Fri, 25/05/2018 - 05:05
Setting the Benchmark
Harlequin International (Ghana) Limited provides a market- focused, process-centred service, developing and delivering exceptional engineering solutions to customers through its flagship facilities
Writer: Phoebe Calver
Project Manager: Josh Hyland
Harlequin International (Ghana) Limited is a widely-respected market leader in fabrication, mechanical engineering and hydraulic services in Ghana, demonstrating an unwavering commitment to delivering the best possible level of workmanship and quality service.
The Company owner, Barry Williams, has made Ghana his home for the past 20 years and has driven the success of the limited liability organisation from the core.
“We have a stringent reinvestment policy to increase the competence within our team, as well as our infrastructure and tools used to execute the job,” explains Scott Thomson, Operations Director at Harlequin International. “This ensures that our work is always right the first time, utilising the correct tools and instruments, as well as listening to and taking notes of customer issues and improvement suggestions.”
Until the creation of Harlequin International (Ghana) Limited in 1998, hydraulic component repairs and servicing were predominantly an imported service.
Thompson continues: “Aspects such as order lead-times, shipping delays, expensive airfreights and other structural factors attendant to the importation of services has exacerbated downtime costs greatly.
“Subsequently, local companies were compelled to lock-up their scarce capital in high-insurance stock and sub-assembly units against anticipated emergencies to reduce downtime cost.”
Harlequin was officially commissioned for business in September, 1998 and has since gone from strength to strength as a truly successful engineering and hydraulic facility in Ghana.
“In May, 2005 we relocated to our own specialised premises, which demonstrated our competence in first-world operations of this nature in Ghana and Africa,” adds the Operations Director. “This new facility comprised a 2,000 square metre factory and 400 square metre office block, located in Tema, Light Industrial & Commercial Area.”
When it comes to project implementation and completion, more often than not each development will take more than a year and within the oil & gas sector it can take a number of years.
“Each project will begin with an RFI (request for information) and a customer will carry out an evaluation on the Company, working from a QHSE perspective and then a technical perspective,” Thomson affirms. “The assessment may also include an audit of the management systems to establish whether they are compliant.
“The following RFQ (request for quotation) enables us to complete and submit a tender or bid package, normally within limited submission deadlines and will include a technical and commercial bid offer.”
After these processes have been completed a bid review will take place, including an assessment or evaluation visit by the customer, as well as a detailed study of the shortlisted suppliers for the project.
“At that point the approved supplier will submit the required documentation and the next phase of work is able to begin,” continues Thomson. “Our main focus area for these projects is Ghana, however, we do carry out work in the West African region when the project proves to be a worthwhile mission. In terms of repair or manufacture of components, there is no limit placed on how far-reaching our footprint will go.”
The Company does not shy away from undertaking large-scale projects, perfectly demonstrated by its recent development of the Takoradi operations which was first established in 2003.
“Early this year our Tema Workshop was incorporated within the aforementioned Takoradi operations,” adds Thomson. “The workshop personnel were also transferred, leaving the Linde material handling equipment work, process control and other corporate support functions at the head office still located in Tema.
“Our newly improved Takoradi site is complete with three main workshop buildings, the first of which is the main fabrication workshop and consists of three extensive working bays.
“Each of the three bays has the capacity of 15,000kg, 30,000kg and 60,000kg of overhead cranage with a floor-to-hook height of 10,500mm lift, covering a total floor space of 4,650 square metres.”
The second workshop in the facility plays host to the CNC machine shop with a range of CNC lathes, CNC milling machines and a variety of equipment such as overhead cranage of 15,000kg with a floor-to-hook height of 5,500mm lift covering 800 square metres. Lastly the third workshop houses the hydraulic repair facilities with machine tools, a test bench, honing machine and a variety of equipment together with overhead cranage of 15,000kg, with a floor-to-hook height of 5,500mm lift covering 800 square metres.
“As a company our approach is to get the job done right the first time, resulting in a key investment in people to increase the competence with which we can deliver our services,” Thomson describes. “We place emphasis on ensuring that our staff are the most knowledgeable in the market, which subsequently cements us as a top-class Company.
“A good example of this is when we purchase equipment, after which we will either send our staff abroad or bring a manufacturer in-house to ensure the correct training can be done properly and with efficiency,” explains Thomson. “Our employment strategy is carried out by using a mixture of ‘new-blood’ and experience, while also promoting from within and providing internal-training.
“Of course, it is common that this decision will tend to depend on the competence, requirements of the role and availability of personnel at the time.”
The Company’s employees are trained to provide a one-stop-shop approach to its services, with fabrication, machining and hydraulics all housed on one site.
“We are successfully working in a first-world style facility, that is both under cover and with adequate lifting capacity,” continues the Operations Director. “This has attracted a great collection of key suppliers and partners that have been identified and assessed, who we work together with and collaborate in order to achieve continuous improvement for both parties.”
With thanks to its new and extensive facilities, the Company’s growth trajectory over the coming years looks set to be exponential.
“We have plans for additional workshop space with a lift capacity of 150 tonnes and 16 metres of floor-to-hook height,” concludes Thomson. “We hope to be able to continuously improve with the implementation of additional management system certification to work above the current ISO 9001:2015 certification for quality.
“This exciting process has already started and by the end of the fourth quarter of 2018, we will have certification in place for ISO/TS 29001:2010 for quality management systems in oil & gas operations, ISO 45001:2018 for occupational health & safety management systems and ISO 14001:2015 for environmental management systems.”