Skilled teamwork key to Tandem's success

During its decade in business, Tandem has grown to a team of 130 professionals specialising in project management, talent resourcing and engineering design.

Skilled teamwork key to Tandem's success

Name: Tim Mulhall

Occupation: Founder and Managing Director of Tandem

Background: Established in 2010, Tandem provides project management, engineering design and construction services to clients across Ireland, the UK and Europe in the life science, industrial a d commercial sectors.

During its decade in business, Tandem has grown to a team of 130 professionals specialising in project management, talent resourcing and engineering design.

Working with clients in Ireland, the UK and Europe, the Cork headquartered company operates five offices in Ireland and the Netherlands and achieved a turnover of €12.5m in 2018.

Current projects include a large city centre office fit-out and a medical device expansion in Cork, a new biologics facility in the Midlands, a large industrial facility and two pharmaceutical fit-outs in Waterford, two utility upgrade projects in Dublin and a medical device expansion in Galway.

Having come a long way in a relatively short time, Tim Mulhall credits skilled teamwork amongst Tandem’s key attributes.

“Our team has unique skill-sets which allow us to deliver successful projects in a flexible and collaborative way. Our client-centred approach ensures that we protect our customers’ interests and that their project goals are prioritised.

"We work hard on ensuring that our team continues to develop its skill-sets through our CPD programme which is accredited by Engineers Ireland,” he adds.

A chartered engineer with over 20 years’ experience of project management in the biotech, pharmaceutical, industrial and commercial sectors, Tim has a track record of delivering complex projects on time and in budget.

“It is helpful to have a portfolio with large companies who give us strong references from previous projects,” he explains.

“We find a lot of new business comes from referrals or word of mouth and we also rely on regular repeat business from existing customers. Building and maintaining positive relationships with our customers is very important to us and we are only ever as good as we were on our last project.”

While the company’s experience has been mainly in the life sciences — pharma, biologics and medical devices — the team have found their skillset can also be successfully applied to projects in the industrial, food, commercial and public sectors.

Strong project management is critical regardless of the sector, and our design, construction and project controls teams have experience on multiple projects in a variety of industries. We work in a very collaborative way when providing services for clients, and that does contribute to a significant amount of repeat business.

Tandem works with clients to think objectively about what tasks are essential, to project manage the volume of work and to establish roles and responsibilities between functions with the aim of ensuring all areas are ready for the next milestones in the project life-cycle. “We use our extensive industry knowledge to help our clients develop the steps necessary to ensure a successful start-up of their facility.”

Looking back to the early days of Tandem, Tim recalls the breaks that helped the then fledgling company get up and running: “We were offered a project management contract on a large pharmaceutical expansion in Waterford, and this was followed shortly after with engineering design contracts for a client in Cork. These projects allowed us to start growing our team straight away and indeed those two companies involved are still major clients of ours today.”

Given that Tandem already operates in the UK and Europe, future plans include further expansion.

"We plan to expand our services further into Europe in the medium term, and we are working closely with Enterprise Ireland to help achieve this. There is a need for life science expertise to support large projects in mainland Europe and we are well positioned to expand beyond our base in the Netherlands."

Having established Tandem in 2010, at the height of the recession and a very difficult economic period in Ireland, Tim is positive about prospects for 2020 and beyond.

“We have experienced a recent uplift in tender activity for new projects across multiple sectors and we have a well-established team ready to work on them.

“We have also developed new services which are in demand such as our Operational Readiness offering which helps our clients plan and implement the ramp-up to commercial manufacturing for new facilities.”

As a city that took its share of hard hits during the downturn, Cork is very much on the rise, he believes: “I think the significant office developments in the city centre will bring continued vibrancy to Cork in addition to the ongoing success of manufacturing and technology facilities in the suburbs and large towns. Our third-level institutes continue to provide high-quality graduates who underpin growth in the region.”

In addition, Tandem has worked closely with UCC and CIT through its undergraduate programme and ‘Advance’ graduate programme, both of which have helped strengthen the company with high-quality graduates. Tandem is also involved in the STEM and STEPS initiatives, encouraging younger generations to consider a career in engineering.

“During the year we met many college undergraduates and graduates at careers events that have impressed us with their knowledge, capabilities and drive,” he says.

The company has expanded steadily every year since 2010 and we see opportunities to add to our existing team while maintaining our culture and high level of service. We are planning to increase our workforce in 2020 and beyond.

Tandem recently appointed three associate directors to its leadership team. Looking to the ongoing concern around Brexit, Tim sees opportunities for both Tandem and Ireland:

“Brexit will not significantly affect Tandem as most of our customers are outside the UK. We feel that Brexit will present opportunities to Ireland in the form of businesses relocating their headquarters here from the UK and increased foreign direct investment by companies looking for an English-speaking base in Europe.

“As ever, Ireland will need to be competitive and continue to provide a highly skilled, motivated work force to secure this investment.”

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