other services, then it is up to us to put in place the conditions to ensure that these needs are met.
CT: Many small and medium-size chemical companies have no desire to split up into several entities, yet site operation is not their core business.
Mohr: That it how we see it too. There are various interesting points of interaction here: We handle a whole series of special tasks for such clients. These include operation of power and natural gas grids. An operator needs to have a certain critical mass and level of competence to keep abreast of current developments in these areas. We can provide support in dealing with complex issues that would be too challenging for a small company in the long term.
Dr. Roland Mohr
Since 2004 Dr. Roland Mohr is member of the Board of Infraserv Höchst. Headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany, Infraserv Höchst operates advanced infrastructure for companies in the chemical, pharmaceutical and related process industries. After studying chemistry in Würzburg, Zurich and Münster, Dr. Roland Mohr worked for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and joined Hoechst AG in 1995 as laboratory manager pigment development. From 1998 on Mohr was project manager for the design and implementation of the organization of drug innovation at Hoechst Marion Roussel Germany and later on Commercial Director of R&D at Aventis Pharma Germany.
Sie sind bereits registriert?Hier anmelden
Infraserv GmbH & Co. Höchst KG