This year, LMS, like many major players in the construction market, faced the consequences of the pandemic. We talked with LMS CEO Ragim Makhmudov about the results of the half of the current year, tasks and plans for the future, and how LMS rebuilt its work in the conditions of the pandemic.
Tell us about the priority areas of your activity and the most important tasks that the company currently faces.
I coordinate the company's activities and I am responsible for the work of several key areas, that is, financial, organizational, and personnel policy. I perform a wide range of duties: strategic and operational planning, financial and accounting reporting control, communication with customers, contractors, and the Board of Directors. I would mention automation of business processes and financial performance management among LMS priorities.
How did your career in the construction industry begin? Where did you work before LMS?
In 2004, I graduated from the Middle East Technical University (Faculty of Economic and Administrative Sciences) in Ankara (Turkey) and started working at Renaissance Construction. At first I worked in the finance department of the central office, then the range of responsibilities began to expand, and I began to visit facilities. 11 years later, in 2015, I joined LMS company, first as CFO, and then in January 2019 I was appointed CEO.
Tell us about your experience in previous LMS projects.
Perhaps I will tell you about my first visit to Oriflame plant in Krasnogorsk in 2005. For two weeks, I solved issues, coordinated and controlled financial activities at the facility, made reports. Also, I worked on a facility in Nizhny Novgorod; it was Mega shopping center, which was then being built by Renaissance Construction. After that there was Yekaterinburg, later, Novosibirsk. For a while I changed to another activity, I switched from construction to development. I was the manager of a shopping center. Two years later, I returned to Renaissance Construction. We were building the largest shopping and entertainment center in Moscow called «Aviapark». After that, my work in LMS started.
How did the company react to changes associated with the pandemic? What are the results of the current period?
Firstly, the company clearly responded to the challenges related to safety and health of employees. In March 2020, employees of the Moscow office of LMS, in accordance with the decrees of the President and the Mayor of Moscow, were transferred to remote work. In June, when the situation normalized, 30% of employees went to work full-time. In order to prevent the spread of a new coronavirus infection, employees had PCR tests (swab from the nose and oropharynx), venipuncture to check antibodies right at their workplaces. The company's offices in the regions also carried out the necessary sanitary and epidemiological measures.
Secondly, during the pandemic, the market underwent serious transformations, and we began proactive work with suppliers and contractors at the facilities in order to fulfill our obligations to customers. For example, we have taken the necessary measures to ensure that all technological equipment and materials were delivered and installed on time during the construction of the Kemerovo International Airport. We have coped with these challenges successfully, thanks to the well-coordinated work of our supply and logistics services.
Thirdly, we constantly worked to improve the efficiency of financial activities, automated and intensified business processes as much as possible.
You have been working at the company for six years, how has the company developed over these years, what prospects do you see?
You can just look at the numbers, and you will immediately see how much the company has grown in recent years, how much the team has grown! In November 2015, the company employed 243 people, and our staff is 2,200+ people as of the beginning of June 2021.
The company's turnover has more than tripled over the period from 2018 to 2019.
The number of projects has increased and the geography has expanded. Between 2017 and 2019, we built three of the largest regional air hubs in Russia: in Rostov-on-Don, Volgograd, and Khabarovsk. Over the period of 2020 and the two quarters of 2021, we have been actively developing in the eastern and northern directions. We have commissioned three ready-made facilities: two airport terminals in Chelyabinsk and a large international airport in Kemerovo. We started with a large-scale project in Novy Urengoy.
From 2018 to 2021, the contract value increased 4.5 times (from 600 to 2,500). Talking about general contracting agreements, we have seven of them at the moment.
We have ambitious plans; new projects are coming up. And the pandemic did not stop us, instead, we continue to develop actively.
What could be changed, and what should be done for this?
The company is a living organism: today we work and develop in one way, tomorrow we will analyze the situation and we can go in another direction. Naturally, with the increase in volumes, we are thinking about further optimization and automation of business processes. This applies to document management, reporting, and management processes.
How do you manage to operate such a large company?
That's rather overstated. The successful development of the company is teamwork: everyone manages something, everyone does their part of the work well, so eventually, we see a very good result.
What are the three success factors that help you in your work?
First of all, this is successful communication. Then, the ability to take responsibility: you communicate with someone, they trust you and the team works. And, of course, it's always important to follow trends!