Globalization is one of the great revolutions of modern times. We are closer to each other. We can trade through universal languages. We were able to place ourselves quickly in places with distances previously unthinkable. But the physical distance barrier is currently the least important when doing business abroad. At VentilAQUA, we started our internationalization process almost 20 years ago. We knew it would not be an easy trip. We knew the difficulties that we would encounter, as well as the difficulties that we did not know that we would encounter.
The industrial wastewater treatment business is very particular anywhere in the world. In addition to the most obvious cultural differences, there are more specific ones, which differ from one country to another. We present you with 8 big challenges of wastewater treatment worldwide.
This is a challenge across the entire operation. Some deals can be done without a team traveling to the site. Be it for negotiation, or on-site project evaluation. There are cultures in which physical presence is essential when negotiating. For that reason, our sales team travels around the world for these personal contacts, to raise confidence and personal knowledge. Complementary to the sales approach, also our equipment can be produced locally, in selected and pre-approved local manufacturing facilities. In certain countries and markets, customs issues can hamper the entrance of heavy machinery. If there are problems that can be solved within a short distance, others are hampered by the lack of a natural approach.
Problems arise at any time of the day, whether in the United States or China. In our team, we always try to be present to help each question or problem. This often makes us work outside our working hours. At VentilAQUA, we have online monitoring systems that allow us to access treatment plants 24 hours a day. We know that our availability is one of the added value we have. The challenge of time difference is important, but it did not prevent us from carrying out successful works in places like São Paulo (-3h difference), Dubai (+4h difference) or New Caledonia (+11h difference).
WWTP in South America
We know that there are markets where the language barrier can be a problem. However, until today we have not failed to carry out a single project due to this barrier. We have a website in English only, not in our native language, for example. If you are contacted by telephone by VentilAQUA, we can communicate in several languages such as Spanish, English, French and Italian. When at the working sites, we know it can be a bigger problem. We prepare all materials (instructions, manuals, guides, screen Synoptics) according to the knowledge and preparation of professionals who will be working on site. In some cases, we make sure that there is always a local partner that connects and interacts with the different teams. We have been working in the five Continents, with no worries about language nor the team’s knowledge share.
We know that H20 is the universal chemical formula for water. Despite this, we also know that it is not the same nor is it abundant everywhere. There are places where water scarcity is a daily public health problem. In addition to the professional issue, our knowledge requires us to have a responsible attitude towards this global scourge. As an example, we have extensive works in various locations in India and Africa, regions that suffer from serious drinking water quality problems. Even in industries with heavy metals and difficult to remove contaminants, we offer efficient treatment solutions. We don’t face problems. We base our offering on the knowledge that protects our future.
WWTP in South America
The weather can greatly affect the entire logistics of a project. You don’t have to be an engineer to realize that conditions for installing work in Scandinavia are very different from the conditions in Latin America. If in a work in Peru we have very low humidity percentages, in west Africa, we have to deal with high humidity and prepare all electrical appliances for that with special protective coatings, in Sweden we have to work with negative degrees, which affects chemicals and chemical reactions. Or even in the Gulf region, where in summer you work at night and never in the afternoon. Materials chosen for each of these projects must adequate for those thermal or climate requirements. The climate variable is inseparable. The whole team must be prepared to face extreme conditions.
The suitability of all materials for installation is a fundamental condition for the success of a work. Experience tells us that this adaptation can involve very specific contours. Norms and standards vary from latitude to latitude, and the knowledge of these different requirements is critical for the success of the project. The power supply that you have in Europe is different from the one you’ll have on other continents. All need to be adapted and work according to the local conditions and requirements. Also, water quality is different, which influences chemicals and thus chemical reaction performances or kinetics. Materials are also different. Each region has its market leaders and brands, most of the times with different specifications from other markets and countries. Our global network of affiliates and partners helps us to understand and adapt to those local and regional situations. In some locations, material availability is also a problem. It requires a much more detailed project planning from the beginning. Also, a strong focus on guaranteeing that all materials are shipped from our facilities and no extra material will be needed locally. We avoid losses of time (sometimes days) to get a specific part which is not even important or critical or valuable.
WWTP in Africa
Each culture has its way of working. The clash between different work rhythms can be motivated by many variables, such as customs or religion. Deep knowledge of the regional culture and behavior, habits and uses, as well as the strong respect for all these cultural differences is paramount to achieve a good and profitable relationship with all. We know that efficient supervision can make a difference when it comes to completing a job with customer requirements. In regions where the workforce is less qualified, we invest in continuing training for workers. The concept of Time is also a source of misunderstandings and lost efficiency, but once you understand that, you can adapt and manage your time accordingly.
Political instability and security
Here are the last one of the 8 big challenges of wastewater treatment worldwide. Despite being an aspect of a more Macro reality, it is still a challenge. More than once, we were forced to postpone and even refuse projects due to that country’s political and regulatory instability. In this market, but as in all industrial activities, staff safety and security must always come first. Without exception. Often, economic interests are not the decisive factor in moving towards a particular project. VentilAQUA doesn’t deal in public works, thus our political “entourage” is not critical, but we also don’t work in projects where “no ethical” approaches are mandatory or necessary to pursue.
We presented you with 8 big challenges of wastewater treatment worldwide. Click here to read more articles about wastewater treatment.