FLSmidth's new O&M manager sees cement in the fast lane

FLSmidth's new O&M manager sees cement in the fast lane
02 November 2018

At first glance, racing high-tech cars at 300km/h and operating cement factories would seem to have little in common. But don’t tell that to Anders Benfeldt, the new head of FLSmidth Operation & Maintenance. Benfeldt sees plenty of parallels between racing supercars and making cement.

With a sterling resume that includes senior positions at Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor, DGtek A/S and Babcock & Wilcox Vølund, earlier this year FLSmidth tapped Benfeldt to lead its growing subsidiary of 1100 employees comprising 16 nationalities and with operations in Angola, Egypt, Libya, Kuwait and Tunisia.

FLSmidth operation and maintenance

FLSmidth's operation and maintenance will build its performance on team work

So far, Benfeldt likes what he has seen from Operation & Maintenance (O&M) and foresees few changes on his watch. "My job is to be curious," he says. "I am here to listen to clients to find out what we are doing very well so we can build on that – and find out what we are doing not so well so we can do better."

Benfeldt makes it clear that people – even more than machines – are vital to the division's continued success. Even when discussing the inner workings of a plant in Kuwait or demonstrating an iPhone app to monitor production at two Egyptian plants, Benfeldt punctuates virtually every sentence with 'people'. He says, "Machines can be built and optimsed, but ultimately O&M is about people. We need to train and empower people to work as a team to create results.

Anders Benfeldt will manage FLSmidth's

Operation and Maintenance Department

"The team that eventually wins is the one where everyone knows exactly what to do and they do it perfectly." Benfeldt hopes to instill the same sense of teamwork that defines successful Formula One teams into Operation & Maintenance. "It’s simple. Without teamwork, we cannot grow," he says. 

A marine engineer by training who got his start working in the engine rooms of an ocean-going container vessels, Benfeldt is a proponent of using technology to increase productivity, reduce costs and make workers' jobs easier. For example, he plans to aggressively pursue more condition-based maintenance, which he sees as offering outstanding potential for greater optimisation and lower costs. "If we know that wear-parts really lasts 18,000 hours, why not operate it until 18,000 hours? With the insights, we get from the digitalisation of processes, we can do more of those things, which is a big benefit to us and our clients."

A native Dane, Benfeldt is thrilled to now reside a mere 5km from FLSmith's headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark – a welcome change for someone who has spent much of his career working overseas. And when it comes to his morning commute, there's not a supercar to be found. In an interesting twist for a Formula One fan, after dropping his children off at school Benfeldt prefers to ride his bicycle to work.

Published under Cement News