Clear communication is half the battle
eReM provided complete electrical installation for new shipyard in Kenya
Sometimes a project seems to have been arranged from front to back. But what if you are asked at the very last minute to show what your company is capable of? At eReM in Zwijndrecht, the Netherlands, they know all about it. In part thanks to a rock-solid offer they convinced their end customer – an internationally operating Dutch shipbuilder – to come on board with them. And in this case literally because, as it concerned the installation of the entire electrical system of a new shipyard in Kenya, the components were shipped by sea freight. Their main challenge? In the preliminary phase everything had to be 100% correct. This required thorough preparation in which eReM could count on support from itsme.
Large projects, from panel building to comprehensive solutions in industrial automation, both in the Netherlands and far beyond; at eReM they are accustomed to a lot. Nevertheless, this project posed some unique challenges, beginning with the quotation, says Ton van Lare, project manager at eReM. “Our end customer was looking for a partner for the installation of all the electricity for a new shipyard in Kenya; from the connection of the grid operator to everything that comes with it, like lighting, high-voltage current, hoists and communication. The process was already at an advanced stage, but the organisation nevertheless asked us to submit an offer. “In this situation, eReM enlisted the help of their permanent technical partner itsme.
Mohammed Serroukh, branch manager at itsme, remembers this hectic period very well. “Of course it provided a great opportunity, but on the other hand we only had a few days to put this offer together. By pulling out all the stops we nevertheless succeeded in submitting the offer in time. And it worked, because eReM was awarded the contract.”
Customisation requires constant consultation
In Zwijndrecht, operations such as panel building, were started immediately. For the materials with Kenya as their immediate final destination Ton, together with colleague and work planner Mehmet Yilmaz, consulted with the end customer. Peter van Vliet, team leader Industry and OEM at itsme, joined them. Together they mapped out all the challenges at an early stage.
Take, for example, the most efficient logistical solution for getting all the materials to Africa. “In addition to all the connectors, lighting, sockets, fuses and cable support systems, you are talking about a considerable amount of cables on reels, really big ones. Normally, such an order comes to us first, and then we ship it ourselves. But that would have meant engaging other parties to move those reels for us with a forklift”, says Mehmet. Therefore, the sea containers were loaded with the seaworthy-packaged components directly at itsme’s Central Distribution Centre (CDC) and shipped to Kenya from there.
“Everyone handled the preparations well, which meant that the implementation itself went smoothly”
“A lot of customisation was involved in this order. It is then that communication between all parties involved is of the essence, providing us with so much information; not only to keep everything on the right track, but also because not everything goes according to plan the whole time. Consider, for example, the export aspect. The cable reels are made of black wood. In order to be allowed to import that in Africa, you have to meet all kinds of requirements”, explains Peter. It is precisely this drive to want to know what makes the customer tick that leads to customised solutions, he continues. “Regular consultation in a transparent and open way enables us to share our thoughts with them. That is what we, as itsme, stand for.”
Another challenge – a demand by the end customer – was the meticulous labelling of the material. Peter: “It involved a huge number of components. Moreover, lots of cables were of the same type, but of different lengths. Because we had coordinated the labelling and packaging very adequately in advance, the people on location were able to see at a glance what each cable was meant for.”
No room for mistakes
The greatest challenge of the project was that everything had to be 100% correct in advance, because there was simply no room to repair anything during transportation or afterwards, says Mohammed. “Advance communication really was the project’s strength. The materials are shipped to Kenya by sea freight. It means that you can’t say afterwards ‘We forgot something. We’ll bring it over in a minute.’ We are very active in marine and offshore, including a large number of export projects. This allowed us to act as a solid discussion partner by being able to share our thoughts with eReM.” Ton nods affirmatively. “Everyone handled the preparations well, which meant that the implementation itself went smoothly. It already started at the submission of the quotation; the support given by itsme has helped us tremendously. And as for the orders: we never have to go after anything ourselves.” Mehmet: “In the two months that followed, Peter and I were in almost daily contact. When I ordered products, he would always call afterwards, if only to suggest faster alternatives in case of long delivery times. A few times they even engaged a courier. Everything was delivered on time and for a large part this was due to the fact that itsme was right on top of things.”
“Especially in the case of customised work, communication between all those involved is essential”
eReM is now awaiting commissioning. The enthusiasm of Ton and Mehmet is not at issue here. “It is absolutely great to see that thousands of miles away our customer has actually built what we designed on paper and that everything fits and makes sense”, says Mehmet. And that also goes for Ton. “It gives me a feeling of real pride. We are not a very big company, but we do acquire big contracts which are very diverse. In this case it was shipbuilding, but some other time it might just as well be petrochemistry again or station automation. That variation is such great fun and also there we find the collaboration with itsme.”
Completely at home in automation
eReM Elektrotechnici BV is based in Zwijndrecht and is an overall partner in automation and control processes. In addition to panel building, they are also experts in E&I engineering, software engineering and E&I installation. With its certified EPLAN engineers and automated panel-building processes, eReM achieves a proven high quality. In addition, as a recognised work placement company with specific professional knowledge, it trains a new generation of techies. With a strategic vision, reliable delivery times and business acumen eReM works for organisations in, among others, petrochemistry, oil & gas, machine building, food industry, offshore and the energy sector. eReM is capable of running the entire automation process.