Uncertainty – The Challenge of the Future

At this time of another blow of economic uncetainty, the only certain to happen in the future is its uncertainty of not happening. It is a seemingly paradoxical statement but that is the reality at this time. Nobody knows or nobody can predict what will be happening to the global economy tomorrow or the next day.

A group of technicians have worked overtime to finish a set of air conditioning equipment and ductings, loaded them into a truck, ready for delivery to the project site the next morning. The technicians have been working overtime for several days to beat project delivery schedules.

When they reported to the factory the next morning, the gate was padlocked and some security personnel were posted to guard the gate. Nobody are allowed to enter the factory premises anymore. The reason – the company have gone into liquidation as it could not pay its suppliers.

A car factory will be reducing its manpower by several hundreds to be able to reduce its operating cost as its car sales have been bearish the first semester of this year.

A project team has been meeting for several days with the client to plan the a project execution. The project feasibility study has already been on-going for almost a year costing the client almost two (2) million dollars. There was even a project milestone completion celebration. During the last meeting, the project manager received a call from the client’s project management team. He needed to leave the meeting and gone right away to the client.

The next morning, the project team members received a late night email from the project manager saying that the project is now put hold indefinitely. There has been no reason given.

The challenge this year is how to cope up with the uncertainty. Major EPCM companies are using their subsidiary companies in India, China and Philippines to be able to win projects. If not, their cost will just be sky rocketing and no project will be landing on their laps. Will the off loading works to low cost labor countries be the trend? It remains to be seen.

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