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05-07-2016 08:52

How we sold steel to China!

Have you heard the saying about the skilled salesmen who can sell snow to the Inuit or sand to the peoples of the Middle East? Well, Mezzanine International can officially join this elite rank; we have recently sold steel to China. Structural steel work that is!

How we sold steel to China!

We were only able to do this, because of our proven track record in designing and manufacturing large-scale steel mezzanine platforms and then installing them all over the world. Still, inspite of our 25 years of experience and expertise in mezzanine construction, the sheer size and location of this project was always going to bring some challenges. In particular, these would be around quality and health and safety, both of which are of the utmost priority for us and all the organisations involved. So how did we get on – and succeed in safely delivering a first rate product for our client and the end-user?


The project

Mezzanine International Group had been engaged by a world-class Systems integrator on a multiple mezzanine construction project for an e-commerce retailer with two warehousing & distribution centres in the heart of industrial China. Having partnered with this multinational materials handling provider on numerous mezzanine projects across Europe, our design and installation teams had developed a trusted relationship. This was grounded in a thorough understanding, and familiarity of the client’s technologies, as well as their ways of working internationally and service requirements from onsite partners. Due to a long-established working history, the client had the confidence and peace of mind that we could be trusted to deliver multiple products swiftly and safely to the agreed standards – across two of their customer’s sites.


The challenge

One of the biggest challenges here was to ensure that the end-user’s local Mandarin Chinese-speaking workforce fully understood, and would therefore adhere to, what were ‘unfamiliar’ European health & safety and quality standards. As the interface between the Systems integrator and the onsite crew, it was our responsibility to overcome any language barriers arising on either of the two sites. We needed to able to do this throughout the entire installation of the 12 mezzanine structures, to ensure a quality product, whilst keeping all crews safe.


Quality solutions

One solution was to directly supply the steel to the customer ourselves. This would ensure our design and in turn the fabricated products met the exact technical specifications as agreed with the customer. Each component was rigorously checked, then loaded into containers by our teams in the UK before despatch to Asia. In this way, from the outset of the project we took full accountability for the manufacture of, and the quality of the product that would arrive onsite. Therefore, we could turn our full attention to the integration itself and the supervision of the Mandarin-speaking crews, and ensure that all 12 mezzanine structures were seamlessly integrated with the System integrator’s technologies in the end-user’s premises.


Another solution was to send in two of our most experienced Site supervisors. Between them, our guys had over fifty years of practical onsite installation experience, at least ten of which had been gained on projects they had led outside of Western Europe. And having supervised mezzanine projects in over 30 countries for our group of businesses, they had played a hands-on role in the implementation of our best practice installation procedures that guarantee a single way of operating for our clients wherever their project sites are based in the world. By engaging us, the Systems integrator benefited from the knowledge that our qualified, experienced mezzanine operatives are consistently working to world-renown British engineering standards – from design to product manufacture to project management and installation, including health & safety and quality, as directed by our technical experts.

So three of the solutions we would recommend when delivering a project in an environment where different languages prevail, are to:

  • focus on developing a full understanding of your client’s needs – from their aspirations and equipment and technologies through to service expectations and standards. Then respond by putting processes and procedure in place to consistently meet those precise requirements;
  • take accountability for results – and take the opportunity to do so from the outset of the project in order to eliminate as many of the risks and costly pitfalls that can spring up at the critical installation stage; and
  • trust your talent. Look to your most experienced people to lead and guide you, giving the right instructions for the task in hand. Each project brings its own distinct challenges, and a trusted workforce will go the extra mile… even 6,000 miles, all the way to China.


For more information contact:

Matt Loveday
Tel: +44 (0) 1732 849900 

Date: July 2016

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