DISCOVER Magazine #7

Damen Shiprepair & Conversion

Published in category: Shiprepair & Conversion

Combining sales force, purchasing power and learning ability to guarantee docking capacity and high-level services

Just over a year ago Damen’s 16 shipyards specialising in repair and conversion were brought together under one organisation, Damen Shiprepair & Conversion.

This new Damen division can now offer 40 dry docks worldwide, the largest of which is 420 m long, and has specialists in every industry sector ranging from offshore vessels, LNG carriers to fishing vessels and dredgers in locations in the Netherlands, Sweden, France, United Arab Emirates, South Africa and Singapore.

Durk-Jan Nederlof, who is heading up Damen Shiprepair & Conversion comments: “We took the strategic decision to invest in repair and conversion and to promote cooperation between all our yards in the repair and conversion business.”

This led the Group to go on a spending spree in 2011/12 when it eventually acquired five yards, considered complimentary to its activities, in less than a year in the Netherlands, France and Sweden.

Since we have brought all our yards together under our organisation we have been able to combine our sales force, purchasing power, cooperate more and learn from each other

Each yard is individually managed by a dedicated team but the Damen Shiprepair & Conversion philosophy and brand is being adopted at all the yards – being safe, reliable, providing the best quality and at a competitive price.

Wherever clients are in the world they will be treated in the same way, see the same Health & Safety procedures, working methods, planning and same invoicing, stresses Durk-Jan. For example, as from 2014 all of the yards will be ISO 9001 certified and we are now working towards an ISO 14000 group certificate. “Our yards are all working to the latest standards and have continuous improvement programmes in place. I can confidently say that audits by major clients – without exception – are going very well.”

Since we have brought our repair yards together under one division we have been able to combine our sales force, purchasing power, cooperate more and learn from each other

The Group’s purchasing power is now a lot bigger and it can offer better prices and pass these on to the customer and it is also able to have a wider choice of subcontractors, which again, leads to better prices. “Our scale allows us to be more reliable and more competitive. The major advantage for the client is that they can expect the same level of performance.”

Kees Jan Groen, Commercial Director, stresses that the client always selects their yard of choice.

Kees Jan Groen, Commercial Director

We always have capacity available with 40 dry docks. When they ask us for capacity there is almost always a dock available and our customers can go to the yard of their choice with our quote. If for instance, Dunkirk doesn’t have a slot we can bring the vessel to Vlissingen if the customer agrees.

Damen Shiprepair & Conversion has specialist teams for drilling, offshore, fishery vessels, cable layers, pipe layers, renewables, etc. and a broad range of facilities suitable for any type of vessel including a 50 m high covered dock in Vlissingen, large graven docks at Shipdock in Amsterdam and at Damen ARNO Dunkerque, as well as the huge dock in Brest, tailored for the very largest oil tankers and LNG carriers. Damen Shiprepair Rotterdam recently completed a lifetime extension of an FPSO; Gothenburg has a great deal of experience in ferries, as does Damen ARNO Dunkerque, where we also work closely with the dredging companies. Damen Shiprepair Vlissingen converted several jack-up rigs into accommodation platforms; each yard has its specialism.

But if one particular location is not convenient for a client, then the dedicated specialist teams can be brought to a yard of the customer’s choice. “We aim to provide continuity of service – the people that docked the ship at one location can still be working on the vessel at another location,” says Durk-Jan.

Since the yards have been brought together under one division, the management has reorganised the commercial approach. Damen Shiprepair & Conversion is now working with one sales organization representing all yards. The market has been divided into area’s and product groups. Our 25 sales managers are now each responsible for their dedicated area’s and/or product groups such as dredging, cruise ships etc.

When it comes to engineering and work preparation the cooperation also brings a lot of advantages. With our capacities combined and furthermore working more closely with the Damen Shipyards newbuilding and engineering divisions, it is much easier to handle big offshore/conversion projects with all the specialists in-house and to develop products such as scrubbers and Ballast Water Treatment systems.

Bringing so many yards under one umbrella with such diverse expertise is also providing great opportunities for employees. “Talented people are getting a lot of chances to prove themselves. We have a young but very experienced management team, which is being given a lot of responsibility. This makes us a very attractive company to work for,” adds Durk-Jan.

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