C&EN, November 12, 2018
Speech during the Chinese Banquet at the Hyatt Hotel to celebrate the inauguration of Building 2A in Macau on the 9th November 2001
Today we had the visit of the Macau Chief executive to mark the opening of the new facilities. This was a major effort and an investment of over $14m, we are all very pleased, but let me tell you how it all started.
An email dated 5th October, read as follows:
This is to advise the results of the competition of ideas; the decision of the jury was made public at a celebratory dinner on the 2nd October 1998. This was held at the Grémio Literário Club in Lisbon, the prizes were presented by Noé Carreira, José Rato and Guy Villax - members of the jury (Ivan Villax and Carlos Costa, also members of the jury, were not present).
The results were:
- Joint 1st Prize:
- Alfred Nobel - Jorge Pastilha
- Lavoisier - Alexandre Carvalho
- Joint 3rd Prize:
- Baeyer Team - Terry, Eddy, Leong, Eric, Boli
- Pasteur - José Lisboa
- The awarded prizes were:
- for each of the first prizes: about MOP45.000 in cash and a trip to Macau to see the new plant.
- for each of the third prizes: a trip to Macau to see the new plant for José Lisboa and a trip to Lisbon for each of the Baeyer team members to see chemical plants in Europe1.
The 4 documents will be copied and made available internally - you can get a copy at the Human Resources Department.
The Jury extends its thanks and congratulations to all participants; the ideas gathered during the competition were very valuable and are a great contribution to the design of new installations.
Back in 1998 Hovione had just started up B15, its new automated plant in Loures with a technically challenging new project, which would turn into Hovione’s biggest ever product. We had just passed an FDA inspection; we could have decided to become complacent and pleased with ourselves – we did not.
We felt that our plant design could be improved – we were looking for more flexibility, quicker change-over-time, better compliance by design – a plant that would give us better quality, better yields and better profits. So that summer we opened a competition for the best idea for a new API plant. The people at Hovione had another challenge.
Today, this opening, is exclusively a tribute to Hovione people and to their sense of engineering and creativity, their ability to design, plan and implement, to work as a multidisciplinary team in a multicultural environment and to manage a project that is designed in Portugal and made reality in Macau.
The achievement observed tough constraints:
- Full compliance with the toughest standards (FDA, ICH, ISPE);
- Strict concern for minimal expenditure.
Let me tell you about the project:
- Building 2A: we doubled the plant’s manufacturing capacity by adding 40m3 of reactors and 2 finishing lines with centrifuges/driers and packing rooms (class 100.000). All equipment is modular (identically and fully equipped) and totally flexible with the ability of interconnection in all situations. Separate sets of vents and vacuum lines enable the running of two separate products simultaneously with impossibility of cross- contamination. All equipment is connected to a DCS automation system;
- Buildings 7A and 4: we doubled all the utilities (mono-fluid system for heating and cooling, solvent storage, etc.);
- Building 11: we doubled the office space, and maintenance workshops;
- Building 9: we renovated the old fire-cracker factory stone house and turned into our canteen and social area, this is set in a Chinese garden set in the middle of large, century old, banyan trees.
Budgets and timelines:
- We have invested MOP120m investment (US$15m), overall we were 20% over budget;
- From License application to start-up 24 months elapsed.
- Improve our planning and project management skills;
- Allow more time to plan, design and review design critically – this might increase slightly project time, but it will allow us to be in budget (better purchasing and better planning), do a better job right-first-time and have less pressure and stress;
- Allow for more resources in the planning, controlling and project information function.
And to give glory, where glory is due, I must tell you that this project was the first one to be totally delegated to a project team of young in-house professionals. Noé Carreira, our Chief Engineer for 20 years was the project sponsor, and had an oversight role – otherwise the project team had “carte blanche” to design and implement what their training and career experience at Hovione told them was best: suited to our clients’ products, suited to difficult chemistries, flexible, compliant, engineered for quick-change-over and capable of earning profits while keeping our prices totally competitive, and our ability to being “always available” for the customer. I do mean “carte blanche”, both in terms of design and how the funds were spent.
My control over this project consisted on: signoff of the project baseline requirements and of the initial budget, and three visits to Macau. Somehow I am amazed at the ambition and the high standards the Project Team set for the “ideal plant”, the high level of investment it decided upon, the degree of sophistication in the automation, the ventilation, the CIP and product containment systems – the extensive use of hastelloy and stainless steel – and yet I authorized it and I trust the best judgment of the team; and I am sure this is the ideal plant. Over the coming 2 years we shall confirm this, and use your knowledge and experience to build more plants.
The stubbornness of the project team is to be commended! It may have led to some spurts of fury on my part, however on reflection no project manager could have achieved this exploit without the firmest belief in what he/she was doing the right thing.
I can imagine there have been some difficult moments, great pressures and too much constant stress. Yet I know that being involved in such a project is a terrific feeling, and the achievement of a job well done is worth everything. I know, I was here 15 years ago when we built the first phase of this plant.
Thank you for your efforts, and congratulations for your achievements – you can all be proud of yourselves and of your work.
Macau, 9th November 2001
1 As part of their European factories tour the Baeyer Team was kindly welcomed in Germany by Bayer, who organized visits in Kiel, Wuppertahl, Monheim and Leverkusen. The Baeyer team was made up of 5 plant operators (Eric Ng would seem to have had an undeclared leadership role… Eric today heads Safety and Warehouse services).