New ways to meet BioMar…

BioMar has over the last years invested in new communication technology with the aim to improve efficiency in internal communication. The technology has added new ways to run meetings and at the same time reduced time and money spent on travelling. The positive experience from this project is now being taken one step further, as the technical platform is being prepared to host virtual meetings between BioMar employees and partners on external networks.

With the implementation of a regional structure in 2005 and the acquisition of Provimi Aqua in 2007-2008, BioMar was presented with a great challenge: How to secure an efficient communication and collaboration between a growing number of business units while avoiding exploding travelling budgets and employees wasting time, when they had to travel to and from an increasing number of meetings. New technology has proven to be the answer to this challenge securing both efficiency and economy.

Video conferences and live meetings

Corporate IT-Manager Flemming Blaabjerg explains: - We decided three years ago to start investing in video conference equipment for all our major offices and factories across the world. At the same time we also decided to invest in the roll-out of web based communication and meeting tools such as Microsoft Communicator and Live Meetings in connection with our Outlook solution. Flemming Blaabjerg is pleased with the results so far: - The new technology has clearly changed the way we work. A lot of physical meetings have been replaced by video meetings – this includes some of the regular international management team meetings as well as meetings on e.g. budget follow-up. These are typically meetings with agendas that doesn’t differ a lot from time to time, and where most people know each other quite well. This makes it easier to transfer the meetings to the virtual world, but also training sessions and project group meetings have been moved to the virtual world.

Improved communication

The new technology is not just about moving meetings to the virtual room. The technology also makes it possible to create better communication between BioMar employees in different parts of the world. As there is no longer the need to spend hours in airports and airplanes, meetings can be held more frequently, and especially meetings can now be held when needed, and not just when travelling schedules allows for it.

- We can see this pattern in the use of our videoconference equipment. Still more short video meetings are added to the calendar. This is probably also a sign that employees across the organisation adopt the new technology, tells Flemming Blaabjerg. – We see that basically all departments now utilise the video conference equipment no matter if it is for a discussion on optimisation of production equipment between our production teams in Europe and South America or a virtual training of the sales team.

Finally the new technology is also positive for the environment as well as for the employees and their families. Less travelling to and from meetings means less CO2 emissions – and less travelling also gives more leisure time for the employees, as it is often leisure time which is sacrificed when employees have to travel to international meetings.

From spring 2010 video conferences and live meetings can be held with external partners

 - All in all the results have clearly exceeded our expectations, even if it is impossible to give an exact figure for the total saving in time or money. For this reason, we are now opening up for the possibility to organise live meetings and video conferences also with our external partners – that could e.g. be project meetings on research projects, which usually gather both BioMar people and external partners.

Flemming Blaabjerg expects, that the BioMar IT-network will be prepared to host meetings with external parties during the spring of 2010 – first in the form of video conferences and second also with live meetings.