Strategic approach to deliver outstanding total cost of ownership

How Ramboll offers much more than just steel structures

Read this article to learn:

  • Ramboll’s history, expertise and geographical coverage
  • Why the company opts for a customised approach for clients
  • Developments with Ramboll’s Rapid Deployment Units
  • How Ramboll work with clients to focus on long term solutions over quick fixes
  • Ramboll’s Smart City solutions

With over 70 years’ experience in the telecom industry, Ramboll has become a trusted partner to the sector, working side by side with clients to better develop customised solutions which address long term holistic network requirements. TowerXchange speak to Ramboll to find out more.

TowerXchange: Please can you introduce Ramboll to TowerXchange readers.

Thomas Brink Laursen, Business Development Director, Ramboll:

Ramboll was founded in Denmark in 1945, and today we are approximately 14,000 employees globally. Aside from Telecom, we provide consultancy services within Buildings, Transport, Planning & Urban Design, Water, Environment & Health, Energy and Management Consulting. Our presence is global with especially strong representation in the Nordics, the UK, North America, Continental Europe, Middle East and Asia Pacific, and we have 300 offices in 35 countries. As a provider of telecom consultancy we seek to become a trusted knowledge partner to our clients, offering technical support throughout the project lifecycle. Our client base includes tower companies, operators, vendors, contractors, investors and other parties.

TowerXchange: On the spectrum between an “off-the-shelf” and “completely customised” method to designing and supplying towers, where does Ramboll sit? What is the reason behind this approach and what are the main capabilities that you have to support this?

K.Suresh Babu, Business Development Director, Ramboll:

Market conditions and demands differ depending on clients and geography, and it is Ramboll’s experience that customised solutions provide maximum value to our clients. This not only relates to towers, but generally to all our services. We need to find the most cost-effective solutions for each of our clients, and therefore we need to consider each project as unique. In Ramboll we take advantage of having been in the telecom business for almost 70 years, and with optimised processes and advanced expertise supported by our advanced in-house software, it is possible for us to provide highly optimised designs within short timelines. 

TowerXchange: There is strong demand for low cost and rapid deployment towers at present in Africa – how has Ramboll been supporting and servicing this demand, what solutions do you have and perhaps can you share some projects that you have been involved in? 

Thomas Brink Laursen, Business Development Director, Ramboll:

In Ramboll we put a lot of effort into innovation and continuous development of new concepts and solutions to the market. Rapid deployment solutions have been requested by the market for some years now, but due to higher cost, these solutions have not been implemented in the scale we would have expected. We have recently modified our concept for our Rapid Deployment Units (RDUs) and have a complete model site for RDUs, which we believe is the right solution for this demand. Our RDU designs are being deployed in the African market, and we believe it will span to more projects in the coming years.

TowerXchange: When upgrading towers for the addition of tenants there can be a lot of inefficiency in the suggestions made by consultants, can you share some examples of where Ramboll has helped clients develop a more cost-effective solution. 

Thomas Brink Laursen, Business Development Director, Ramboll:

It is correct that several of the solutions implemented on sites today are inefficient and do not consider long-term sustainability. Providing a cost-effective solution is to a large extent about communication. There is a need to discuss the goal amongst the stakeholders as there is a risk of optimising the solution on the basis of the wrong parameters if this discussion is not included in the process. Upgrading towers should be a strategic consideration where the tower portfolio is looked upon as a whole. The strategic decision should be taken by combining technical and commercial knowledge. Ramboll is a knowledge partner to our clients, and it is always Ramboll’s aim to talk strategy before deciding on concrete solutions.

For instance, after discussions with one of our trusted clients, who was executing a strengthening project on several existing towers in Africa, we understood that the overall aim of driving down the cost was not really met, and hence we were asked to investigate the solution. It was clear that the speed of the implementation was quite good. However the overall cost, including the materials, was high. We provided an alternative solution to our client, based on a generic strengthening solution, grouping towers to streamline the manufacturing and supply chain as well as make the implementation easier. It required upfront changes to the solution and the supply chain, and obviously the initial cost went up due to additional design and management hours. However, including the material and implementation cost, our client saved more than 20% of the initial implementation cost. In addition, we ensured that the towers were calculated in accordance with the latest standards. If our client had not been ready to share their overall challenge and their goals, Ramboll would not have been able to provide efficient support.

We generally believe that more time should be spent on planning, if our aim is to work effectively and minimise the total cost of a network upgrade. We are obliged to move towards sustainable solutions, and the way we work should mirror that, rather than focus on a short-term quick fix.

TowerXchange: Smart city initiatives and increased requirements for densification in urban areas are fuelling demand for camouflage solutions – can you share some designs/initiatives that Ramboll has been involved in and how you helped clients fill a brief 

K.Suresh Babu, Business Development Director, Ramboll:

As previously mentioned, we put a lot of effort into development and innovation of new concept solutions, and obviously Smart City solutions are also under the Ramboll innovation umbrella. It is important for Ramboll to be in the forefront when it comes to development, and in respect to Smart City solutions we have decided on four focus areas:

Integrated and multi-purpose solution: Telecom cells that can be integrated in smart structures which also serve other purposes like traffic signalling, public security systems, disaster response mechanism etc.

Infill sites: Smart structures at vantage points or along city streets to enhance connectivity and provide faster data.

Aesthetic solutions: Structures that can be functionally designed to suit the aesthetic requirements of a city or the client’s need (camouflage)

Counter CO2 emission: Integrated multipurpose solution, which is custom-made to meet several demands, with the aim to reduce material and resources resulting in reduced CO2 emission

Such solutions can become beneficial not only to our clients, but also to society, as they may have environmental and social benefits too. Some of our concepts have already been manufactured and installed by our clients, and one picture from India can be seen in the photo below.

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