Machine factory Klinkenberg Zaanstad B.V. is a Dutch specialist in mechanical transport and bulk handling using screw conveyors of various types. The company has been around for more than 130 years and its thorough professional knowledge and expertise is greatly appreciated by their customers. So much so that Mario de Graaff, director-owner of the production company, saw the opportunity to expand this with a services branch. Klinkenberg Services B.V. carries out maintenance on the machines and assets placed by them or by other companies. The goal is to contribute to the achievement of the business goals of their customers. They do this, among other things, by digitalizing and working towards condition-based maintenance. Although Klinkenberg Services has just been set up, there is more demand for it than initially expected. How do you deal with that? Which systems play an essential role? How do you ensure that your own organization and the customer’s organization are ready for innovation and that they are able to keep up with the pace? We speak with Mario de Graaff about how Klinkenberg quickly set up their new company branch in maintenance.

Dutch version

Vakblad Asset Management

The original version of this interview was published in the Dutch Maintenance Organization’s magazine: Vakblad Asset Management.

Shortage of technicians

“We see more and more that customers are faced with a shortage of well-trained technical personnel. Klinkenberg is regularly asked whether we can fill that gap,” Mario explains the origin of the services branch. “Of course we have the specific knowledge of the machines, we have all the technical documentation available and we can set realistic goals. Moreover, we see great potential in the use of condition-based maintenance to help customers achieve business objectives such as reducing maintenance costs, increasing productivity (OEE) and increasing machine life.”

Learning by doing

Despite the ambitions and good strategy, Klinkenberg was not quite ready for their Services initiative and the necessary digitalization. Mario: “We still did a lot on paper or in Microsoft Word, no maintenance system or processes had yet been set up and of course we still had to train people who can carry out maintenance for customers. I have never experienced all these things as problems; customers are often not ready for this either. We can grow together and I think that’s great, learning by doing.”

Flexibility is paramount

One of the key puzzle pieces for success was choosing and implementing an Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) system. Klinkenberg chose Ultimo as the EAM system. Mario: “Initially we thought we would start small and then scale up. We are pleased that the maintenance system has proven to be so flexible. This allowed us to expand quickly to meet growing customer demand. To give you an idea: we determined a strategy that we wanted to work towards with milestones. Halfway through the implementation it became clear that we had already passed that and we needed a new strategy.” All process data and information from maintenance performed on machines is stored per customer in the EAM system. This creates a database that can be used for further work and analysis. Klinkenberg would like to place maintenance actions (failure notifications) in the system together with the customer in the near future. This allows Klinkenberg to act quickly on notifications. Mario: “This also helps with spare parts management because the need for preventive maintenance becomes clear. This results in professional warehouse management that fully meets the demands of our customers.”

Experts working together

As an implementation partner, Klinkenberg uses the experts of MaxGrip. “The train keeps going and an implementation partner must be able to jump on the train and ride along. You need a sparring partner who listens, shares their thoughts and understands the trade. The MaxGrip consultants did that really well. They contribute ideas about the objectives of the EAM system, which are of course linked to our own business objectives, and they design the system and the processes. Above all, they ensure that we and our customers can get the most out of it. MaxGrip understands asset management. Professionals working together, that’s how it really feels.”

Motivate people

Within six months, a new services branch was up and running with a digital maintenance system and a new way of working. A big change for the team that works in the Klinkenberg machine factory, for the customers and for the new team ‘in the field’ that carries out maintenance for customers. “Communication is really key. We put a lot of time into training and coaching our technicians and hired workers. We include them in the process, collaboration and customer communication. Maintenance technicians need to see what this new way of working (and their role in it) adds to the customer’s business. Together – internally in the factory and externally in the field with customers – we review and improve processes and collaboration. Sometimes the paths that we have to walk over are muddy, but as long as they are passable, we will get there.”

Future in digitalization

“Condition-based maintenance is a realistic goal that we want to achieve for our customers. The EAM system is a nice step in digitalizing our efforts and growing towards that objective. In fact, digitalization and data-driven maintenance across the board is an important vision. We are already working with the connected-worker app Ultimo Go+ and in the longer term I would like to work with NFC tags to be able to smartly connect even more data and information and use it to contribute to the business goals of customers.” Digitalization the business operations of Klinkenberg Services’ serves another purpose namely to recruit and retain young technicians. Digitalization of maintenance makes the profession more attractive and the company Klinkenberg an interesting employer. Mario concludes: “In addition to the robust Klinkenberg Zaanstad, we have quickly set up a successful new company with the services branch that we will make even greater. We have many ideas that we would like to put into practice.”

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