During the 1980s, Damen operated a Services Bus, pictured here loading spare parts onto a KLM flight for international distribution.
THE COMPLETE LIFECYCLE
Services are still an important part of the Damen business model today. Beginning well in advance of the purchase of a vessel, Damen’s service solutions cover the entire lifecycle of a vessel, from financing, through 24/7 assistance, to ship recycling. Today, with its international footprint, including 33 ship and repair yards located on six continents, and six strategically located Service Hubs, Damen is never far from its clients.
During the 1980s, the group became increasingly global in its outlook. It was possible to find Damen hulls being constructed simultaneously in soaring temperatures on the banks of the River Nile and in the freezing climes of the Soviet Union.
STRENGTH IN NUMBERS
By this stage, Damen had grown to be a company with over 1,000 employees and with both newbuild and repair facilities. The growth was set to continue far into the future. Today, with locations all over the world, Damen employs over 9,000 people.
LONGEST SERVING DAMEN EMPLOYEE
Damen has always strived to be a committed employer – and as such it has some very loyal personnel. Holding the honour of longest serving employee is Bert de Rover who joined the company in July 1967 when he was 14 years old.
He now works at the Spare Parts department in Gorinchem, in a function where his considerable experience is often called upon. “It is still very good to work here,” he says. “Every day is different. I am often asked for advice by my younger colleagues because so many of the vessels that we built in the 80s are still operational.
“There are even older Damen vessels still going – the oldest parts request that we have had is for a vessel that was built in 1972.”
MORE THAN SPARE PARTS
You might think that working in the Spare Parts department of a shipbuilding company would mean that you only concentrate on the purchase and distribution of vessel parts and components.
That is sometimes not the case. “It’s a great job with lots of contact with clients and suppliers,” notes Bert de Rover. “And we have had some very varied requests over the years.”
He has dealt with orders for coffee filters, artificial grass, chicken egg incubator and 200 pairs of work shoes. “We’ve handled it all. Our philosophy is, the client is king!”
In 1983, Kommer Damen received the ‘Golden Lead’ (het gouden voortouw) award from the Minister of Economic Affairs, G. van Aardenne. In the background stands Professor A. van der Zwan of the Erasmus University.
In 1989, Damen hosted a royal visit, when Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands attended the naming ceremony of the Eendracht, a national seagoing sailing vessel. The Queen is pictured here disembarking the vessel.
Since then, Damen has hosted a number of Royal and governmental visits, as well as having taken part in many trade delegation events also attended by Dutch and other national heads of state.