This was the laconic reply from one procurement manager working for a major Finnish construction firm, in response to our glazing installation offer for a large-scale new building object. This example keeps coming to my mind every now and then. And it evokes a question: how to describe our project business at Lumon? What is it like?
Both in traditional physics and astrophysics, scientists have been looking for and contemplating a Theory of Everything that could fully unify the four fundamental interactions of nature. This is the point where I must end my lecture on physics, as my knowledge of physics is too limited.
Do we dare to assume that a successful project business is based on a major unifying theory that fully explains everything? If so, why hasn't the Nobel prize committee earlier figured it out and awarded the prize to Lumon? Our theory would have shaken the foundation of contemporary physics. A Nobel prize for the provision of better balcony facades would suit us fine, wouldn't it?
It is true, however, that we haven't yet found the theory (if the case were the other way round, the smart Nobel guys in Sweden and Norway would have figured it out, I guess so). Instead of finding a theory, we must define our project business at Lumon with our own sincere, flawless and empirical terms. That is why we must review our project business through our own customer-oriented interactions. While riding on my imaginary donkey over an arch bridge, I aim to go through our project operations and ask: what are the interactive operations like between our project customers and the persons representing Lumon?
In my opinion, interactive operations could be compared with pieces of classical music. Similarly, our project operations seem to include different themes, their developments and a number of motives. The same applies to The Ring of the Nibelung, the epic opera that was composed by Richard Wagner. In our relations with our customers, we generally operate within a framework offered by some leading motives. Before reaching tangible outcomes, which generally takes place at final project stages, our projects have called for several stages, secondary themes, arias, recitals and intermezzos (by phone).
How about if I now swap the aforementioned donkey for a hobby-horse – it's a bit like those Wagnerian horses that were ridden by beautiful Valkyr maidens – and ride over the battlefields, still using the terms of music. At best, a prelude with customers begins to sound harmonic, when we, as employees at Lumon, adopt a role that helps our customers think and feel we provide them with such advisory, creative and solution-oriented assistance that results in a successful implementation of the project.
In our daily work, this all calls for arranging meetings with customers, listening to customers, negotiations, calculations, measurements, installation of models. Discussions. Meetings. Negotiations.
No matter where our project content negotiations have taken place: on the Potemkin stairs in Odessa (yes, that's where we have also negotiated), on the River Neva in St Petersburg, on the River Vistula in Warsaw, on the River Danube in Bratislava, on the River Danube in Wien, on the River Danube in Belgrade, on the River Danube in Linz, or on the banks of the North Atlantic Ocean in Kópavogur, close to Reykjavik. We have put our customer-oriented interaction principles into practice in all these and many other project negotiations in various parts of Europe.
The sustainable development scheme provides us with a framework for a package that includes environmental aspects (that relate to both carbon footprint and carbon handprint), recyclability of materials, as well as positive, measurable properties (energy savings and noise abatement) and impacts of glazing systems. Furthermore, our customers have emphasised increasingly eagerly that environmental aspects must be widely taken into account, in accordance with the sustainable development principles.
In our international project business, we must adopt and understand such country-specific construction legislation requirements that may deviate from each other. There are plenty of legislative deviations even within such EU countries that are trying to harmonise their legislation. It must be remembered that even sections of law may be interpreted differently in various regions of some countries.
When themes and motives have finally found a common progression at the end of each project, the visible final result of the project is, in the end, like a fast-flowing stream – no less than a symphonic masterpiece. The "Lumonized” balcony facade creates greater added value for our project customers than a facade's separate parts would do alone. A cooperation between us and the customer has resulted in an outcome that resembles something, which, in some sense, is quite close to the Nobel prize, all right?
What about the end result of the negotiation with the aforementioned procurement manager, who was working for a Finnish construction firm? It was easy for us to share his opinion that the bottom might not actually tolerate salty seawater. After further discussions, we came, together, to a conclusion that Lumon glazing systems will, indeed, withstand both rainwater and seawater. And then we clinched the deal.