Message from the Executive Board

Navigating stormy waters

To say 2020 was a challenge is an understatement. Yet thanks to the efforts of all the people at KAEFER, there is a great deal of success to look back upon. Co-CEOs Steen E. Hansen and Dr. Roland Gärber were invited to reflect upon the past year:

Steen E. Hansen

A very warm welcome to you from KAEFER in Bremen. We hope you are safe and well!

Roland Gärber

Thank you for taking the time to read our digital K-WERT.

We’d also like to express our heartfelt gratitude for being able to count on you throughout the course of this year. It has been a rocky road, but we’re on this path and mastering the challenges together.

Steen E. Hansen

It was a rough year, but also a learning year. We have had to deal with a situation we had never imagined would happen and we succeeded. Now more than ever we value interpersonal connection, which is why we wanted to reach out to you and share our thoughts.

Roland, how would you describe the year 2020 in short?

Roland Gärber

With the spread of Coronavirus and subsequent global pandemic, the entire world was suddenly dominated by one thing. From our employees and customers to governments and policymakers worldwide – everybody was influenced by that pandemic and nobody was able to directly influence anything by themselves.

So, 2020 was definitely a year like no other and brought immense challenges. We have faced hardship and difficulty before, but this time we had to scrap all our plans and “drive by sight” with the simple focus on keeping the business going. This was a mammoth task, involving securing access to sites and offices, working with clients and regulators to fulfil constantly changing guidelines and, of course, ensuring the health and safety of our workforce and employees.

Steen E. Hansen

Yes, and I would like to highlight, KAEFER is very good when it comes to mastering complex, large-scale challenges. Our decades of experience have helped to make us more resilient and have given us the knowledge and insight to know how to handle sudden changes and challenges. From organising crisis teams in all entities at near breakneck speed and focusing efforts on procuring PPE to fostering unconventional solutions. We did what we had to do to make the challenging situation as tolerable as possible. Yet it was still like navigating stormy waters without the aid of navigation.

We had to change course when circumstances shifted and aim for the safest harbours where we could. It was all about finding the right path through the turmoil and keeping our people and our business safe.

Roland Gärber

Given the sheer volume and scale of the projects we have around the world it was imperative to try and keep things moving where we could and to mitigate issues where we couldn’t. We put in the effort to ensure that the new circumstances we found ourselves in were as safe and productive as possible, regardless of whether it was from your home office or construction site.

Steen E. Hansen

When thinking back about the year, what makes me proud is the commitment of all our employees, their flexibility to adapt and to get the work done in a completely new environment.

Roland Gärber

For me, our health and safety record and our safety culture have been one of the top achievements of the year. Despite the huge challenges we faced, we still managed to keep our HSE statistics better than they have ever been, exceeding our own targets for this year. Above and beyond our safety culture, we have clearly seen the benefits of established mechanisms and processes stability to make our work better and more efficient, such as LEAN to name one example. In many cases, this allowed work to continue to function on sites even when only a limited number of people were allowed access.

We also wouldn’t have done things as well as we have without the use of digital tools. We’ve experienced first-hand why this is so important this year and we now have to further accelerate the harmonisation of processes to support digitalisation in the company. There is no digitalisation without prior harmonisation! This is also reflected in our Digital Roadmap, which we started last year and continuously pursue.

If I look back at what we’ve achieved, against the odds and in the toughest of circumstances, I’m more than just hopeful that we will prevail – I’m certain.

Many of the successes we have been able to enjoy this year are based on all the hard work we have put in in previous years and it goes to show that working towards common aims bears fruit – especially when faced with challenges.

Steen E. Hansen

Our employees have walked the extra mile this year and I have seen the dedication, the flexibility and the resilience shown across the KAEFER Group. This not only makes me optimistic for the coming year, but I am certain we will master the future challenges.

Steen E. Hansen & Roland Gärber

We can count on you and you can be sure that you can count on us. We are one team. The KAEFER Team!