Primavera improves Damen's competitive position

“It is my own brainchild, so I am extra critical”, says Martijn Veldhuizen, operations manager at Damen Shipyards Hoogezand. He talks about the (further) development and implementation of Primavera Enterprise at Damen Shipyards in Hoogezand.

It all started during the final phase of his studies, and from there it has been evolving. During his studies in Maritime Engineering in Delft, Veldhuizen worked on a research project to find a system that at a single glance could provide insight in a complete planning portfolio: an instrument that could connect sales, production, planning and organization. Veldhuizen: “What you look for is basically a tool that takes care of the entire portfolio management. From detailed production on the work floor (at the bottom of the pyramid) to integrated project planning and leading an entire division (top of the pyramid), as here in Hoogezand. Our question was therefore simple: who can come up with the best solution?”

Damen Shipyards Group

The Damen Shipyards Group started off as a small company in 1927. In 1969, Damen introduced standardized constructions and designs of all sorts of sea-going vessels. It was in particular the standardization and modular construction of tugs and workboats that contributed to Damen Shipyards’ international acknowledgement and success. Today, the Damen Shipyards Group consists of over 30 companies in six different specializations within the maritime sector. The Damen Shipyards Groups is involved in reparation and maintenance of sea-going vessels, big luxury yachts, fishing, inland navigation, components, tugs and workboats. The company is a global actor and is seen as the market leader within the tugs and workboats sector.

The division organization of the Cargo Vessels Division directs a complex whole. The cargo ships, produced in China, Rumania and Ukraine, have a long way to go from planning to maiden voyage. The division organization is responsible for the whole path: from production, where the design, costs and capacity planning are made, to purchase, project management, service and guarantee. Precision and reliability are required in order to be geared to the finance and sales departments in Gorinchem and the shipyards in Okean (Ukraine) and Galatz (Rumania), where at each shipyard approximately 4000 employees work. With a schedule, hours control and management of this size, optimal harmony and an insightful portfolio are crucial.

Research results

“My investigation led me soon to Primavera Enterprise. I obviously investigated other packages as well that met the requirements, but Primavera Enterprise was the only option with a state-of-the-art package.” Besides the state-of-the-art software, it was the personal contact Veldhuizen built up with Primavera Nederland that made him come to his decision. Damen gave Veldhuizen the opportunity to, after his graduation, implement the Primavera Enterprise system in Hoogezand. “I usually compare it to buying a house. You buy a house, and want to arrange the furniture in a way that makes it become your home”, explains Veldhuizen enthusiastically. “Primavera gives you the opportunity to customize everything.” Decisive for the final choice of a package are the requirements it must live up to and the particular project demands. By critically comparing and looking at the different packages, you will eventually come to a decision. Veldhuizen: “When you know where the conversion from planning to execution lies, you have the possibility to arrange and adapt a package, which will give you the best result.”

Damen Shipyards Hoogezand has been using Primavera enterprise since April 2002. Veldhuizen: “I myself am the link between Primavera and Damen Shipyards. I am well informed about Primavera Enterprise’s possibilities and applications, and I know which demands our organization wants the projects to meet.” It is therefore not surprising that the co-operation between Primavera and Damen works excellently. Communication is essential and the list of actions is often discussed and, when needed, adjusted.

Continuing feedback and testing essential

For good management of a process that takes place at different locations, insight is of fundamental importance. When extensive amounts of hours and materials are involved, continuing feedback and testing keep on being crucial. “Using frequent updates and adjustments, we hope to arrange our package in such a way that we also in Ukraine and Rumania will only need one click to get insight in the situations there.” The organization in the cargo ships division is growing. We have much work ahead of us, optimizing the entire organization. The shipyards in Okean and Galatz are being upgraded to stricter standards. Restructuring East-European companies is a long and sometimes tiresome process. For Veldhuizen, the main challenge lies in integrating the system into the organization. The central focus here lies on the link between management and planning: the reliability of the information and the impact of management. Damen Shipyards has become big by standardizing the production of tugs and workboats. The Cargo Vessels Division has so many variables, that a new method is needed for management and process control.

Improvement and competitive position

In that sense, Primavera has been an excellent choice. The package, support and training have all been outstanding. The division organization in Hoogezand is a fast growing and flexible organization within Damen Shipyards, which goes together very well with Primavera. For this type of shipbuilding, it is a matter of self-preservation to make processes insightful in a way that, when needed, projects can be adjusted and monitored. The market is global and the competition tough. Veldhuizen: “When a better project organization makes it possible to deliver a ship faster than the competition, a package as Primavera Enterprise improves your competitive position.”