24 January 2024

Enric Subirats shares insight into how patience can add value to the planning process 

The role of Facilities Manager can be likened to the artistry of a magician’s delicately spinning plates atop poles. The key to success is understanding momentum, remaining agile and knowing proactively when to add more force. At MB92 Barcelona, the shipyard has undergone a number of major changes in the last few years, this role transcends mere plate-spinning, demanding the orchestration of diverse elements to maintain seamless operations. 

Enric Subirats joined MB92 Barcelona in 2017 as a Project Manager before swiftly transitioning into the Maintenance Department. This strategic move brought a fresh perspective to a team already rich in experience, coinciding with a pivotal moment as senior members approached retirement. This shift allowed for the infusion of a project management approach and digital tools into facilities management. 

“The transition from Project Manager to the Maintenance Department gave me the privilege of joining a team with an in-depth understanding of the shipyard, eager to share their wealth of knowledge, and open to introducing new ideas and approaches.” 

Maintaining a shipyard covering over 126,000m2 requires a collaborative effort and coordination with a range of departments and subcontractors. One of the main challenges is to plan works seamlessly around project work. 

“Minor maintenance work can be strategically scheduled during quieter periods like the summer. However, with increasing demand for slots extending the refit season, proactive planning becomes crucial to minimise disruption.” 

Major upgrades such as the addition of a 4,800-tonne shiplift, launched in 2019, required expert planning and Enric formed a key component of the project team, responsible for planning the installation.  

“Working hand in hand with Senior Management as well as civil engineers and shiplift manufacturers, Pearlson Shiplift Corporation, gave me valuable insight into understanding the economic and technical factors as well as the decision-making process behind such an enormous project for the company.”  

Coordinating the installation of the platform module into the bay presented one of the biggest challenges.  

“The pieces came into the bay on tugs and had to be positioned carefully so they would align with the civil work structure before being installed. There is a lot of pressure and scope for error, especially when you are on a schedule. However, I was able to call on the knowledge gained which helped me maintain a cool head, trusting in the process, my professional colleagues and our ability to do the job right regardless of the pressure.”  

Enric talks a lot of pressure and how the ability to manage it is such a success factor in his role. 

“Our shipyard’s unique location in the heart of the city means operating closely with the local community, Port Authority, and various stakeholders. While this might be perceived as a source of conflict and stress by some, I view it positively. It’s an opportunity to go above and beyond, creating a culture of due diligence in every decision we make for our facilities.” 

The decision-making process is crucial to a refit season’s success and beyond, with smart investments making tangible differences to the services being provided. Feasibility, economic and environmental impact studies all play a role in the process, which Enric believes is a differentiator.  

“We strive to make informed decisions that support our mission to become more efficient and productive in the long-term, even if that is at the expense of short-term wins. Our 200m dry dock is due to celebrate 50 years in operation this year and, despite it receiving numerous upgrades in that time such as a new door system in the last decade, we are currently evaluating options that will recondition it, futureproofing it for hopefully another 50 years.” 

The more immediate future for MB92 will see the start of operations on a new Yacht Repair Facility as part of a collaboration with NEOM. Announced at last year’s Monaco Yacht Show, this unique project provides a rare opportunity to be part of a development team, providing consultancy support to build a shipyard from scratch.  

“To have been involved in projects such as this and the shiplift installation is a real privilege as they do not come around often in a career. The distinct environmental characteristics of the area present technical challenges. As an engineer, these are things we embrace and look to find solutions to. I cannot wait to see how this project comes to fruition and how clients take advantage.” 

The overarching narrative to Enric’s journey at MB92 is one of taking on knowledge at every opportunity and putting this expertise into action when called upon. For others looking to pursue a career in this area, Enric points to a trait that he embodies, calmness. 

 “Being patient, taking the time to analyse, can be a difference maker and help avoid being tripped up. Lean on the chain of responsibility and take advantage of those with more experience to help you develop. Take the time to listen, you never know when it may prove essential.”