People of Takenaka
Making projects successful through partnership
Petr Urválek
Takenaka Europe GmbH
Making projects successful through partnership
An event that greatly changed my life

In 2003, I joined Takenaka Europe GmbH, which is a member of the Takenaka Group with subsidiaries in Asia, Europe and the United States. Since that time, I have been involved in the construction management of automobile and other factories.

I majored in architecture at a university in my home country of the Czech Republic, and I graduated with the goal of being a designer. I found out about Takenaka Europe, which was constructing a prominent large-scale project at that time, while I also had employment interviews with several Czech construction companies. During the Takenaka interview process, visiting the construction site of this major project changed my life dramatically

I was very impressed by the spirit of teamwork at the site as Takenaka people were sincere in their interactions with the customer and subcontractors, who were treated as project partners. After witnessing a unique style that was not found in European construction companies at the time, I made my decision to work for Takenaka Europe.

Language and cultural differences are
the source of breakthroughs

Our construction sites have personnel from European and Asian countries as well as countries that surround the sites. On occasion, I have felt frustrated when I have not been able to communicate my thoughts well due to differences in ways of thinking and language barriers. As we went about solving our daily problems, however, we came to realize that differences in roots and thinking could generate new ideas and contribute greatly to improving our skills. In this way, I am so happy to have been blessed with the colleagues I have had.

I think there is a tendency for people to want to impose their own way of thinking and values on others while denying those of others. At Takenaka Europe, however, we have been aided by colleagues who have tried to gather wisdom by respecting others beyond borders and positions. Those people and experiences have truly been my treasure.

The key to project success is
"partnership" with our customers

I have some unforgettable memories, one of which was a Jaguar Land Rover Slovakia New Plant project. Just after signing a contract for one building with customer, I was approached about design and construction of another building that was scheduled to be ordered from another company.

We were happy to be receiving the new order, and more than that, we were delighted that our customer trusted us. On the other hand, this project had grown in size several times, so it was not so easy to accept from risk and capacity point of view. As a condition for this additional order, I explained the importance and role of partnership to the customer and they agreed. We then mobilized our existing personnel and recruited dozens of new employees. We also carefully checked conditions such as the construction period while working with our people to find solutions to respective problems.

Through this and other past experience, I have learned a vital lesson, which is that partnership with the customer is critical to the success of a project. Going beyond the standpoint of customer and contractor, the goal of our partner relationships is to work together to do our best for the success of the project. Naturally, the burden on each other increases. When the aforementioned project was completed, my initial thoughts had been solidified into a conviction.

I want to spread the excellence of
our Integrated Design-Build System to Europe

In Europe, the main project delivery method has been to order design and construction work with separate companies, so there are few construction companies that undertake both as in Japan.

In fact, in this Jaguar Land Rover project, the factories up through phase two had been designed by other companies. However, during this construction work, Takenaka Europe had not simply followed the blueprints, but rather as a partner had proposed design changes that had reduced costs and construction time while also ensuring quality. In recognition of these valuable contributions, we received orders for both design and construction with an administration building in the third phase of the project.

I believe that this outcome is truly the kind of service that our Integrated Design-Build System can achieve. Moving forward, our people in charge of design and construction will continue to share their wisdom and thoroughly think through projects for the benefit of our customers. As a member of the Takenaka Group, I would like to continue responding to customer dreams by adhering to this style.