ALMOST A SUCCESS STORY
There have been different phases of establishment of companies operating in the field of geology in Lithuania: some of them survived from the so-called “Golden Age of Geology” (the 1970s) and now have a long and prominent history, others emerged upon re-establishment of the State of Lithuania and keep working to this day more or less successfully, and there are those companies which were established quite recently, already in this decade, which are still not so prominent. UAB “Geoinžinerija” is one the companies whose story could fit the description of a “success story”. In December 2018 the Company celebrated its 5th anniversary since getting in this line of work. At first the Company took jobs in order to “survive”. Nowadays the Company already enjoys sufficient stability, abundance and variety of jobs and customers as well as a large body of employees. The time when the Company was established was rather interesting: a new generation of managers emerged in Lithuania after the economic crisis in 2008–2009 who came with new management methods. Keeping discussions on the necessity and usefulness of such novelties out of the sight, we may state that these measures pushed employees into a corner: decent remuneration for work has become practically unattainable. This led the most proactive people to thinking about alternative options. One of them was establishment of their own companies. Despite the quote in the Gospel that “In the beginning was the Word”, in practice this “Word” was not enough, everything was much more complicated. Both the decision to walk away from a small but secure source of income and establishment of the Company itself required not only physical strength but emotional one as well. After some long contemplation and organizational work “the Word became Flesh” at the end of 2013: the Company was registered, the main work equipment (as it seemed at the time), i.e., a drilling rig installed on a MAN truck, an accessory for probing a structure, was acquired in addition to acquiring drills, drilling and probing tubes and rods, and equipment for taking probing measurements of a structure. When the Company opened its headquarters (at Bajorų kelias 4), the office only had two tables, which was sufficient for placing the computers of two employees. This was the start of great work. It took several years to come to a decision for choosing a direction for the Company’s development: whether they would carry out all geological work involving drilling or whether they would specialise in a narrower field. In 2014 the Company undertook any outsourced work: they used to carry out engineering geological surveys on the construction sites of small residential and apartment buildings, within the course of designing roads and streets, they used to install water extraction and geothermal wells, conduct TRT tests (thermal reaction tests). Every completion of a more complex job or a job requiring more efforts was seen as the greatest victory. Nevertheless, there were also setbacks which blasted several months back and raised doubts whether they made the right choice.
Resilient and meticulous work paid off: at the end of the year the Company already had 5–6 permanent employees. Seeing that driving heavy machinery to the sites requiring minor survey work was irrational, the Company purchased the light-weight drilling rig H20SR of the Polish company “Wamet”, which was later adapted not only for drilling but for probing of structures as well.
Similar work was continued in 2015, the Company gained some regular customers and the trust in UAB “Geoinžinerija”, its CEO and experts kept growing. The need for additional employees kept increasing along with occurring extra work. Three more people joined the team within the year, but they needed convincing that they were not choosing a day-to-day company.
As the range of work kept growing, the management of the Company had to make the biggest decision and to choose the direction which the Company would take: to continue engaging in a wide range of work and expand the production base or to choose a narrower specialization and to focus on a higher quality and detail of the surveys. Having plenty of job offers, this was not an easy choice, so it took an entire year of deliberations and careful evaluation of all circumstances to come to a decision that they would focus on jobs requiring more intellectual work (rather than only physical work). Currently the Company specializes in engineering geological and geotechnical surveys as well as eco-geological surveys. In 2015 the results have shown that UAB “Geoinžinerija” could be an equal competitor and a partner on the market of geological work. The Company sought to contribute to fair and successful development of geology business so at the end of the year the Company submitted an application and became a full-fledged member of the Association of Geology Companies. .
In 2016–2017 the Company worked in a single-minded direction as they started applying action plans. The need for process management and structuring of the Company emerged as the number of sites and employees increased (in 2016 the Company had 11 employees). An integrated quality, environmental protection as well as occupational safety and health management system in conformity with the requirements of LST EN ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015, and BS OHSAS 18001:2007 standards was introduced in 2016 and it is still continuously improved and adapted to the specifics of the Company. In 2017 the Company started using the unified project management system “Scoro” which clearly demonstrated the need for a clearer structure of the Company and distribution of the job functions among the employees. Sometimes full benefits of using System “Scoro” are not taken advantage of even one and a half years later since the start of its operation. Nevertheless, given the current scope of the work being implemented and taking into account the number of employees, management of the Company and projects would be difficult to imagine without this auxiliary tool. The project management system ensures project management, timely execution of tasks (from a bid to presentation of the project to the customer). In 2018 the Company introduced an incentive-based remuneration system which gives extra motivation to the employees: redistribution of a share of profits in this way trying to motivate the most proactive experts who achieve the best and fastest results.
The system was tested last year and we may claim that it has fully paid off. The employees of the Company also contribute to improvement of the system. At the beginning of 2019, slightly more than 5 years since establishment of the Company, UAB “Geoinžinerija” employed 15 highly qualified experts. The survey work is supervised and carried out by graduate engineers geologists most of whom have master’s degrees. The core of the Company is its long-time employees, including Jūratė Vaznytė, Deividas Brokas, Mantas Antanavičius, Justina Taukinaitienė, Dalius Baubinas, Viktoras Barkovskij and others, who might not have been a part of this team for a very long time and yet who have successfully joined the ranks of the Company’s staff and have already sensed our team spirit. The drillers working for the Company are also experts in their field. Most of them have more than one year of professional experience while others have even several decades long work experience. These are people who withstood the test of time, who love their work and equipment they work with. They are truly versatile professionals. Practically anyone of them could operate the Company’s equipment, should such a need arise. Numerous units of new equipment have been accumulated over the period of five years. The two self-propelled drilling rigs installed on trucks, which were acquired and improved at the start of the Company’s operations, still work impeccably. The same could be said about the probing and drilling rig with the crawler chassis KB20 designed by company “Pagani”, which was purchased later. The available equipment enables carrying out drilling for survey purposes up to the depth of 50 m or more as well as to conduct field tests up to 25–30 m in depth. We use several portable dynamic probing devices, equipment for vibratory and manual drilling in sites with more complicated access, for work on slopes and in wetlands. Piston-type and double-protection soil extractors are used for column drilling and high-quality sampling of the soil. A tractor, a light-weight truck, and a cargo minibus as well as several cars are used for transportation of the devices and equipment. All equipment and devices are stored indoors when not in use, which also enables making minor repairs. The core for drilling wells and soil samples are stored here as well. The available drilling and field testing equipment enables to conduct surveys on a variety of sites and under any weather conditions, therefore the Company is equipped to carry out a variety of geological survey work..
Preparation for survey work on sites starts at the headquarters of the Company, however, the main factor determining the quality of work is the field tests at the site. Mistakes and negligence during this phase of the work is particularly undesirable, therefore the entire survey process at UAB “Geoinžinerija” is completely automated, starting with the field work. An application developed for the Company and installed on GPS receivers is used for carrying out the field work as well as identification and description of soils, which ensures the quality of soil description, work control, correct data transmission, clarity, and reduces the risk of errors. Moreover, this application significantly speeds up the process and efficiency of work. The data of the drilled well or the survey done, including all graphic and visual material, can be transmitted to the computer of the required expert as soon as within a couple of minutes, if necessary. The material processed in this way facilitates reporting as there is no need for entering the data repeatedly and human errors are prevented. Reporting is also standardized and automated. Autocad Civil extension, which was designed and integrated by UAB “Infoera”, the official supplier in Lithuania, on the basis of the order placed by the Company, was installed for reporting and making mechanical drawings. There have been numerous sites throughout this five-year-long period so we would like to take this opportunity to describe some of the most important projects in more detail. First of all the Company conducted engineering geological surveys (KK167) within the course of reconstruction of Road Section Smiltynė–Nida on the Curonian Spit at the beginning of 2017; this job was memorable for sensitivity of the environment and complex geological structure. It is also worth mentioning the reconstruction projects for the famous overhead road in Rusnė and KK206 Šilutė–Rusnė, which were characterised by particularly complex engineering geological conditions. Surveys (characteristic of very interesting design solutions and the geological structure of the sites) were performed within the course of designing pedestrian bridges over the Nemunas from Aleksotas to the Island and from the Island to Karaliaus Mindaugo Avenue in Kaunas, for construction of the apartment building complex in Vilnius at Bartų Str. 11. The surveys at the quays of Klaipėda State Seaport (Perkėlos Str. 10), the work within the course of designing reconstructions on Section Vilnius–Kaunas on Trunk-Road A1, shopping centre in Vilnius at Pilaitės Av., at the crossroads on Vilnius bypass and others were memorable for their scope and the variety of soils as well as complex geological conditions.
The first five years have been the initial growing period for UAB “Geoinžinerija” during which the Company chose its direction and showed its character. There is still a long road of improvement ahead of us. A major sign of appreciation of the work done by the Company and its CEO (and a big surprise none the less!) came in the form of “Gazelė” Award for the fastest growing companies received at the end of 2018. .
Currently UAB “Geoinžinerija” is one of the biggest companies engaged in carrying out engineering geological work, but they still consider and develop strategic plans for future. Forecasts of economic development in Lithuania allow presuming that the prospects for engineering geological surveys are not so bad, but it is no secret that often successful periods are interrupted by crises, therefore it is advisable for the Company to initiate additional activities, which would make up for any unexpected decline in the number of the core jobs. The most important task of the Company is development of this strategy and introduction of innovative measures by simultaneously improving the quality of the services..
Greetings from the staff of UAB “Geoinžinerija” to the readers of GA. We invite other companies to share their impressions, experience, and discoveries!