What is ProjectBinder?
ProjectBinder offers practical IT solutions focused on manufacturing and automation in the pharmaceutical industry. ProjectBinder has a practical, lean, and integrated approach to delivering projects that satisfy its customer’s bespoke needs. To achieve this, ProjectBinder offers comprehensive surveys of existing installations and ensures continued stable backup for older installations.
ProjectBinder’s unique working methodology provides ongoing customer operations after each bespoke solution has been implemented.
How did ProjectBinder start?
ProjectBinder was started in Spain, in 2012 by Morten Sørensen. In 2016 Martin Petersen joined the endeavor, and ProjectBinder Denmark was created. Before starting his own business, Martin gained extensive experience with an international firm specializing in automation, where he was responsible for system integration and user satisfaction.
“Back then, industry 4.0 was a hot topic, and my clients all wanted industry 4.0 solutions. However, the solutions we provided were for either an automation layer or an IT layer from my perspective.
While these two domains are distinct and different automation components, industry 4.0 is just about connecting the two”.
When Morten approached Martin to ask if he was interested in starting a company, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to focus on the challenge of connecting the IT and automation sectors.
Having worked in the pharmaceutical industry, Morten felt it was a natural sector to concentrate their efforts once they got started.
Founded nine years ago, ProjectBinder has grown significantly and now has 24 employees in Denmark and 12 in Spain.
What makes ProjectBinder unique?
ProjectBinder provides a unique service that is not offered by many other companies in the automation industry. By focusing on the customer’s needs and designing equipment and technology solutions that meet them directly, ProjectBinder has maintained a blue ocean position. Historically, automated integration providers have built solutions based on one size fits all assumptions. Due to economies of scale, this method is much more economical for designing and installing such complex products.
ProjectBinder takes a very different approach and sees themselves as the customer’s guardian, insulating them from automation integration suppliers.
“Everyone always claims to have the perfect solution, and maybe they do. The goal of ProjectBinder is to integrate the right parts into the customer’s system in a way that creates the most value. This isn’t always a straightforward process.”
A lot of operational equipment needs to be connected to make Industry 4.0 a reality. While installing new equipment into an existing system, integrating new and old equipment into a legacy system almost always creates IT issues; this is ProjectBinder’s domaine de expertise!
Information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) are two different business drivers or “schools” of automated integration. The IT components are most concerned with security, while OT components are most concerned with “uptime,” that is, the time a production line is actively running. The term “time is money” is beautifully illustrated in this scenario — when a production line is idle. Hence, ensuring seamless integration of these two areas is the primary value proposition of ProjectBinder.
The ProjectBinder travel team has been operating out of Spain for several years and is dedicated to supporting customers on-site. ProjectBinder can send out the same team each time; an extremely challenging undertaking, especially when 32 different sites are involved. However, having the same team working on the project from start to finish makes the most sense for their customers. Approaching the same site with a new team every time would be a communication nightmare!
Why hire a technological wingman?
While the automated integration industry has hosted independent advisors and consultants for many years, ProjectBinder is the first advising firm that focuses on the intersection of IT and OT.
When ProjectBinder approaches a new customer, they focus on finding an equipment solution that can best fit the task at hand. ProjectBinder uses its extensive knowledge of automation and IT products to coordinate with the supplier and the end-user to design a system with the best possible solution.
“If you get the requirements correct from the start, you get the best prices from suppliers from the start.”
Having strong relationships with machine builders and other technical suppliers has given ProjectBinder the ability to know what is technically possible and most likely an unattainable dream. These relationships often lead to innovative installations or “proof of concept” projects. By partnering with their customers in this way, ProjectBinder tests novel technologies, allowing them to experiment to create a system that can produce the desired results in a novel manner.
“ If we get a positive result, we scale it, and if it fails, well then we ‘fail fast’ as they say. So not a lot of money is spent on something that is not feasible.”
Industry 4.0 is evolving incredibly quickly, making a proof of concept approach even more important to develop the best solutions. However, as with anything risky, getting proof of concept projects funded can be a considerable challenge. The question that constantly stands in the way of these special projects is: What will the “return on investment” look like? Nevertheless, ProjectBinder has been extremely lucky to have ambitious customers who place a great deal of trust in their abilities time and time again.
To deliver the safest, most reliable product to their customers, ProjectBinder has opted to develop their systems but instead uses standard products. When two different automated integration firms have developed a system, the result is often too exposed to security threats. These complex systems must be 110% secure, future-proof, and fully able to cover their client’s needs, and ProjectBinder always prioritizes this.
“We always tell new employees that there are easy solutions and there are complex solutions. Often, the most simple design gives the biggest and most valuable output. We like to take the hard way if that means we are sure we have produced the best possible solution. It makes our customers feel safe, and we deliver what we promise!”
It may sound cliché, but the team is everything! It is crucial for ProjectBinder’s operations that they hire talent with breadth and depth of knowledge. They have hired several young graduates from Denmark’s Technical University (DTU) and other educational institutions. One of their primary motivations is to help educate the next generation of Industry 4.0 technicians rather than simply hire trained and qualified professionals.
Still, the biggest challenge for ProjectBinder is finding and attracting the best possible candidates. With offices in Denmark and Spain, ProjectBinder can further expand its reach in its search for the best candidates.
How to attract the best talent to your team?
Martin believes ProjectBinder spends a fair amount of money on marketing, but ProjectBinder’s credibility attracts new talent. The company’s employees often reveal potential candidates for new hires through close dialogue. Corporate culture is also an essential factor, and the team at ProjectBinder strives to cultivate a supportive and fun community.
“We work differently than what you would experience at a large company. As an example, we do not use KPIs. In large companies, they can be useful, but I believe they can also take away the manager’s responsibility. An effective leader knows his employees, not just their KPIs. We have worked very hard by being as close to our employees as possible and helping one another. The culture permeates our entire organization, and it’s not just confined to the workplace. Whenever someone needs to move, there are usually 10–15 colleagues who are willing to assist. Working at ProjectBinder is like being part of a family.”
The ProjectBinder company organizes its workforce in such a way as to promote the interaction of new and experienced employees. Working in this way enables new employees to gain knowledge quickly, becoming highly skilled despite their lack of experience.
“It’s fun for the new employees, it’s fun for the experienced professionals, and it’s fun for us as managers as well. Naturally, we hire people based on their capabilities. Still, we also take personality into account equally because our new hires must be ready to work, play, and contribute to the team. An example would be spending half a day on something to help the team, not necessarily themselves. It also means that if they need help and find themselves in a jam, an entire team is ready to assist them.”
Organizing ProjectBinder in this manner reflects the type of company Martin and Morten had initially envisioned when they founded the company. As part of their ambitious goal to attract and develop the industry’s most talented people, they hope that a distributed leadership approach will continue to encourage professional development and maintain corporate agility as ProjectBinder continues to grow.
In essence, Industry 4.0 is about integrating many different systems and technologies, and this integration also applies to teams within the industry. Despite all our knowledge, there is no single person who has a super-human level of expertise in everything. Collaboration and the sharing of knowledge among members of an organization make the diverse competencies that each possesses available to everyone.
International from the beginning?
Having offices in Spain and Denmark provides an exciting and dynamic work environment for ProjectBinder. When it comes to diversity, not only does ProjectBinder employ both men and women, but they also have people from many different nationalities. Some of their employees are from Venezuela, Greece, and even Australia. ProjectBinder employees constantly develop their way of thinking by incorporating many different ways of working and thinking; this allows them to see potential challenges from several different angles.
Because of its international mindset and dedicated travel team, ProjectBinder does not care where a project occurs in Russia, Norway, or Canada. As a global company from day one, ProjectBinder has developed a completely different approach to projects than other companies in their sector.
“Because we do not have anyone to outsource to, we have a completely different approach to projects. By facilitating regular visits, our teams in Spain and Denmark regularly learn from each other and grow in the process.”
Most companies in the automated integration industry rely heavily on outsourcing. Large projects get divided into sub-tasks and then distributed to contractors in places like India. Morten believes this strategy is operationally efficient, but it can have unintended consequences for an organization’s human capital. This arrangement does not appeal to many skilled and ambitious employees, which motivates them to look for work elsewhere and puts tremendous pressure on the company’s business model.
What’s next for ProjectBinder?
For the foreseeable future, ProjectBinder will remain focused on the pharmaceutical industry. They will continue to grow by supporting the growth of their customers, making their trajectory most sustainable. Martin and Morten, the ProjectBinders co-founders, have been self-funded and are dedicated to maintaining their growth organically.
“Customer trust is the most important thing for ProjectBinder, not how big we are!”
With a degree in Electrical Power Engineering, Martin Petersen also holds an Engineering Business & Administration (EBA) degree.
With professional experience spanning over 20 years, Morten Sørensen gained more than15 years of management experience working in various roles within several large organizations.
Morten and Martin share the CEO role with responsibilities for the Danish and Spanish offices, respectively.
What is Industry 4.0?
Industry 4.0 is the ongoing automation of traditional manufacturing and industrial practices using modern smart technology. Large-scale machine-to-machine communication (M2M) and the internet of things (IoT) are integrated for increased automation, improved communication and self-monitoring, and production of smart machines that can analyze and diagnose issues without the need for human intervention.