In an interview with Cleanroom Technology, HVAC specialist COO and Head of the Cleanroom division was proud to discuss the behind-the-scenes importance of controlled environments during a time of pandemic
HVAC specialist, Termovent has had a Perovic in its leadership since its founding in 1993. Now, son of the founder, Milos Perovic, is helping guide the company as its COO and Head of the Cleanroom division. Perovic has worked his way to this role, starting in his student days with operational work, and working his way through the ranks. "Every job has been a great lesson and I believe that the gradual path to leadership positions is the only path that can bring you success in running a business in the long run," he says.
Termovent operates in three divisions; production of air conditioning chambers, production of modular panels for cleanrooms, as well as engineering services that are mainly focused on cleanroom technology.
"All three sectors are strongly connected, primarily through the engineering division, where in addition to the production of necessary equipment, experts from all three sectors are involved, and with their knowledge and experience they provide a turnkey service to the partner," Perovic says. He explains that though they are separate divisions, they tend to work synergistically on a large number of projects. "I think that is one of the biggest advantages of our company."
Cleanrooms are a partner of the latest technologies
Perovic believes that working cohesively applied not only to divisions but to the teams themselves. He explains that when challenges are brought to a team, this brings innovation to everyday work and makes our team, as well as the company better day by day. "It is very important to me that everyone feels good at work every day. Our company is a family business. My brother and I inherited my father, who is now in the role of President and advisor, and we try every day to bring those "family" values to the rest of the company."
This attitude follows onto his style of management as he explains he leads by example. "I believe that work dedicated to people is the path that will lead our company to success, because when people enjoy working and see the employer as a "partner", then I don't worry that in "difficult times" they won't give 101% of their capacity."
"The fact is that we mostly have long-term partnerships, ie partnerships that last for more than a decade, and we are very proud of this," says Perovic. "Of course, none of this would have been possible if it weren't for trust amongst partners."
Aside from this he thinks the two key things for working with partners are:
"I try to communicate them to every colleague because it seems to me that they are the key to making partnerships with clients," Perovic adds.
Perovic explains that the competition is fierce like in any business, but the markets that Termovent plays in also feature some of the world's biggest companies. "Cleanrooms are a partner of the latest technologies!"
This 'behind-the-scenes' importance adds a lot of pressure to constantly improve products Perovic adds. To get ahead of the curve he explains that the company makes partnerships with a large number of competitors and they try to learn from each other. This is not common in many industries, and it shows the special nature of the cleanroom sector.
The COO says two things set the cleanroom sector apart from the rest: Constant innovation and great expansion. "Constant innovation is something that fulfils our daily work and we love when we see that our development sector, together with the cleanroom sector, has come up with a new product or software solution. Great expansion, especially at this moment with the COVID-19 pandemic, gives us a big wind in the back that one Serbian company can stand out with quality, deadlines and reliability and sell its product around the world."
When challenges are faced by a team it brings innovation to everyday work
"What distinguishes our business from the competition is that comprehensiveness, ie engineering and production under one roof. In this regard, I believe that the competition is not great and that we are a company with a unique offer," Perovic says. "Each part of our company has its own competition which is very strong, however when we combine all three sectors then we become very unique and that is our great strength."
The challenge to this is that the regulatory bar is always being raised. "The requirements of companies working in the technology of cleanrooms are growing from year to year, and what the regulations "recommend" for 2 years, becomes an obligation," Perovic explains. "There are no limits in the pharmaceutical industry and the growing practice is to constantly adapt to changes and innovate every day. One of the innovations that are needed today is the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology in design, which dramatically increases the quality of projects."
The biggest influence when predicting the budget of a project is having the user requirements defined with maximum precision. "We work on each project with BIM technology through Revit, and in a high percentage of accuracy, we present the budget to our partners during the design process. It is very important to establish all the key things together with the client so that there are no "sudden" jumps from the budget."
It is the role of cleanroom contractors not just to avoid sudden jumps in budget during construction, but to allow the long-term project to be as efficient as possible. This is where Termovent's HVAC expertise comes in. "From my exact point of view, the main focus here is on energy efficiency. Our design principle is that we design energy recuperators whenever it is technologically allowed and thus achieve savings in the regulation of parameters, electricity consumption and achieve greater energy efficiency on each component: fans, heat exchangers, filters, steam humidifiers."
All three sectors are strongly connected, primarily through the engineering division
For hygienic air chambers, Perovic says the company is currently working on developing a leak class L3. This company is also working on a plug and play COVID-19 Lab, but also a complete solution for operating rooms. "What we are currently focused on is creating new materials as well as developing 'plug & play' products such as Air Handling Units, and complete Cleanroom solutions."
For innovation Perovic also discusses an intriguing case, "It is interesting that for the project in the Netherlands we put housings that are declared as nuclear housings (ie housings with "0" leaks). By using certain types of filters, all vapours can be kept under control."
Of course, no interview could be complete in 2020 without discussing the ripple effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Perovic says, "At first, it was negative, considering that one part of a project was transferred to another part of the year. But after the first wave and our restructuring, we set new goals and significantly strengthened cooperation with companies from the pharmaceutical industry."
"Of course, I am very proud that our company cooperates with such partners," Perovic enthuses. "The largest pharmaceutical companies in the world have tackled the pandemic, and I believe that through joint cooperation we will reach a solution that will return the world to normal."
The most endangered are small companies, which are very important to every economy
In its 27 years of existence, Termovent has done business with many partners, from Belgium, the Netherlands, through Russia, all the way to the UAE and India. Currently, it has several projects in parallel, in the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Serbia and Russia.
Jumping hurdles not only for in-house production, but for international cooperation has not been easy, but Perovic believes there will be huge takeaways from the tragic situation. "We believe that it is possible to draw positive conclusions from this crisis. The pandemic forced us to drastically restructure logistics, ie how to bring raw materials, how to deliver the finished product, how to protect people. All these efforts have led to these logistics being at a significantly higher level than before the pandemic."
The pandemic is certainly creating a new normal in everyday life, and thus in business. The project that marked this year for Termovent is the project "Fire Eye", ie the first COVID-19 laboratory in Belgrade. "We completed this together with partners from the profession in a record time of 14 days. We are very proud of this project because it is the sum of everything we stand for: good cooperation with our partners, an excellent product made by our factory in Kladovo and the great work of my team that designed the entire project."
With regard to pandemic recovery, Perovic has a very practical outlook: "I think it will be a long process and a lot of time will pass until the market fully recovers. At the moment, the most endangered are small companies, which are very important to every economy (and therefore to our company), and I think that it is very important to help these companies to help them to avoid bankruptcy."