Managing Director GEC India Robert Allan: ‘100% BIM by the end of 2018’

Rameshwari Bhoyar, April 10th, 2018

Global Excellence Centre (GEC) India was established in October 2009 and became a part of Arcadis in 2014. There are five offices in India located in Bangalore, Mumbai, and Hyderabad. We work with various lead regions all around the world in Water, Infrastructure and Environment. Robert Allan is the Managing Director of GEC India. Below is an insight of the work we do here. 

Robert Allan, Managing Director – Global Excellence Centre, India

01. Can you please give us your brief introduction?

I started my career in construction, then worked in facilities management, social housing renewable energy and in 2012 I joined the design consultancy Arcadis. I have a background in commercial management. In 2015, I was delighted to take up the role of Global Design Manging Director for India. I have been here for nearly three years, and we have doubled the size of the business from just under 400 employees to 800 employees in 2018 and we are aiming to grow to 1000 employees by end of 2018. My key drivers are generating long term value, sustainable relationships, and profitable performance. I focus on commercial and operational management, team development and collaboration within the business.

02. What is the role of GEC’s in Arcadis’ Business and what do we do here?

GEC’s role is to be a partner for the lead regions and provide them the capacity and capability of our highly skilled people here. We provide the lead regions benefit of commercial advantage that helps them win new work and deliver sustainable outcomes. GEC’s allow the regions to have choices. Lead regions can take on new work and bid for work more competitively, with the comfort of extra resources with a variety of capabilities to help them. We are developing our capabilities in line with the regions, often developing at an even faster pace with new technologies. Having an aptitude for continuous development and improvement will allow us to achieve 100% BIM and develop more broadly in the Digital world.

03. Which are the major projects GEC India is currently working on? Which regions does GEC India support?

In terms of current projects, we are really fortunate to be working on the High Speed Rail (HS2) project for the UK. The client is Eiffage Kier (EK). We have nearly 100 people working on this project for the past 9 months (approximately 40 FTE’s) throughout the duration. We have delivered about 15% of the total work. Our clients visited GEC India last week, one of the very few clients to visit the office here. We have been advised that detailed design work will now be commenced earlier than plan, and they are likely to bring forward approximately £60 Million spend on the project, of which 20% could be design and will come to the Arcadis UK and GEC offices. It will comprise highways, rail and highway structures and drainage. It also brings an opportunity for us to get involved in stakeholder management through the aid of digital visualisation tools.

GEC India was setup to support the UK. Over time, we have expanded to support the Middle-East and Continental Europe (Belgium) in Water, the Netherlands, and Australia in Rail. We also support North America in Environment, Water, and Infrastructure. Recently, we have commenced supporting Chile in Water, Rail, and Environment and Hongkong in Geosciences.

Bangalore office, India

04. How does GEC align with our current strategy?

GEC India was co-incidentally realigning its approach to operational and functional management of its business. We are very closely aligned with the current strategy and focussing on the three pillars. Within people and culture, we are particularly focussing on our career framework. We are also concentrating on our performance and development. We are focussing on collaborating with other GECs and integrating different disciplines. For innovation and growth, we want to achieve 100% BIM by the end of 2018. We are also looking forward to developing our advance data and analytics skillsets. We want to do the work we have not done before, work with new regions such as Latin America and develop skillsets higher up in the project lifecycle.

05. What is the biggest challenge you face as the Managing Director of GEC?

Key to success is the initial relationship building between the team in the lead region and counterparts of the GEC. Once the ice is broken, confidence naturally builds between the teams through working together, and it becomes easier to find solutions with GEC. We connect through the monthly visit windows in which overseas teams can visit our India offices or people take opportunity through quest to visit the regions. So, our biggest challenge, therefore is making that first connection and getting the teams talking and identifying solutions together.

06. What do you look forward to?

I look forward to visiting the leads regions, spending time with colleagues I have known for some time and building new relationships. I like to understand more about diverse range of skills and capabilities that we have and recognising that the services we give our clients are very different in each different region. I look forward to sharing that knowledge with the GEC teams and celebrating continual growth and mutual success through the In-Focus presentations that we have here, where I get a chance to update 800 people face to face.

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