We are increasingly dealing with EPCM contracts. Still Engineering, but also Procurement and Construction Management. Nowadays, we meet with a client at an earlier stage to discuss his plans and we stay until the construction is finished. The customer used to have its own project team. Nowadays, the client sticks to its core business and buys in the services needed for a project.
These days almost all projects are under time pressure. That is why Vicoma discusses and records its procurement strategy with the customer beforehand, as this often determines the planning. René also sees procurement activities growing as a result. “It’s not just: oh, I’ll buy a pump or compressor, it often involves large installations or parts of installations. These are complex processes. Do you buy on price, on delivery time or on a combination? And purchasing alone is not enough. Will the documentation be there on time? Will everything be delivered on time? Does it meet the quality requirements and is everything complete and undamaged? Of course, this also includes the construction contracts with contractors. This is all part of procurement and we are employing more and more people for this.”
Project management competencies
A different type of people, says René. “People who have the competences for project management. People who can relieve a client of their worries from beginning to end, with a great deal of involvement in the client’s process. Who also proactively signal when something is not going well and act to correct it. All this places great demands on the independence and organisational skills of our project managers. But in fact, if you look at it properly, it is all our people.”
Draftsmen have long since disappeared from the Vicoma locations. René: “Nowadays it is all 3D-software and other databases from which many of our documents are made. This means we need fewer and fewer people for drawing.”
Is sustainability an issue in Vicoma’s market? René: “Absolutely. We encounter these projects more and more often. For example, neighbouring companies that exchange energy. We also supervised the entire process of realising Ioniqa, the plastic recycling plant in Geleen that can recycle PET indefinitely. Thanks to this innovative process, Ioniqa was recently declared a National Icon. Of course we are proud that Vicoma contributed to this.
Here in Hoogvliet we work a lot in the process industry. Our customers have sustainability high on their agenda. They have to. If not because the government imposes it, then at least to keep the cost price low by saving energy. I won’t say that sustainability is second nature to us, but it is actually already standard in our work process. What else can we do to ensure maximum energy efficiency? Irrespective of the approach of the assignment, we are always working on that.”