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Industrial Renaissance in North-West Europe The key role of Maintenance and Asset Management

‘An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure’ Benjamin Franklin

‘All parts should go together without forcing. You must remember that the parts you are reassembling were disassembled by you. Therefore, if you can't get them together again, there must be a reason. By all means, do not use a hammer.’ IBM maintenance manual, 1925

‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.

The second best time is now.’ Chinese Proverb

Industrial Renaissance in North-West Europe The key role of Maintenance and Asset Management


Introduction Europe is currently trying to overcome a major crisis and its long-

World-class maintenance and asset management are responsible

est-ever recession. Economic uncertainty, labor costs and energy

for optimal operations and results in terms of reliability, availability,

prices caused the delocalisation of a lot of companies, especially

maintainability and safety for production assets over their lifetime.

in industry and manufacturing. In these difficult circumstances it is

Therefore it is also a key enabler in realising Europe’s Advanced

key to stress the importance of industry and manufacturing as the

Manufacturing vision.

foundation for our prosperity. An economy based on services alone will not be able to compete in a global marketplace with BRICS and

This importance is reflected in the economic value of maintenance

CIVETS. A modern and well-organised industry is vital for creating

and asset management. BEMAS is currently participating in the Eu-

jobs and growth in Europe.

ropean Interreg IVB MORE4CORE project. One of the major deliverables is a macroeconomic study on the impact of maintenance and


A competitive industry should be the main focus and priority for

asset management on the economy in North-West Europe. Early

European policy makers. The European Commission recently intro-

results indicate that on a European level, maintenance and asset

duced the ‘Industrial Renaissance’ concept, which BEMAS fully sup-

management are responsible for billions of euros in turnover, em-

ports. Indeed, it is now time for action and get the industry in Europe

ployment figures in the hundreds of thousands, and production as-

competitive again.

sets valued at hundreds of billions of euros.

It is clear that maintenance and asset management play a vital role

With this book we are providing a forum to key stakeholders in main-

in achieving the goal of an industrial renaissance, as they are the

tenance and asset management: government officials and policy

crucial multi-disciplinary business function responsible for optimal

makers, captains of industry and high-level academics. Seeing all

operations of manufacturing processes. When industries depend on

these people making a plea for a European Industrial Renaissance

assets with a long lifetime (e.g. chemical, process and high tech in-

from different perspectives is a great start and will hopefully contrib-

dustries), maintenance and asset management are responsible for

ute to this economic turnaround.

integration of novel technologies into existing systems. It is therefore of major importance to the uptake of innovations, including those

Now let us revive industry and manufacturing, and make our

that enhance productivity or environmental sustainability.

European economy competitive again!


Foreword by the Chairman of BEMAS For several years now, we have been living in uncertain economic

The maintenance of a strong local industrial fabric of manufactur-

times. Periods of growth alternate with periods of recession and

ing, machine builders and service providers. Because without this

no one seems to be able to predict their duration or severity. While

incubation chamber of technical innovations, the industry of the

everyone longs for a new balance, it is very likely that these fluc-

future will not grow.

tuations will continue in the coming years. To find a way out of this situation, Europe has formulated a new vision with regard to

The availability of highly skilled technical professionals. In the con-

the importance of industrial activities. Policymakers increasingly

text of a global shortage of technical talent, the local availability

understand the importance of industry for the prosperity and well-

of (maintenance) technicians is an important investment criterion.

being of European citizens, and are striving for a true Industrial

In the high-tech factory of the future, these skills will be the key


instrument for efficiency and durability.

The business community must seize this momentum to break the


The transformation of existing assets. Our current installations are

trend and go for growth again. Maintenance and asset management

ageing rapidly, and threaten the competitiveness of our compa-

play a crucial role in this story.

nies on the global marketplace. Both economically (lower investment costs) and from an environmental perspective, it is wise to

Maintenance is much more than just keeping installations up-and-

upgrade our current assets to world-class performance using

running: it is the key to increasing global efficiency, safety, energy ef-

lifetime extension. In this way we will achieve more reliability and

ficiency, and production outputs. Maintenance continuously improves

(energy) efficiency and be able to produce innovative products.

availability, reliability and asset performance. The modern maintenance or asset manager controls risks and ensures a return on invest-

With this book, we want to outline the current challenges for our indus-

ment for the capital invested in production installations and assets.

trial businesses. I hope that we can inspire you to translate these poli-

For the past 25 years, BEMAS has dynamically promoted profes-

cies for achieving industrial renaissance into concrete measures in your

sional maintenance and asset management. The organisation has

own company. Let’s build a future for the industry in Europe together!

become the number one platform for sharing knowledge on these topics, across all sectors.

Philippe Deneve Chairman of BEMAS

Today, BEMAS actively contributes to the industrial renaissance in

Division Manager Maintenance, Services & Panels at

our region by providing solutions for three major challenges:

Cofely Fabricom - GDF Suez

Herman Van Rompuy President of the European Council

Manufacturing industry plays a crucial role in Europe and it is essen-

ety, where people – not just geniuses, ordinary people – would get

tial for Member States to recognise the central importance of indus-

excited about finding new ways to do things, and do them better.

try for creating jobs and growth. Studies show that every additional job created in manufacturing creates up to 2 jobs in other sectors.

When we speak about innovation, the focus is often on research, which is of course a key part of innovation, but we should not lose

In view of that, the European Commission has proposed a series

sight of the intrinsic potential of existing technologies by raising their

of measures which, if implemented, should increase GDP share

productivity, quality and reliability, as well as their commercialisation.

for manufacturing to 20% by 2020 from around 15% today. Support-

This is exactly the mind-set that has continued to thrive in the main-

ing European competitiveness, including of our industry, has been

tenance sector and needs to spread across industry for the revival

and will continue to be an important priority of the work of the Euro-

to take place.

pean Council. Finally, I cannot emphasise enough the crucial role that training and We are now ready for the European Industrial Renaissance. There-

education has to play in economic recovery. It empowers people,

fore, we must ensure that our industry is in top shape, ready for the

and especially young people, to be part of the growth. I have spoken

necessary modernisation and adjustments. To this end, the role of

many times about e-skills and the need for them in every sector, this

maintenance and asset management will continue to be critical if we

is strongly reinforced here. In a sector that prides itself on continued

are to ensure companies are in shape to step up to the challenge.

on the job training, alongside classroom training I am heartened to see that so many companies have made a major commitment to

In his recent book Edmund Phelps, Nobel laureate in economics, in

skills development.

describing the century of growth leading up to the 1960s, argues that what was particularly distinctive about the drive for modernity

I wish BEMAS another successful 25 years at the heart of European

was how widespread it was. A grass-roots, innovation-minded soci-

Industrial Renaissance.



EU Commission calls for a European Industrial Renaissance

The European Union is emerging from its longest-ever recession. EU28 GDP grew by 0.2% in the third quarter of 2013. The upturn in business sentiment and confidence indicators suggests that structural reforms, macroeconomic governance improvements and measures in the finan-

services (e.g. logistics), consumer services (e.g. after-sales services

cial sector have succeeded in stabilizing Europe’s economy. The EU is

for durable goods) or tourism. Industrial activities are integrated in

on the right track, but the recovery remains modest, with Commission

increasingly rich and complex value chains, linking flagship corpora-

forecasts of 1.4% GDP growth for the EU28 in 2014 and unemployment

tions and small or medium enterprises (SMEs) across sectors and

rates close to 11% for the next two years. That is why fostering growth


and competitiveness to sustain and strengthen recovery and to achieve

The economic importance of industrial activities is much greater than

the goals of the Europe 2020 agenda have become the top priority for

suggested by the share of manufacturing in GDP. Industry accounts

the Commission and EU Member States.

for over 80% of Europe’s exports and 80% of private research and innovation. Nearly one in four private sector jobs is in industry, often

The importance of a strong industry

highly skilled, while each additional job in manufacturing creates 0.5-

The crisis has underlined the importance of the real economy and

2 jobs in other sectors. The Commission considers that a strong

a strong industry. Industry’s interactions with the rest of Europe’s

industrial base will be of key importance for Europe’s economic re-

economic fabric extend far beyond manufacturing, spanning up-

covery and competitiveness.

stream to raw materials and energy and downstream to business

Overall, EU industry has proved its resilience in the face of the economic crisis. It is a world leader in sustainability and returns a EUR 365 billion surplus in the trade of manufactured products (EUR 1


billion a day), generated mainly by a few

tivity performance continues deteriorating in

and not lose the race against our competi-


comparison to that of our competitors.

tors, more needs to be done on the EU level.

Can EU manufacturing recover from the

Recovery uneven, Europe losing its global

aeronautics, space and creative industries


manufacturing share.

sectors, and high-end goods in many other

After a substantial recovery in 2009 -2011,

The recovery from the most severe crisis in

sectors, including food.

industry in Europe has slid downward again.

the post-war period has been uneven across

Nonetheless, the legacy of the crisis is se-

At 15.1% in the summer of 2013, the contri-

EU Member States and industrial sectors.

vere: since 2008, 3.5 million jobs have been

bution of manufacturing to EU GDP has de-

Few countries have successfully recovered

lost in manufacturing; the share of manu-

clined further and is a long way from the 20%

their pre-crisis level of manufacturing output

facturing in GDP has fallen from 15.4 % to

target for 2020 put forward by the Commis-

(Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania

15.1 % in the 2013; and the EU’s produc-

sion in 2012. If we want to reach this target

and Slovakia) while the majority are far below.




They include the automotive, machinery and equipment,



Source: EU Competitiveness report 2013


































Figure 1. EU manufacturing recovery by Member State Percentage change since January 2008


With the exception of necessity goods sectors and some high-tech

Even more worrisome are the data on the share of the EU manufac-

sectors, the majority of industrial sectors have not yet recovered

turing output on a global scale, which show that the share of manu-

from the crisis. With domestic demand remaining weak, the recovery

facturing in Europe has been consistently decreasing, while manu-

gains are mainly due to external demand (in particular for pharma-

facturing in China has been on the rise.

ceuticals, metal ores and transport equipment).




Source: EU Competitiveness report 2013

Figure 2. Shares of global manufacturing output





0% 2003



EU 15



EU 27







Manufacturing as a pivotal sector

higher technology content than competing North American or

Looking beyond the crisis, the report identifies main reasons for

East Asian products. The challenge for Europe in this area is that

maintaining a ‘critical size’ of manufacturing activities in European

apart from advanced manufacturing technologies, EU products

economies. It also identifies sources of EU comparative advantages

based on key enabling technologies are mature and need to com-

that need to be preserved and upgraded, as well as long-term struc-

pete on price.

tural weaknesses in manufacturing that need to be addressed. The main findings and recommendations are as follows:

coming a more important measure of competitiveness than the

the weight of manufacturing in the EU economy is decreasing in

traditional emphasis focused mainly on exports of finished goods.

favour of services.

In this respect, the technology advantage of the EU is reflected by

A critical mass in the form of a minimum production base is needed,

the fact that EU manufactured exports have less embedded for-


eign value added than exports by third countries such as China,


3. In a globalised world, so-called ‘value-chain performance’ is be-

1. Manufacturing is increasingly seen as a pivotal sector, although

A declining manufacturing share erodes the knowledge and

South Korea, Japan and USA, which need to source hi-tech inter-

technology base of the whole economy, which is crucial for

mediate goods from abroad to a greater extent than the EU. Con-

achieving sustainable development

versely, the EU has a higher share of value added in the exports

Manufacturing has strong spill-over effects on the rest of the

of these countries. According to the most recent figures available,

economy and especially on overall productivity. Each euro of

around 86 % of the value of EU exports is domestically produced,

added final demand in manufacturing generates around 50

compared to 74 % for China, 85 % for Japan, 61 % for South

cent of additional final demand in other sectors of the economy.

Korea and 84 % for the US.

2. Europe has comparative advantages in about two-thirds of the

4. It is important to make EU enterprises more competitive on the

industrial sectors, accounting for around 75 percent of EU manu-

global market. The report's findings suggest that:

facturing output. These comparative advantages are concentrat-

EU industrial policy needs to steer structural change towards

ed in complex and high-quality product segments. By gradually

higher productivity in manufacturing and better positioning

increasing the complexity of their products, EU manufacturing in-

of EU enterprises in the global value chain. In doing so, EU

dustries managed to maintain their competitive position through

should rely on its existing strengths of manufacturing, namely

the crisis. For example, the EU is a major producer of new knowl-

its advantages in knowledge and technology intensive products

edge in Key Enabling Technologies (KETs), the technological

and services. An example of this is key enabling technologies

building blocks that will be used to construct any new technology


or innovative high-tech product in the years to come. Its products based on industrial biotechnology or advanced materials have

But the EU is lagging behind in productivity gains relative to emerging industrial powerhouses and some of its major com-

petitors such as U.S. and Japan. The EU-US productivity gap,

Industry vs. services: why it is important to strengthen both

for instance, is growing wider again after years of narrowing.

Following a recovery from the middle of 2009, the EU economy and

Part of it is accounted for by an efficiency gap caused by regu-

manufacturing industries retreated into a double-dip recession since

lations, or underinvestment in ICT and intangible assets. Anoth-

the end of 2011 (Figure 3). Employment in manufacturing has been

er part is explained by slower market uptake of research output

steadily declining for decades and this decline accelerated with the

(commercialisation of research gap). Demand-led policies and

outbreak of the financial crisis. As a result, the share of manufacturing

measures to stimulate research and development cooperation

in GDP continued shrinking from 15.8 % before the crisis to 15.1 % in

can help bridge such gaps.

2013. But the share of manufacturing has long-term structural expla-

Structural change is slow, path-dependent and inefficient if it

nations as well. For instance, manufactured goods can be traded more

does not build on existing strengths. It can be fostered by hav-

easily and produced increasingly more efficiently than other outputs.

ing the right institutional framework in place covering educa-

Against that backdrop and in combination with rising incomes, the rel-

tion, research, technology and innovation policies but also the

ative price of manufactured goods is likely to fall in relation to the price

quality of governance.

of services. Thus the weight of the services sectors in the GDP has been increasing, while the weight of manufacturing has been falling.





Source: EU Competitiveness report 2013

FigFigure 3. Double-dip of EU manufacturing production Index 2010=100





90 2000







Manufacturing employment








Manufacturing production

16.0 14.0 12.0











Source: EU Competitiveness report 2013
































0.0 RO


Figure 4b. Changes in the share of manufacturing in the EU MS 2000-2012

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004

Source: EU Competitiveness report 2013



Figure 4a. Declining share of manufacturing in EU GDP



In spite of longer-term trends in advanced

case for preserving a ‘critical size’ of manu-

provide important inputs for manufacturing

economies of the manufacturing sector

facturing activities in European economies.

(in particular business services). Thus, man-

accounting for a shrinking share in value

There are very important ‘backward link-

ufacturing has a ‘carrier function’ for ser-

added and in employment, there is a strong

ages’ from manufacturing to services which

vices which might otherwise be considered

fect for innovation and qualitative upgrading for service activities.

increased ‘product bundling’ of production and service activities in

Because of this increasing cross-over (Figure 5), when manufactur-

advanced manufacturing activities. This ‘carrier function’ – through

ing is struggling this has a very negative impact on services sector

international competitive pressure – has furthermore a stimulus ef-

and on the overall economy and jobs.



Source: EU Competitiveness report 2013






Pulp, paper & printing

Electrical & optical equipmt

Manufacturing n.e.c.


Transport equipmt

Machinery n.e.c.

Coke & refined petroleum


Non-metallic mineral

Rubber & plastics

Metal products


Food, drink & tobacco


0% Leather & footwear

Figure 5. Increasing share of services in manufacturing sectors

to have limited commercial value. In the same direction goes the



Focus on governance: more action needed on a European level

nologies could well form the base for a major industrial policy initia-

The preservation of the ‘industrial commons’ includes nurturing

tive. Importantly, such a strategy should not only include a long-term

manufacturing-services inter-linkages and exploiting specialisation

funding commitment for research but also needs a reliable source

advantages of different European economies. State aid measures

of demand that should be provided by public procurement of EU

to support structural change and structural adjustment have so far

Member States and the EU itself.

been used predominantly at national levels and did not rely much

The industrial policy strategy laid out in the (European Commission,

on the coordinated use of state aid tools. In a highly integrated Eu-

2012a) goes in the same direction as five of the six priority areas

ropean economy, the preservation and development of ‘industrial

(priority action lines) defined in this Communication are related to

commons’ should be seen as a joint responsibility because of strong

meeting the challenge of climate change and the degradation of the

externalities across the European economy. Such joint responsibil-

environment. It remains to be seen whether public procurement will

ity for ‘industrial commons’ includes rules for quality assurance and

have any role to play in the EU’s policy initiatives for stimulating the

recognition of qualifications, supporting the mobility of skilled staff,

commercialisation of innovations and the development of green and

learning from successful cluster policies, support for necessary

more resource-efficient products.

transport and communications infrastructure.

Furthermore, industrial policy has to be attentive to the different

Industrial policy at the EU level should ensure that Europe has a

needs of countries and regions at different levels of economic de-

broad and diversified industrial structure which is well-equipped to


be a major actor in the development of new areas of activity such as environmental technology. In this it is able to benefit from the di-

Towards a European Industrial Renaissance

versified character of European industrial and demand structures

The European Commission has been pursuing an integrated indus-

and benefit from the pooling of resources. This encourages also in-

trial policy approach and has issued growth-enhancing recommen-

novations in existing areas in which Europe draws on its specific

dations to Member States in the context of the European Semester.

comparative advantages, be they based on traditions of production

Full implementation of this policy approach at European and national

specialisation (fashion in France and Italy, high-quality mechanical

levels is critical to ensure our future competitiveness and to increase

engineering and transport equipment in Germany and in a number

our growth potential. To be effective, policy actions must be well

of the Central European economies, quality food production) or on

coordinated and consistent from regional to the EU-level. Member

a diversified pattern of private and public demand (strong position

States will play a capital role in this process of implementation of re-

of public transport, of high-quality health services or linked medical

forms to improve competitiveness,. The development of new instru-

devices and pharmaceuticals).

ments such as the “Partnerships for Growth, Jobs and Competitive-

Given the strong political commitment of the EU to environmental

ness”, can be very helpful to improve effectiveness.

protection and the mitigation of climate change, a long-term indus-

With scarce natural and energy resources and ambitious social and

trial policy targeted at the development of ‘clean’ products and tech-

environmental goals, EU companies cannot compete on low price

and low quality products. They must turn to innovation, productiv-

of the six task forces that were set up a year ago has enabled the

ity, resource-efficiency and high value-added to compete in global

Commission to identify opportunities as well as obstacles to innova-

markets. Europe’s comparative advantage in the world economy will

tion requiring further policy action. Based on this work, the Commis-

continue to lie in high value-added goods and services, the effective

sion will pursue the following priorities in the years to come:

management of value chains and access to markets throughout the

Advanced manufacturing: implementing the Knowledge and In-

world. Thus, innovation and technological advancement will remain

novation Community on value-added manufacturing and estab-

the main source of competitiveness for EU industry. For this rea-

lishing a Public Private Partnership on Sustainable Process In-

son, further efforts are needed to achieve the Europe 2020 target of

dustry through Resource and Energy Efficiency, Factories of the

spending 3% of GDP on research and development (R&D).

Future, Photonics and Robotics, upgrading innovation capacity

In particular, digital technologies are at the heart of increases in pro-

and competitiveness of Europe's manufacturing sector. The in-

ductivity of European industry. Their transformative power and grow-

tegration of digital technologies in the manufacturing process will

ing impact across all sectors is redefining traditional business and

be a priority for future work in light of the growing importance of

production models and will result in a range of potential new product

the industrial internet. The use of “big-data” will be increasingly integrated in the manufacturing process.

and notably service innovations by industry (‘servitisation of industry’). A digital transition is underway across the global economy and

Key Enabling Technologies (KETs): this task-force is working on

industrial policy needs to integrate new technological opportunities

the identification of potential KETs projects of European interest

such as cloud computing, big data and data value chain develop-

in a number of areas, e.g. batteries, intelligent materials, high

ments, new industrial applications of internet, smart factories, robot-

performance production and industrial bio-processes; facilitating

ics, 3-D printing and design.

pan-European access of SMEs to technological infrastructure; and exploiting further the possibilities of the Memorandum of understanding signed with the European Investment Bank.

Stimulating investment in innovation and new technologies Since the onset of the economic crisis, dramatically reduced levels of

Bio-based products: granting access to sustainable raw materials

investment in innovation are a major concern for Europe’s industrial

at world market prices for the production of bio-based products.


This will require the application of the cascade principle in the

The need to speed up investment in breakthrough technologies in

use of biomass and eliminating any possible distortions in the al-

fast-growing areas was the main reason the Commission decided to

location of biomass for alternative uses that might result from aid

identify in the 2012 Industrial Policy Communication the six areas in

and other mechanisms that favor the use of biomass for other

which investment should be encouraged.

purposes (e.g. energy).

These strategic, cross-cutting areas are: advanced manufacturing,

Clean Vehicles and Vessels: adoption and full implementation of

key enabling technologies, clean vehicles and transport, bio-based

the Commission’s proposal on alternative fuels infrastructure, im-

products, construction and raw materials and smart grids. The work

plementing the Green Vehicle Initiative and other H2020 initiatives


promoting clean and energy efficient transport, pursuing global

Increasing productivity and resource efficiency and facilitating

standards for electric cars and implementing the priorities identi-

access to affordable production inputs

fied under CARS 2020.

EU firms need to have access to essential inputs in a sustainable

Sustainable construction and raw materials: setting up a EUR

way and on the best possible terms, but there are still significant

25 billion EIB lending capacity for energy efficiency in residential

problems in capital, energy and raw material markets.

housing; and improving recycling and sustainable waste manage-

Access to finance: Regulatory reforms in financial markets, a ju-

ment in construction.

dicious monetary policy and the new supervisory structure pro-

Smart Grids and Digital Infrastructures: defining further targets for

vided by the Banking Union have succeeded in restoring financial

the development of smart grid components; revising and broad-

stability. But bank deleveraging is making it harder for firms to

ening standardisation mandates and development and guidance

access bank credit, especially for SMEs in Member States where

on performance indicators. The infrastructure and connectivity software for industrial internet is a priority area in the light of its

the crisis has had a particularly severe impact. 

Energy: Despite efficiency gains and the progressive opening of

growing importance and should help integrate high performance

energy markets to competition that have led to reduced wholesale

processes including cloud computing.

electricity and gas prices, retail prices for these essential energy


‘The Commission considers that a strong industrial base will be of key importance for Europe’s economic recovery and competitiveness.’

inputs to industry have increased. EU retail electricity prices for industry grew on average by 3.5% a year and gas prices 1% between 2008 and 2012. As a result, EU industrial electricity prices are estimated to be twice higher than in the USA and Russia and 20% higher than in China according to the International Energy


Agency data. The price gap is greater in gas: EU gas is three to

lenge for EU industry in the coming years, especially as progress in

four times more expensive for EU industry than for US, Russian

manufacturing technologies will increase demand for specific skill

and Indian competitors, 12% more expensive than in China but

and training sets. There are significant differences in skills achieve-

cheaper than in Japan.

ments and in the effectiveness of vocational training systems across

Raw materials and resource efficiency: EU industry is mostly de-

Member States. These, as well as the high unemployment rates in

pendent on the supply of raw materials from international markets,

crisis-hit Member States require immediate action to invest more in

especially unprocessed minerals and metals. It faces a number of

education and training. It also requires improving cross-border mo-

challenges regarding access to both primary and secondary raw

bility. In emerging sectors and areas of economic activity, Knowl-

materials throughout the whole value chain (exploration, extrac-

edge and Innovation Communities will help to make available the

tion, processing/refining, recycling and substitution).

skills needed.

Upgrading skills and facilitating industrial change


Skills feature as a major policy element in the Europe 2020 agenda.

Europe urgently needs to strengthen the basis for post-crisis sus-

The Commission has put in place an overall strategy for improving

tainable growth and modernisation. To that end, it must send a clear

education and training systems via anticipation and investment in

signal of its commitment to reindustrialisation, the modernisation of

human capital supported by EU financial instruments, tools to moni-

Europe's industrial base and the promotion of a competitive frame-

tor skills and training needs and trends, and specific initiatives to

work for EU industry.

bring together the relevant actors dealing with apprenticeships, especially those with crucial information and communication technolo-

Sources: on a regular For a European Industrial Renaissance - Communi-

gies skills, including the social partners.

cation from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the

Skills mismatches and training issues are likely to remain a key chal-

European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - 22/01/2014 European Commission Competitiveness report 2013: no growth and jobs without industry - 25/09/2013


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No innovation without production: MIT professor Olivier De Weck on the importance of local production within an economy


In the 90s, companies moved their produc-

together in the committee Production in the

were 18 million American citizens active in

tion en masse to lower income countries.

Innovation Economy (PIE). The goal? For-

the production sector, a figure which has

Along with the trend of focusing on core

mulate recommendations on the production

gone down by a third, namely to 12 million.

activities, this has resulted in current supply

sector for president Barack Obama.

“In the previous century, the production sector also went through different crises. The

chains in which research and development in particular still happen in the West. You

Three years later, Olivier De Weck is facing

question whether the production sector still

have frontrunners like Apple, which practi-

me in the Aula Magna of the KU Leuven.

has a future in the West is raised over and

cally subcontracts its entire production. But

He comes here to speak about his recently

over. Today is no different, but today’s cri-

is this favorable for Western economies?

published book Production in the Innova-

sis differs fundamentally from the previous

How much and which production activities

tion Economy before the Ekonomika alumni

ones. In past recessions, when the produc-

does a country need so as to keep on par-

in honor of the fifteen year existence of the

tion sector lost jobs, these were picked up

ticipating in the economic rat race? Olivier

Production and Logistics department. While

by other sectors. Today this accounts only

De Weck, professor at Massachusetts Insti-

the American economy is growing again,

for half of the jobs lost. It thus boils down to

tute of Technology (MIT), has occupied him-

partly thanks to the gains of cheap shale

creating new jobs. A question that we asked

self with this question for two years.

gas, the situation remains precarious for

ourselves in this connection was whether

the American production sector. The add-

the US—and by extension Western econo-

It is November 2010. The US economy is

ed value of the sector is indeed rising, yet

mies—are in a position to create new jobs

coming to a dead end. In Massachusetts,

employment in this sector has decreased

in the production sector,” Olivier De Weck

32 academics from various domains gather

drastically in the last 10 years. In 2001 there


Critical boundary The US remains the world’s most innovative nation, with 500,000 patent applications every year, but is closely followed by China, which submits about 400,000 patent requests annually. While it is beyond dispute for most company leaders and governments that investments must be made in innovation, but why the importance to likewise keep on investing in one’s own production? Olivier De Weck: “We strongly believe, and this also emerges from the PIE study, that production and innovation go hand in hand. There is a kind of critical boundary. If the production in a country goes down a particular level, designers, engineers, managers—in short people with innovative ideas, will start looking for another place or region. Great danger lurks there because that would mean that innovation in the country will ground to a halt. And lately, innovation is the engine

home. Imagine if a semiconductor manufacturer wants to radically

of a dynamic and healthy economy. For certain traditional produc-

innovate by incorporating electronics into clothes. If he is not ready

tion sectors, like the auto industry, production is easier to distinguish

to produce on his own because the know-how is lost in the produc-

from research and development of new products. The technology

tion process, then he loses speed. In a fast changing economy, this

is mature and because of this, a kind of “recipe” already exists for

is harmful.”

the production of goods. However, if a producer really wants to innovate, then it is important to keep production, such as for instance

The PIE study shows that innovation has a huge direct and indirect

the production of goods with the greatest additional value, closer to

impact on the entire economy. O. De Weck: “Innovation has a direct impact on the economy through the creation of jobs that are immediately linked to innovative projects. At the same time, innovation also boosts the production process in companies, which in itself has again a positive effect on the service sector. Services which are necessary for the production process itself or for supporting that, like the maintenance of machines, setting up IT systems and supply chain concepts, but also services that are not linked to the production process. If companies withdraw production from a certain country, it has an immense impact on various company activities”.


‘If the production in one country goes down to a particular level, people with innovative ideas will look for other places or regions.’ Prof. Olivier De Weck Executive Director - MIT Production in the Innovation Economy (PIE) initiative

Global competition


The added value of the production sector in Belgium amounted to 60

masse transferred their production to lower income countries, but

billion dollars in 2012. “That indicates that Belgium still has a rather

generally they set out on that adventure rather naively.

strong production sector. The difficult point in Belgium is that the

O. De Weck: “It is important to have good insight into the entire pro-

labor costs are extremely high. In the long term, that undermines

duction chain in order to be able to calculate the real costs of sub-

productivity and competitiveness and there is a risk of losing particu-

contracting. For certain products, it is actually disadvantageous to

lar industries. In the US, there is less consensus on this matter, but

have production in lower income countries. In this connection, it is

the idea exists that it is better to have a robust production sector on

important to consider the loss of flexibility. What if your competitor

the basis of lower salaries than to have nothing at all. At the moment

needs a mere two weeks to cover the whole process from order to

we are witnessing two movements in the US: on the one hand, there

product delivery, while your product takes four weeks to arrive from

is the high-tech industry with higher pay scales, on the other hand,


certain parts of the US are evolving, especially the South Eastern states which has more traditional production sectors, towards mid to

Innovation in production technology

higher range salary levels. That is driven by the global market,” Olivier

Olivier De Weck believes more production can take place in the West

De Weck states.

than what the case is today, but this would not mean that extra jobs will be coming. “I notice that production is “in” again, but not produc-

Salary cost is not the only factor that weighs in the decision to carry

tion in the traditional manner. The production sites of the future are

out production in a particular country. In the late 90s, companies en

high-tech, sustainable, and pose intellectual challenges.”

To get a clearer picture of the technological innovations in the pro-

paying for the product itself. Others, in contrast, think that 3D print-

duction industry, MIT researchers took an internal scan of their or-

ing will remain limited to the creation of simple prototypes,” Olivier

ganisation. On that basis, a list of seven key technologies for the

De Weck says.

production sector was drawn up: nanotechnology for materials and surfaces, supplementary precision production, robotics and auto-

The tyranny of bulk

mation, next generation electronics, biotechnological products, sus-

Olivier De Weck believes that organisations shall more and more often

tainable production technologies, and technologies that make de-

leave their centralised supply chain model and choose spread out

centralised supply chain models possible.

production. “Coordination will still happen centrally and will still be

O. De Weck: “Supplementary precision production points to the

done according to standard methods, but I think organisations will

construction of components through the addition of material layers

establish production itself spread out over the globe. Today, end prod-

in complex 3D forms. Automation and robotics will play an equally

ucts are transported over long distances, a model that can no longer

important role. Not to replace human labor—this was often the case

be maintained given the rising transport costs and growing environ-

in the past—but as its extension so that employees can work even

mental awareness. We should break free from “the tyranny of bulk.””

more efficiently. Think for instance of technologies like Google Glass. Another technology that will catch on is electronics. I’m thinking of

By the tyranny of bulk De Weck refers to the supply chain model still

new applications in particular, like printing electronics on sweaters.

current in the year 2014, which is oriented to large production move-

Also, through innovation completely new production industries can

ment delivered via container loads. “Most products are still transport-

come into existence, think of certain biotechnological applications.

ed by water because this mode of transportation is the cheapest.

Perhaps in the future we will produce organs on demand?”

This means that today it is more expensive to transport a small quantity of goods between two midsized cities than to ship large quantities

The PIE research commission subsequently interviewed, in coop-

from one global port to another.

eration with the consulting and advice office AMP, employees of the most important American universities. The question that was posed

I am convinced that more innovative ways will be developed to trans-

was which innovative technology has the potential to lead to relevant

port smaller quantities of goods in a cost efficient manner, which will

new production. “There is a consensus about the importance of au-

contribute to a more spread out production model. There will be an

tomation and robotics for the production sector, but we see stark

evolution towards spread out production on demand, flexible capac-

differences of opinions about the other domains. The respondents

ity via local networks and a kind of “design democracy,” driven by

disagree about the potential of quick prototyping, innovations in the

digital progress, which allows everyone to make their own design.

supply chain sector, and flexible electronics. Some respondents be-

Techniques like 3D printing, for example, can make the latter pos-

lieve, for example, that in the future everyone will have a 3D printer

sible. These simultaneously occurring changes will drastically trans-

at home and that we will pay for downloading the design instead of

form the current manner of production and the whole supply chain


model. The degree of decentralisation will, in

O. De Weck: “Today we see the production

the lines between production and assembly

my opinion, vary from sector to sector and is

chain as a linear process: you gather natural

will become more vague. A third difference is

linked to energy gains, transport possibilities,

raw materials, manufacture parts and as-

that companies will provide solutions that are

and the local labor force.

semble them into an end product. Advanced

more and more integrated, where the end

production is more comprehensive on four

product is merely a means to offer extra ser-

Advanced production model

levels. First, materials science has reached a

vices. The profit shall lie mainly in those extra

In light of the research results, the MIT aca-

point where synthetic materials of high qual-

services. Lastly, we believe that advanced

demics reflected on the shift from traditional to

ity can be designed. Companies will there-

production will be a strong recycling cycle.�

advanced production and the new production

fore use artificial raw materials in their pro-

model that the former brings with it (figure 1).

duction process. A second difference is that


Traditional Manufacturing

raw materials

(20th century)

from nature

Advanced Manufacturing

raw materials

(21th century)

from nature


Material Design

Figure 1: From traditional to ...

synthetic materials




finished products

services software


Integrated solutions



finished products


recovered Recycling materials


Advanced Manufacturing is the creation of integrated solutions that require the production of physical artifacts coupled with valued-added services and software, while exploiting custom-designed and recycled materials using ultra-efficient processes.

Source: Production in the Innovation Economy

From traditional to advanced production.

The PIE commission arrived at the following definition: “Advanced

biopharmaceutical and medical sector. That’s a big difference com-

production is the creation of integrated solutions that require the

pared with 30 years ago and this shows that these technologies are

manufacture of physical artefacts, coupled to the value-adding ser-

advancing. From the pool of researched companies 4% grew into

vices and software, while designs of the client and recycled materials

an enterprise with an annual return of over 100 million euro. Most of

will be used via ultra-efficient processes.

the companies have seen only limited growth and a fifth have in the

Figure 2 shows where the seven innovative technologies named ear-

meantime been dissolved. What makes some production compa-

lier influence advanced production process.

nies successful and others not?” Olivier De Weck states.

Industrial ecosystems

Olivier De Weck believes in proper support, a kind of “daycare for

The MIT researchers studied 192 companies that launched in the

companies” and points in this connection to industrial ecosystems

period 1997-2008 from MIT. “Only 43% of the companies are in the

as a sort of secret formula to attract and maintain advanced produc-

raw materials from nature

Figure 1: From traditional to ...

synthetic materials


services software





recovered Recycling materials



Integrated solutions

finished products

Source: Production in the Innovation Economy

Material Design


‘If a manufacturer really wants to innovate, then it is important to keep a part of the production close to home.’ Prof. Olivier De Weck

tion. “It is always a mix of actions, but investing in industrial ecosystems stands at number one. That is a group of companies situated within the same geographical region and which manufacture different, complimentary products. If a company makes a product prototype, then it needs the organisations around that can give form to the product. If companies do not have access to such knowledge within a few hours, and at most a day’s travel time, this slows down the whole organisation. We see today in the US that there are big gaps in the industrial ecosystems. One of the reasons for this is that large vertical organisations focus only on the core activities and operate as a global network. Small to midsized businesses, in particular, suffer because of this since there is less spillover. The most important recommendation emerging from the PIE research is for the government to invest in the strengthening of these industrial ecosystems. This can happen through the establishment of privatepublic partnerships, where the partners function as equals (ed. Not subsidized partnerships). There is reason for hope as we see today there is a renewed interest in the production sector in the US. This is attested to by, among other things, the rising number of university courses with a production background. Given that production in one’s own country is crucial in being able to stay innovative, I can only applaud this.”

Didier Herbert The industrial future of Europe from a policy perspective

Didier Herbert is in charge of the Directorate for Enterprise Competi-

pact on industrial activity. The fragile recovery hinted at by positive

tiveness, Industry and Growth Policies in the Directorate General for

growth in 2010-2011 was interrupted by a downturn in the business

Enterprises and Industry of the European Commission. Previously he

cycle. EU industries experienced a double dip but the aggregate of

was Head of Unit in the same Directorate General and worked for the

EU manufacturing masks significant differences between countries.

Vice President of the Commission, Martin Bangemann and in the Di-

Strong recoveries can be seen in some European countries, which

rectorate General for External Relations. Born in 1961, he studied law

have regained and exceeded their pre-recession peaks.There are

and economics in Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. In

also significant differences between sectors. Industries producing

this interview he explains how the European Commission will take on

consumer staples such as food and beverages, and pharmaceu-

the challenges in order to create a better European industrial future.

ticals, have fared relatively better than others since the outbreak of the crisis. High-technology manufacturing industries have in general

Q Industrial activity in Europe has changed a lot over the last

not been impacted to the same extent as other industries. Overall,

10 to 15 years. What has happened, and what are the conse-

services have been hit less badly than the construction, manufactur-


ing and mining industries. Nevertheless, industry in Europe has lost

In the last decades European industry has changed in reaction to a

three and a half million jobs and we are not yet back to the pre-crisis

number of structural developments at the global and European level.

level of industrial output.

Important changes in the global economy such as the emergence of new players in international production and trade and the grow-

For all these reasons and given the key importance of manufacturing

ing importance of ideas, skills and technology have become key for

for the competitiveness of our economy, the Commission launched

the international competitiveness of European manufacturing. An-

a major initiative in January 2014 with the objective of turning around

other feature of the European economy (and advanced economies

the de-industrialisation trends that we are seeing, and getting indus-

in general) is the increasing complementarity between manufactur-

try back to around 20% of the economy by 2020. It is a call for an

ing goods and services. Finally, the economic crisis also had an im-

industrial renaissance.


Q Which areas are this call to action addressing?

Mainstreaming industrial policy The first element of the Commission's initiative is to take industrial competitiveness systematically into account in other policy areas. Take for example climate change policy: while some new industrial activities may emerge from Europe's actions to reduce its CO2 emissions, we also need to look at its effect on energy-intensive industries. Another example is asking "what are the positive effects that would result from a free-trade agreement with United States?" What reduction of costs would emerge from regulatory convergence, where the


USA would accept our products as safe and we would do likewise for their products? The bottom line is that we recognise the importance of industry and therefore mainstream the industrial competi-

One concrete thing the Commission has proposed is to be able to

tiveness aspects in any new policy initiative.

create a company in less than three days, for less than â‚Ź100. For the moment, the cost is more than that and it takes about five days. But

Business-friendly environment

companies should also be able to have all the licenses they need to operate without delays. This is important, because in Europe, there is

European enterprises need to have a business-friendly environ-

already less tendency to become an entrepreneur. People must face

ment, SMEs even more. This means an efficient public administra-

as few obstacles as possible to become and to remain entrepreneurs.

tion, better regulation with assessments of the costs of regulation. In

Our industry policy has a strong entrepreneurial and SME dimension.

my opinion, better regulation is extremely important. It has to trickle down at all levels. This is why impact and cost assessments are

Access to Finance

not only essential for European regulations; they could also be done when national or regional parliaments are proposing legislation. It

When thinking about SMEs, we have to support their access to finance

helps to take decisions when you know their impact on business, as

and make the best use of EU financial instruments. 16% of SMEs re-

well as the social and environmental consequences.

port access to finance as their main problem. So we ask ourselves

what we can do to give the industry the means

It’s amazing to see how much energy prices

is vigorous enough to guarantee that prod-

to make the necessary investments in Europe.

have risen for our companies. For gas and

ucts on the market are safe and respect the

electricity, prices are a multiple of what they

existing legislation.

In our European Research and Innovation

would have to pay in the United States. EU

Programmes, in our regional funds and in the

industrial electricity prices are estimated to

The internal market for services is also criti-

specific programme for SMEs (COSME), we

be twice higher than in the USA and Russia.

cal, especially as manufacturing is so closely

have secured quite a lot of money. This will

The price gap is greater in gas: EU gas is

linked to services. We need to maximise this

enable companies to gain access to finance

three to four times more expensive for EU in-

connection in policy initiatives. To that aim,

in general and have access to research and

dustry than for US, Russian and Indian com-

we have a high-level group on business ser-

innovation in particular. It will also enable

petitors. We need a fully integrated internal

vices which is going to issue recommenda-

regions to finance investments in industrial

market for energy and an efficient pan-Eu-

tions this year.

competitiveness. We are talking here about

ropean infrastructure for gas and electricity.

almost 100 billion euro from our regional

On the other hand, access to raw materials is

funds, and 40 billion euro for industrial re-

also critical and a welcome recent emphasis

search and development programmes.

in the Commission's trade policy. Resource

We also want to look outside Europe. A re-

efficiency is of course part of the solution.

cent survey showed that only one in four

Another point is receiving payments from pub-

It’s about using things more than once and

companies is active outside the borders of

lic authorities more quickly. According to offi-

getting the raw materials that you need from

its own country within the European Union

cial data, public authorities spend around 18%

existing waste streams if you can’t get them

and only one in eight companies is active

of GDP on works, goods and services. This is

from China or the Ukraine.

outside Europe. If we consider that in the coming years 90% of growth will be outside

why the European Commission proposed the famous late-payments directive which obliges public administrations to pay in less than 30


Maximising the potential of the European market

European markets this means that seven out of eight companies are not benefiting at all from that potential.

days. You can imagine that for a construction company being paid in 30 days rather than in

It remains necessary to maximise the po-

100 days is a big difference in terms of liquidity.

tential of our European internal market. Be

This is why we really want to focus on the

it in transport, energy or ICT: we still need to

internationalisation of companies. You may

adopt a number of initiatives to complete the

negotiate trade agreements, but companies

internal market. When we have the neces-

need to know how to get to these markets,

But access to production factors is also key.

sary framework for the internal market, we

how to exploit the opportunities of these

On the one hand there is access to energy.

need to make sure that market surveillance

markets and how to protect them against is-

Access to production factors


sues like counterfeiting. Many services are available, but do compa-

The German apprentice system is a good model, a kind of dual-track,

nies know about these services to get access to countries outside

where you are a student but you also learn to work in a factory.

the European Union? And can Europe play a role to help them play in the first division alongside the Americans and Chinese?

We’ve also launched an Erasmus programme for Young Entrepreneurs (EYE). The Commission supports young entrepreneurs who


We recently started to organise the Missions for Growth. These are

are interested to go and work for six months in another country with

missions of Vice-President Tajani accompanied by 50 to 80 com-

a more experienced entrepreneur. More than 3,000 people have al-

panies from all over Europe. We were recently in Vietnam, Thailand

ready benefited from this programme.

and Myanmar with companies from more than 20 different countries it makes a difference. Our counterparts from these countries tell us

Q Some people say that manufacturing in Europe is dead and

they like Europe because of quality - Europe is quality. So we have

we should shift to services. You don’t seem to agree with that.

to use trade negotiations, our economic diplomacy and the good

No, I don't. Manufacturing is the source of 80% of our exports.Be-

reputation of our industry to get access to these growing markets.

tween 70% and 80% of all investments in research and development come from manufacturing. Nearly one in four private sector jobs is in

Education and training

industry, often highly skilled.

I want to stress the importance of education and training. At a recent

Of course, a general feature of the European economy (and ad-

conference on the European Industrial Renaissance chief executives

vanced economies in general) is the structural shift to the services

were asked "what is the main short-term message and what is the

sector.There is a whole series of explanations for this such as the

main message for the long-term?" For the long-term, the three chief

higher productivity growth in manufacturing than in services, out-

executives said education, education and education. Education of

sourcing processes and vertical disintegration (with more service

students but also education of young, willing, dynamic entrepreneurs.

activities provided by external firms rather than produced internally

by manufacturing firms). In my youth, I used to go into my father’s

lieve that both attributes are important in order to really bring the inno-

textile factory and I talked to the truck driver. Then I visited the guy

vation to the market. This is where we come in as DG Enterprise and

dealing with marketing, and after that I made some calculations with

Industry to ensure we don't stop at the innovation level but help getting

the accounts. Today one company does the accounting, another

it to the marketplace.

does the transport, and perhaps an agency does all the marketing. These tasks are all by definition services but in the 1960s and the

We are concentrating on a number of domains where we think there

1970s they were part of the factory.

might be a huge demand in the coming years: advanced manufacturing, clean production, ecological construction, bio-based products,

But I don’t see a conflict between services and industry. Industry

smart grids, raw materials and clean mobility. For all these domains

needs services and services need industry. Indeed, manufacturing

there is a part of manufacturing, a part of services and it also includes

products are used for producing services.Every job in industry is

asset management. There is a lot of push for innovation and policy-

responsible for between 0.5 and 2 jobs in other sectors, namely in

makers can try to set the right framework, but the private sector needs

services. And more than a third of the value of a European manu-

to take the money and invest it. It's up to industry to make the choices.

facturing product sold to final users is created in the services sector.

The innovation performance across Europe is quite diverse. We can-

Services such as maintenance and training are very important ele-

not put all industries in all countries in the same basket. European

ments in the delivery of complex manufactured products. Did you

policy makers are trying to do the utmost to push innovation, reduce

know that the maintenance of airplanes creates more returns than

its cost and maximise the incentives to innovate. For example, the

building them? These elements explain that there is a high degree of

European patent system has finally been adopted. This is going to

complementarity between manufacturing goods and services. You

reduce the cost of patenting and the time to acquire the patent.

can't really separate industries from services,when you're dealing with the industrial policy. I recently heard Professor Hüther from IW

For us the regional dimension is also important. I was recently at an

Koln explaining that while industry represents 16% of the economy,

event where 16 regions got together to talk and to advance the con-

you get to just over 24%, if the joint production elements such as

cept of smart specialisation. We see that it is in the regions that indus-

services coming from industry are included.

trial specialisation and industrial manufacturing are taking place. The specialties in Rhone-Alpes are different to the specialties in Lombardy.

Q What about the role of research and innovation in Europe?

Perhaps the missing link in the value chain in one region can be found

The European Programme for research for the next seven years (Ho-

in the region next door and doesn't have to be reinvented because it’s

rizon2020) is now focusing on both research and innovation. We be-

just across the border.


Performance Improvement When you need a trustworthy partner to keep your equipment in good shape and improve your productivity


Wouter De Geest Don’t be afraid of what lies around the corner


As the CEO of BASF’s second largest integrated production plat-

Q. What do you see in the future for the manufacturing industry

form in the world, Wouter De Geest and his colleagues bring the as-

in Europe?

sets on the Antwerp site to their fullest potential. At BASF, everyone

As always there are challenges for our manufacturing industry: com-

is expected to contribute, either directly in operations or indirectly

petitiveness issues concerning labour & energy costs, regulatory

through e.g. HR. Developing new concepts and improving overall

requirements, etcetera. Yet these are not new: historically we have

effectiveness and efficiency in maintenance is a key focus of their ef-

always seen these, but we still managed to thrive as an industry.

forts. Wouter De Geest talks about taking risks, seizing opportunities

We should pay attention to these issues and aim to increase com-

and innovation as a key factor in the manufacturing business.

petitiveness where feasible, however I see one more important challenge. The key is to not become too cautious in Europe: sometimes

Q. How do you think the role of manufacturing industry in

we seem to be afraid of anything new – be it GMOs, shale gas, or

Europe has changed over the last decade?

whatever lies around the next corner. We should be open to new op-

For some time, certain countries believed that industry was outdat-

portunities, and able to handle well calculated risks as we did before.

ed, and they had to focus fully on developing the service sector. In

Otherwise we will ignore important innovations and cripple our own

recent years this has turned around: whether it is the European gov-


ernment, countries or regions, everyone is developing new industrial policies, recognising the importance of the manufacturing industry

Q. What are the factors that will allow manufacturing to stay

for the economy and society at large. The important thing is that we,

competitive when labour costs increase?

as industrial leaders continue on realising the transformation towards

The key factor for our competitiveness is innovation: banking on

more sustainable, innovative and society oriented industry.

continuous improvements in areas as energy efficiency, overall pro-

ductivity, as well as on more disruptive innovations as new products,

also measure our performance in this area through a dedicated set

solutions & entire businesses models. Both are equally important for

of KPIs, both on site and at plant level. For some products (e.g. hy-

a company. Yet for a production environment, I believe continuous

giene sector) we also interact intensely with our clients to guarantee

improvement should always be in the focus. Which tools you use

very high and stable product quality.

matter less than actually installing a culture of continuous improvement throughout the organisation.

Q. Is your maintenance team an internal team or is the activity

Secondly, it would of course help if the regulatory framework would


be stable and conscious of the specific needs of the manufacturing

At BASF Antwerp, we have a strong internal maintenance team, as

community, especially for energy-intensive and globally competing

we think it is key to have this core competency for our operations in-


house. At the same time we do of course add capacity and expertise by outsourcing tasks to a certain degree, but you do need a certain

Q. Having a reliable production line is essential for quality as-

critical mass internally to be able to execute, assess and steer main-

surance, could you describe an example of where this proved

tenance activities efficiently.

to be critical for business continuity? As a commodity chemical site, reliability is the core of our success.

Q. In the maintenance industry, it is possible to consider two

On top of that, our integrated Verbund structure also makes that

models, the Fail and Fix approach, and the Predict and Prevent

we are dependent on our own plants within different value chains,

approach. How do you think the tendency to choose either of

making business continuity a part of everyday business. In recent

these was affected by the economic situation?

years we invested strongly in our asset management competencies,

We are convinced that in both economically good or bad times, the

enabling long-term asset strategies to ensure required reliability. We

maintenance strategy chosen should be based on truly good risk

‘The maintenance engineer himself is becoming a strategic asset to the company.’ Wouter De Geest CEO of BASF Antwerpen



management. When margins are under pressure, there is indeed a

a standard, but as a strategic and operational necessity. Concerning

tendency towards the ‘run to failure’ strategy. However, we continu-

certification, we only plan to do this when we see value in it towards

ously try to rationalise this reflex by actively questioning our risk matrix

our customers.

and optimising the according maintenance strategy on an equipment level. This approach is in accordance with the idea that our main-

Q. Finally, what would be your advice to young people who are

tenance strategy should be directly derived from the asset strategy

now considering their future career and are looking as mainte-

which is developed in close cooperation with the business. The asset

nance as an option?

strategy has a truly long-term perspective in it and offers the frame-

Maintenance is getting ever more attention within the chemical in-

work to diversify between more and less critical equipment. In this

dustry, up to board level. This is because it is essential for the overall

way both maintenance approaches will always be applied at the same

strategy in an asset-driven business as ours. A career in mainte-

time within one plant.

nance allows to develop and apply technical and methodological expertise, as well as personal and social skills. The latter are needed

Q. With ISO 55000 there are now standards for Asset Manage-

more and more given the competitive environment we currently ex-

ment. Is BASF going to adopt them?

perience, which requires the maintenance engineer to sell and de-

We are fully aware of this standard, and the asset management prac-

fend his plans and budgets up to the highest level. This means the

tices we developed and apply would allow for certification of our ac-

maintenance engineer is becoming a strategic asset to the company

tivities. However we do not invest in asset management because of



BEMAS 25th anniversary

Koenraad De Backere No innovation without manufacturing


The economic crisis of the last few years has

Q. We have seen many changes in indus-

shows that production and innovation are

made it painfully clear that an economy can-

trial activity and manufacturing in Europe

quite intimately linked. This means that if you

not thrive on the service industry alone. Af-

in recent years. What are your thoughts

don't have manufacturing activity, then your

ter decades of outsourcing and offshoring,

on what has been happening?

innovation activity will suffer. It is also clear

European governments agree that it is high

There have been many changes, and I hope

that services are much less productive than

time for a reversal of these phenomena: re-

to soon start to see change for the better.

manufacturing, so if you really want to inno-

industrialisation, industrial renaissance and

Some economists are saying that we are

vate on the productivity side, for instance,

reshoring are the terms used to describe the

moving away from a production economy

you need to have a manufacturing capability

ambitious goals in their policy papers.

and that we should become a service econ-

and a manufacturing industry.

What measures need to be taken to ensure

omy because that is the future. They say

It has been “le bon mot” in many Europe-

a healthy European manufacturing base that

manufacturing is not the primary activity of

an countries to look upon this evolution as

can compete on a global basis? We asked

industry anymore, and when we talk busi-

something inevitable and that industry would

this and other questions to Koenraad De-

ness we talk service; we don't talk products

leave. Luckily, I see that the academic world

backere, Professor in Technology and In-

and we don’t talk production.

really emphasizes the intimate links between

novation Management & General Manager

I have always been pretty amazed by this

production and innovation – in particular the

at KU Leuven, lecturer at various European

type of statement, not just because of my

PIE (Production in the Innovation Economy)

business schools and adviser for govern-

common sense but also because all the

report from MIT, which also contains a very

ments and multinationals.

research I did on innovation management

strong message to the US economy that

industrialisation is an extremely important topic. I think there is al-

These are manufacturing revolutions. You will see a lot of innova-

most a one-to-one transfer of this message to Europe, because we

tions both on the product and equipment side that will revolutionise

also need reindustrialisation. There is obviously a good reason why

the way we think of supply chains and the way we think of proximity.

the European Commission, in its Strategic Innovation Agenda, put

Today, mass production is not yet possible in additive manufactur-

value-added manufacturing as one of the top priorities for the Hori-

ing. But this will happen in the next five to ten years and there is

zon 2020 program.

definitely a market for this type of application. This will revolutionise

The fact remains, however, that if we want to have a thriving manu-

the way we think of transport and transport economics. I think there

facturing sector in Europe, we also need to take care of the other

are nice things happening, and we should capitalise on it as a new

factors that support the industry. This means labor costs, energy

industry base. Consequently, the assets you need in manufacturing

costs, and all those cost components which make or break your

and production will have to be considered as part of that revolution.

competitiveness as a company and as an industry on a global basis. I do think the reindustrialisation in the US is helped tremendously by the shale gas and shale oil boom, where you now have lots of

How Europe can compete

cheap energy available. As a consequence, industry is starting to move back to the States. So instead of offshoring or outsourcing,

Q. Do you think the capability to make the change is starting to

we talk about reshoring, industry coming back into the country. Eu-

exist in Europe?

rope of course doesn’t have the same energy drive yet, but we need

Just to give you a few examples, in Flanders we are close to starting a

to think about our competitiveness and should maintain a healthy

strategic research center with the industry on manufacturing issues,

manufacturing base.

advanced manufacturing mechatronics, additive manufacturing, pre-

Of course the nature of that base will change; in fact it is changing all

cision manufacturing, human-centered manufacturing systems, etc.

the time. We see changes, for example, in advanced manufacturing,

If you go to Germany and look at the role of, for example, Fraun-

precision manufacturing, additive manufacturing and 3D printing.

hofer in Aachen, it is tremendously important. We are closely linked


from Leuven to Eindhoven. We have the

a steel producer, car producer etc.; every-

in a much more specialised and focused

ELAt triangle, Eindhoven-Leuven-Aachen.

thing was integrated. Then, during the time

way,” which was to some extent true. So

The whole Eindhoven region – the Brainport

of outsourcing, this vertical integration was

what happens is you stop your center for

Region – is a leading world center in terms

torn to pieces – I call it de-verticalisation –

fabrication technology, you offshore your

of precision engineering. This is not just due

where the integrated companies cease to be

mass production activities, and there is then

to Philips, but also ASML, a world leader in


a disconnect between equipment develop-

semiconductor production equipment R&D

Philips was a good example of the verti-

ment and production. You move to Asia with

and production. You have a whole produc-

cally integrated company. They had an im-

your large-scale production facilities, and

tion ecosystem that is developing and that

portant internal center called the Center

because you need localness, equipment de-

really comes very close to what the re-

for Fabrication Technology. This developed

velopment starts over there. So, not only do

searchers in the PIE report describe.

the manufacturing equipment and process

we have de-verticalisation, but we also see

They say that in the ’ 50s and ’60s you had

equipment, etc. Of course, with the de-ver-

that part of the supply chain for components

the big companies, which were typically ver-

ticalisation, people asked, “Why should we

and equipment has disappeared too.

tically integrated – so, for example, Ford was

do this? There are suppliers who can do it

If you want to have a thriving manufacturing


‘If you really want to innovate on the productivity side you need to have a manufacturing capability and a manufacturing industry.’ Koenraad De Backere Executive Director - KU Leuven Research & Development

industry, you must not only focus on the asset base of your produc-

lots of software, lots of communication technologies. It is now all inte-

tion system, but also on the competencies and the assets you need

grated – electronics, mechanics, mechatronics; we see an evolution

to be able to come up with this production system: equipment, parts,

towards all kinds of photonics in the manufacturing industry, so you

subparts, modules, etc. The PIE report notes that if you lose these

see a whole set of new technologies coming into those innovation

competencies, you are not just losing your production capability, but

and production activities. That's also the reason why the EU has, as

also the capability to develop new production capability and new

part of the strategic innovation agenda, referred to the “key enabling

products alike.

technologies.” This includes photonics and manufacturing. This is a

So, what we have to look for in Europe and the US is how we can

skill base we need to develop.

reconstruct this de-verticalised chain. One of the ways to do this is

We also need the soft skills: people need to understand how you

through clustering. By establishing strategic research platforms, you

work in a cluster, rather than a vertically integrated company.

try to encourage equipment developers to come here, stay here, and thrive here. They are not vertically integrated, but they are suppliers

Q. Do you think that the tendency of young people to be more

to other companies, so you create a kind of interaction – with the

mobile will be beneficial?

best points of both systems. That's why, when you look at your pro-

I think that the best way to transfer knowledge and technology is

duction asset base, it's not just the production systems, but you also

through the movement of people. There is a lot of evidence that

need to look at all of the suppliers to those systems, and you need

shows that this mobility is advantageous in the innovation system.

geographical proximity. For the best level of interaction, companies

So, this means the younger generation being more mobile can be a

need to be 30-50 km from each other. That's what you now see in

healthy evolution, as long as there is a continuous flow, and as long

this region, in this country.

as people continue to be willing to move, and as long as it’s more than just job hopping. You still need a couple of years in a job to be

Q. Will this require a new set of skills on the workforce?

really productive and innovative on the job. If you hop from job to job

Yes, people need to be trained; technical training will be required, to

every two or three years, then you will not have the same beneficial

enable them to understand the new technical environment. The new

effect as people who stay five, six or seven years and then move on.

manufacturing environment, for example, is not just machines; it is

That’s the better way for them too, as it increases their value.


Q. Do you think models like lean manufacturing will continue to be relevant? Of course; it has been around for some time and is showing us the way to be more efficient in the way we operate. We have efficient production systems today, and will still need them tomorrow. Lean thinking will never disappear; it will be there and we need it. But of course new advanced manufacturing technologies can throw an-


‘Additive manufacturing will happen in the next 5 or 10 years and it will revolutionise the way we think of transport and transport economics.’ Koenraad De Backere

other perspective on how you work in a lean environment.

A changing role for maintenance Q. We will then have a set of more complex machines and tools, and possibly a major initial investment with great flexibility. So, how will this change the maintenance environment? Will it be outsourced to some highly specialised group, or will it be kept inside to ensure innovation in production. I think it will be a mix of both. You have to do some of it in-house as it allows you to be efficient and innovative. But some may be so complex and specialised that it needs special firms to do it. This means the whole concept of maintenance will be much more holistic. It will not just be about keeping the machine up and running, but also the whole software environment of the machine. It means physical maintenance, but also the maintenance of the software versions. It also means making sure the next generation versions are still fully backward-compatible with the machine. So the maintenance environment becomes more technology-driven than it was in the past and you need, for example, ICT people in your maintenance teams, even in a production environment.

‘We have moved dramatically from fail and fix to predict and prevent. I think the amount of data available and the detail of that data will allow us to move even further in that direction.’ Koenraad De Backere

Q. Do you see this as a competency area for Europe?

Q. Is this becoming a new science?

I don't know if Europe will be able to differentiate itself, because you

Yes. There are people already starting to work in this area at engi-

have to differentiate on the basis of your manufacturing competen-

neering schools. They look at the cost benefits, but the next step will

cies. But to sustain the differentiation you need a good maintenance

be coming up with hybrid maintenance concepts.

competence. Without this, Europe will not be able to differentiate itself. Q. Will there be a change in the way asset performance will be Q. You said maintenance is changing, what about the balance

measure in the future?

between Fail & Fix vs Predict & Prevent?

I am convinced that the digital revolution, the availability of cheap

We have moved dramatically from fail and fix (F&F) to predict and pre-

sensors, ubiquitous sensors, means that performance insights and

vent (P&P). I think the amount of data available and the detail of that

performance drivers will only increase. We can measure at more

data will allow us to move even further in that direction.

points than in the past and then add data-mining capability; the re-

Also, P&P may allow us to use F&F in a more intelligent manner. In the

sult is that more and more will be possible.

past, we waited until it failed and then fixed it, but in the world of P&P for some parts we may opt to just fix it when it breaks, but do it in a much

Q. So who will oversee all this?

more proactive manner - knowing exactly when it will break. Conceptually,

We need good engineers. More and more engineering schools are

I can imagine that when you are good at P&P, you will not replace a part

starting to refocus on engineering systems, because you need to

when it is 90 percent worn out, but be ready and waiting when it breaks.

look at the system – the machine, the control environment, etc. You need supply-chain integration. It’s systems engineering with the need to have a holistic approach.


The Power of Knowledge Engineering Delivering profit through reliability


• Asset Management • Global Maintenance Benchmarking • Maintenance Strategy Review (RCM) • Engineering Consultancy • Condition Based Maintenance • Spare Parts Optimization • Lubrication Management


Wim De Clercq The future of energy generation in a changing landscape It’s an understatement to say that the energy landscape has been

Q. What is happening with the energy market in Europe?

changing in recent years. The liberalisation of the European electric-

"It has changed very much recently. This started in the electricity

ity and gas market in 2004 coincided with the (subsidised) dawn

business about ten years ago with the liberalisation, which intro-

of the renewables such as wind, solar and biomass. Fueled by the

duced a completely different business-model in the energy market.

Kyoto Protocol and the Europe 2020, targets national governments

In the recent years, the massive introduction of renewables made

created legislation to push energy efficiency and adoption of renew-

that the energy generation landscape has changed again."

able energy. Following the nuclear disaster in Fukushima in 2011, Germany has

Q. So, what are the factors that most affect the use of the dif-

permanently shut down eight of its reactors and pledged to close

ferent energy sources?

the rest by 2022. The incident highlights the concerns about nuclear

"Europe will focus much more on renewables. Solar panels on roofs,

power and underwrites the current phase-out of nuclear power gen-

onshore wind, but also huge offshore wind farms in countries with

eration in countries as Sweden, Italy and Belgium. Add to this the re-

extensive coasts, like UK, Denmark and Germany. Together with

cent rise of shale gas production in the United States, and the result

new developments in storage capacities, the landscape of electricity

is a huge gap in the energy prices between both sides of the Atlantic.

generation will change completely.

What will the future of energy look like in Europe? How do energy

In a recent past, nuclear generation and fossil-fired power plants

producers anticipate in this fast changing landscape? In what way

provided grid base load but nowadays, when weather conditions

will maintenance & asset management help to cope with the chal-

are favourable, sun and wind become the primary energy sources.

lenges ahead? As Executive Vice President Generation and Pur-

This means that for Belgium at some days in summer or during holi-

chasing for Belgium and Luxembourg at Electrabel – GDF SUEZ,

days, when electricity off-take is low, a surplus in electricity genera-

Wim De Clercq is a well placed specialist and the ideal person to

tion compared to the demand occurs and this due to the combined

shed some light on these questions.

renewable and nuclear generation. During that period, no gas or coal



‘With the renewables, the whole energy landscape has changed’ Wim De Clercq Manager Generation and Procurement BeLux - Electrabel (GDF Suez)

fired plants are necessary to cover the electricity demand! On the other hand, during wintertime, when it’s cold and the electricity consumption is much higher, our gas plants are running and are even essential for answering the demand. For our country, studies are showing that due to the closure of a large amount of electricity gen-

‘Some years ago, a gas powered station would easily run 5000 hours a year. Today operating hours may get down to 500 or 600, as a result, the plant is not viable and is closed down.’ Wim De Clercq

eration capacity, there is an increased risk of generation shortages. But, increased risk does not mean that it will really happen. Since 2008, energy prices on the market are going down. The reasons? The rise of renewable with a strong subsidies-mechanism and very low variable costs, the declining consumption in our countries because of the economic downturn and the fact that in the last two years in our neighbouring countries, lots of new capacity has been commissioned. All these factors together give that the European electricity business is in crisis. This results in a difficult situation for the existing, older gas power stations, not only in our country but in whole Western Europe. They are less efficient than new ones, and because of the overcapacity on installed generation, they are the first to be shutdown. This is what happens on the Western European market : all utilities already announced the closure of some of their gas power stations for financial reasons. Why operators are building new ones ? These new gas stations that are commissioned in the last few years, were ordered about 5 years ago. That’s the time you need for permitting, designing and constructing these assets. But in the meanwhile the economic crisis stopped the increase of electricity consumption, and wind and solar boosted ... All this results in an overcapacity, and to keep the company profitable in this changed settings, one needs then to shut down the plant with the highest cost ...


Q. Is there no future for these elder stations ?

will be running prior to the older ones. And

Today, the approach is a little bit different for

For some of them, there is ! You can inte-

that is why all operators are shutting down

some units. We are looking very closely to

grate these older units in your global asset

their older gas plants.

the maintenance costs, and we are striving

portfolio as a peaking power plant. That


to have the most cost-efficient maintenance

means that an operator keeps in his genera-

Q. Do these old stations still need to be

plan. A maintenance intervention can be

tion fleet some units that can be on the grid

kept in working order?

scheduled in a different way, without overtime

very quickly, with a short start-up time, and

"Yes, as a peaking power unit ! And, with the

or weekend work, or replacing an equipment

an important start-up rate. They can be at

new regulation the government recently put

can be avoided by repairing it, or ‌ . It de-

full power within some minutes ! Interesting

in place, to remunerate the stand-by capac-

pends on the situation : is the plant absolutely

when there is a drop in wind, or a sudden

ity, there can be a new future for our existing

necessary for the grid, or can it be replaced

shutdown in a nuclear power plant.

gas stations as back-up capacity to support

by another unit ?

the electricity grid in case of high demand

The availability of a plant is important, but

Q. Were the new stations brought online

and to avoid a total or a partial electricity

the reliability is perhaps of more importance

because the old ones were redundant or

blackout of the country.

: if you declare your unit available, it should


be reliable !

The existing gas stations were commis-

That’s a global fleet approach : availability and

sioned at the end of the ’90ties, beginning of this century. They have a lower efficiency

The future of maintenance in power generation

than the more recent combined cycle power

reliability are key, but always in regard to the operational costs. And let us be clear : safety is a key driver; we will never take a safety risk

plants. In the previous years, they ran easily

Q. All these changes must have a signifi-

by reducing the maintenance costs.

over 5000 hours a year. But, with the rise

cant implication on the way to manage

The newer gas plants need less mainte-

of renewable energy, and lower energy con-

and maintain plants ?

nance; a more global fleet approach is ab-

sumption, they are running less.

Yes and no. For our fossil fired plants, it did.

solutely necessary.

Taking into account the current gas prices,

For our nuclear fleet, it did not.

And for our nuclear fleet, the message is

their low efficiency and the fixed costs like

For our fossil-fired units, in the previous

clear. We continuously improve our main-

taxes and contributions, these gas plants

years, the objective was to have the highest

tenance plans and our maintenance pro-

are not longer viable. You can easily un-

availability at all the time, and to maintain the

cedures to have the best availability of our

derstand that the newer gas power plants,

plant in that perspective : strong preventive

units. With one priority driver : nuclear safe-

with a higher efficiency (that means that they

and predictive maintenance plans, and im-

ty. All our decisions are taken in regard to

have a higher electricity output for less gas)

mediate corrective maintenance.

the highest level of nuclear safety.

‘I genuinely believe that a good maintenance technician with a good set of skills from a nuclear power station should easily be employable in another industry.’ Wim De Clercq

Q. What about maintenance for renewables?

Q. Why is it you can do that?

plans and procedures. They should be fol-

These new installations need another ap-

Simply, the approach changed because the

lowed very strictly. When we talk about “Inno-

proach. Wind farms do have maintenance

reality changed. Where people used to see

vation in maintenance”, and more specific “in-

routines fixed by the manufacturer and they

a plant was running for 7000 hours per year,

novation in maintenance of a nuclear power

need to be followed.

now it may be running for 2000 per year. You

plant”, innovation takes another dimension !

We are not performing the preventive main-

have more data, forecasts for when you need

What we expect of our maintenance techni-

tenance programs by our own maintenance

to be available, and information on what the

cians, is maintenance regarding all aspects

teams. But we have strong knowledge in per-

financial impact is if you are not available. So

of nuclear safety. Can you be innovative in

mitting, building, operating and maintaining

because the market model is different you can

nuclear safety ? Yes, but let us call it “Innova-

the wind farms. In maintenance, our teams

see precisely when it is viable to switch on.

tion through Operational Excellence” !

are strongly challenging the manufacturers.

We have high expectations about the way a

When there is an incident, we have techni-

maintenance job, or a test should be realised.

cians in our teams with high skills in problem-

Training and innovation

solving. And that is certainly an important

A detailed prejob-briefing before starting the work, with an analysis of the technical and

competitive advantage on the whole market !

Q. How important do you think innovation

safety risks and scenarios “in case of …”,

Our strong competencies are not limited to

is at the generation site ?

executing the job using a detailed procedure

the maintenance area of the renewables. We

Let us talk here about innovation in mainte-

with hold-points, witness-points and data-

have in our teams strong competencies in

nance at the nuclear units. For all our equip-

sheet, a preparation of tooling and measur-

the whole value chain.

ments, we have very detailed maintenance

ing equipment with individual data-sheet and


traceability. While executing the job, a strong questioning attitude is a sign of nuclear safety, and in the post-job briefing, if technicians see some room for improvement, they should take it into account and bring the idea up. These attitudes are signs of a strong nuclear safety culture. And that is our first driver in operating and maintaining our nuclear plants.

but not in nuclear. This demands an important training program on the nuclear specific aspects of the job !

Q. Training and development are essential for companies that


are going to succeed over the long term. Are there specific is-

Q. Is your maintenance team an internal team or is the activity

sues you have faced with finding qualified team members for


maintenance teams or do you depend on internal training and

We have in our company a clear policy about outsourcing of main-

development programmes to guarantee the skills are available?

tenance activities. Our key maintenance activities are kept in-house.

We have a strong internal training program. Definitely in nuclear,

We want at any time be able to challenge the manufacturer or the

where very specific training sessions are organised for new hired

maintenance company. That means that the key competencies and

engineers and technicians.

the knowledge are absolutely to be kept in our teams.

The previous years, we hired some hundreds of new technicians in

To give you an idea of it, lots of non-core business related jobs are

our nuclear facilities. In Doel and Tihange, looking over the last 10

outsourced, like scaffolding or painting.

years, new hires make up 50% of the staff.

During outages, recurrent maintenance activities based on very de-

It is not so easy to recruit well-trained technical people. That is why

tailed procedures are outsourced to external companies. Modifica-

we put a special effort on in-house training. After their initial training

tions in the installations or new-build activities are outsourced too,

program, our technicians are integrated in a team, assigned a coach

but always under the supervision of our technicians and in close

-a kind of mentor-, and they work together for an on-the-job training.

collaboration with our engineering office Tractebel Engineering.

Today, we are facing a huge internal mobility of technicians from one

The latter engineering company has hundreds of people expert in

plant to another. As we are shutting down fossil-fired power stations,

all areas of electricity generation, from fossil-fired plants to nuclear

the technicians move to other plants, and many of them move to a

units. Specific competencies we do not have in-house, are covered

nuclear power station. That means that they have already well-devel-

by Tractebel Engineering with whom we have a partnership. Togeth-

oped skills in maintenance or in operating an electricity power plant,

er with them, we always keep the oversight and technical competence in-house. When there is a specific job we can’t do it ourselves, due to the need for specific tools, special procedures or qualifications, we still aim to keep the knowledge in-house and to technically challenge the contractor.

An example of this approach is the hiring of companies specialised in nuclear reactor maintenance, inspections and works. These companies are often the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM), and these specific jobs are their core business. Outsourcing some activities gives us more flexibility. Do not forget that in nuclear, the workload is not stable and depends if a unit is running or in outage. Every 12 months for some units, or 18 months for other ones, there is an outage of 4 to 5 weeks for standard main-

competencies of our teams. Maintenance and operations work very

tenance and refuelling, with a huge increase of activities. Lots of

closely together. In day-to-day business, nor the site manager, nor

work is then outsourced ! You can easily have some thousands of

the entity-manager nor me intervenes with the teams. Of course,

external contractors coming in. This is a combination of experts and

when there are key issues, I am informed. Also on major technical

general maintenance technicians.

events. Yes, there is still a technical part in my job ! My technical background helps me a lot to understand the event, to

Q. How closely are you able to follow the maintenance activity

challenge the teams with some adequate questions, and to under-

across your plants? What types of tools allow you to do this now?

stand the difficulties the teams are facing in solving the issue.

Personally, I have a daily overview of the operation of all the units of

Keeping in touch with the people in the field is also an important

our fleet. Our teams are performing a great job, and I fully trust the

part of my job. I insist to visit on a regular basis the different plants of our fleet, to keep in touch with the managers and the technicians. It takes some kilometres, but it is really worthwhile ! To guarantee a close oversight of what is happening in the power stations, we implemented a formal technical briefing between the management of each entity and Corporate management. Four times a year, each management team is presenting the performances of their unit, the challenges they are facing, the technical and safety events of the previous months, the financial and organisational overview, with in depth discussions between the colleagues. Very interesting meetings for me !


Managing valuable assets

From a technical point of view, we imple-

way so that that they can take up new chal-

mented three levels of indicators : global in-

lenges when needed.

Q. You are responsible for a huge amount

dicators on corporate level, identical for all

This is really an issue for our business ! We

of assets. Do you use a specific metric for

units, indicators on the level of an entity (a

face here in Belgium the limited future for nu-

measuring asset performance?

power plant) and last but not least, indicators

clear energy. Government decided to shut

Of course the value of the assets we operate

at a departmental level.

down all nuclear power stations by 2025.

is huge. Different key indicators are used to

Does this mean the people who are special-

have a good overview of the performances

Q. If you were talking to someone who is

ised in maintenance of a nuclear power sta-

of our plants.

graduating now, what would you say re-

tion should be out of work within 12 years ?

The availability of our stations, the reliabil-

garding maintenance, asset management

No, they will move on to a new career by 2025,

ity of our safety equipments in the nuclear

as a career?

that’s right. However, I genuinely believe that a

plants, the outage duration, the number of

There is a clear future for good maintenance

good maintenance technician with a good set

open work orders, the number of reworks

technicians ! Whatever the industry they

of skills and abilities from a nuclear power sta-

within the maintenance department, these

work in, maintenance skills and competen-

tion should easily be employable in another

are some examples of technical indicators

cies are very valuable on the market. From

industry. This thanks to their strong technical

we follow. And there are much more indi-

this perspective, employability is important.

competence, ability to work with procedures,

cators that gives us an overview on what is

Business and technologies are changing fast

a questioning attitude and a strong culture

happening at the stations. Safety indicators

and machines they work on today may dis-

towards safety. These are competencies that

are very closely followed too, and of course,

appear. So, I would advise them to develop

are easily translated to other industries like

the financial indicators.

their knowledge, skills and abilities in a broad

pharmaceutical or food or automotive.

Long term energy outlook by the International Energy Agency

Technology and high prices are opening up

in Southeast Asia take the lead in driving

“Major changes are emerging in the ener-

new oil resources, but this does not mean

consumption higher. The Middle East also

gy world in response to shifts in economic

the world is on the verge of an era of oil

moves to centre stage as an energy con-

growth, efforts at decarbonisation and tech-

abundance, according to the International

sumer, becoming the world’s second-largest

nological breakthroughs,” says IEA Execu-

Energy Agency’s (IEA) 2013 edition of the

gas consumer by 2020 and third-largest

tive Director Maria van der Hoeven. “We have

World Energy Outlook (WEO-2013). Al-

oil consumer by 2030, redefining its role in

the tools to deal with such profound market

though rising oil output from North America

global energy markets. Brazil maintains one

change. Those that anticipate global energy

and Brazil reduces the role of OPEC coun-

of the least carbon-intensive energy sectors

developments successfully can derive an

tries in quenching the world’s thirst for oil

in the world, despite experiencing an 80%

advantage, while those that do not risk tak-

over the next decade, the Middle East – the

increase in energy use to 2035 and moving

ing poor policy and investment decisions.”

only large source of low-cost oil – takes back

into the top ranks of global oil producers.

its role as a key source of oil supply growth

Energy demand in OECD countries barely

The availability and affordability of energy is a

from the mid-2020s.

rises and by 2035 is less than half that of

critical element of economic well-being and,

non-OECD countries. Low-carbon energy

in many countries, also of industrial com-

The 2013 annual report presents a central

sources meet around 40% of the growth

petitiveness. Natural gas in the United States

scenario in which global energy demand

in global energy demand. In some regions,

currently trades at one-third of import prices

rises by one-third in the period to 2035. The

rapid expansion of wind and solar PV raises

to Europe and one-fifth of those to Japan.

shift in global energy demand to Asia gath-

fundamental questions about the design of

Average Japanese or European industrial

ers speed, but China moves towards a back

power markets and their ability to ensure ad-

consumers pay more than twice as much for

seat in the 2020s as India and countries

equate investment and long-term reliability.

electricity as their counterparts in the United


States, and even China’s industry pays almost double the US level. In

Action to reduce the impact of high energy prices does not mean

WEO-2013, large variations in energy prices persist through to 2035,

diminishing efforts to address climate change. Energy-related car-

affecting company strategies and investment decisions in energy-

bon-dioxide emissions are projected to rise by 20% to 2035, leaving

intensive industries. The United States sees its share of global ex-

the world on track for a long-term average temperature increase of

ports of energy-intensive goods slightly increase to 2035, providing

3.6 °C, far above the internationally-agreed 2 °C climate target. The

the clearest indication of the link between relatively low energy prices

report emphasises the importance of carefully designed subsidies to

and the industrial outlook. By contrast, the European Union and Ja-

renewables, which totalled $101 billion in 2012 and expand to $220

pan see their share of global exports decline – a combined loss of

billion in 2035 to support the anticipated level of deployment.

around one-third of their current share. An in-depth focus on oil in WEO-2013 looks at how technology is


“Lower energy prices in the United States mean that it is well-placed

opening up new types of resources, such as light tight oil and ultra-

to reap an economic advantage, while higher costs for energy-inten-

deepwater fields, that were until recently considered too difficult or

sive industries in Europe and Japan are set to be a heavy burden,”

expensive to access. Despite new resources being unlocked, na-

says Fatih Birol, IEA Chief Economist.

tional oil companies and their host governments still control 80% of the world’s proven-plus-probable oil reserves. The pace of oil de-

Among the options open to policy makers to mitigate the impact of

mand growth slows steadily, from an average of 1 mb/d per year to

high energy prices, WEO‑2013 highlights the importance of energy

2020 to just 400 kb/d thereafter, as high prices encourage efficiency

efficiency: two-thirds of the economic potential for energy efficiency

and fuel switching, and the decline in OECD oil use accelerates. The

is set to remain untapped in 2035 unless market barriers can be

shift in the balance of oil consumption towards Asia and the Middle

overcome. One such barrier is the pervasive nature of fossil-fuel

East is accompanied by a continued build-up of refining capacity in

subsidies, which incentivise wasteful consumption at a cost of $544

these regions. However, in many OECD countries, declining demand

billion in 2012. Accelerated movement towards a global gas market

intensifies pressure on the refining industry: in the period to 2035,

could also reduce price differentials between regions. Gas market

nearly 10 mb/d of global refinery capacity is at risk of low utilisation

and pricing reforms in the Asia-Pacific region and LNG exports from

rates or closure, with Europe particularly vulnerable.

North America can spur a loosening of the current contractual rigidity of internationally traded gas and its indexation to high oil prices.

Source: IEA press release on World Energy Outlook © OECD/IEA - 12/11/2013


Markus Berger Operational excellence in a high-voltage world


Markus Berger has served as Member of the Management Com-

ous century we see the electrification really started in the late 40s,

mittee and Chief Officer Asset Management of Elia System Operator

beginning of the 50s. This happened because you had industrial

SA since November 15, 2010. He earned his degree in Civil Electro-

growth in car manufacturing, petrochemicals and pharmaceuticals

mechanical Engineering from the UniversitĂŠ Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)

across Europe. They really needed a lot of energy, so this became

and in 2002 he earned executive Master's degree in Management

the first driver for the development of the systems.

and Business Administration from the Ecole de Commerce E. Solvay

Now, 60 years later, from a European perspective we face two big

(Solvay Business School). He began his career in 1988 with Labore-

challenges. Firstly to renew our assets which on average are 50-60

lec as System Engineer and in 1996 was appointed Project Engineer

years old. Fortunately, this is not the case for industry as they have

at Electrabel. He joined the organisation that was put in place in 1999

renewed their installations more frequently due to the need to follow

to prepare the creation of Elia (June 2001) and from 2001 to 2002 was

the technical evolution and to stay competitive

in charge of the Maintenance Services for the Southern part of the

Secondly, with the evolution that Europe wants toward renewables,

country. From 2002 to 2003 he was Head of the Sales Department.

you have to follow the pace at which the European Commission

From 2004 to end October 2008 he was Chief Officer Grid Services.

wants to implement this new way of living. It becomes a challenge to

As from November 2008 he heads Elia Engineering. He also sits on

guarantee security of supply and at the same time a challenge for the

the Investment Committee and the Board of Eurogrid International,

industry to be cost effective.

the holding company created by Elia and Industry Fund Management

I am also involved in the consulting business in the company, and we

for their joint acquisition of 50Hertz. He explains us how operational

now find that other countries are facing the same issues that we have

excellence makes sure the light doesn’t go out in Belgium.

faced during the last 10 years. For example, in the Middle East, they are also going to face potential shortfalls of primary energy resource

Q. From your perspective what have been the biggest changes

by 2030. This means they will need to change their portfolio of energy

in your field in the last 10 years?

to include for example solar. They are looking to what we did here in

I have two views on that, one with European glasses, one with inter-

Europe and want to ensure they don't make the same mistakes. They

national glasses. In a certain way, when you look back to the previ-

want to draw out the positive things that we did and avoid any pitfalls.

‘Our children will have to live with the consequences of the choices we make today.’ Markus Berger Chief Executive Officer Elia Group International - Elia

Operational excellence at Elia

expansion of the grid. This was fine in 2006

even before we begin to buy equipment. In

and 2007, and the mind-set had moved to one

our business it is an investment in the long

Q. You have to manage hugely expensive

of operational excellence.

term, we are investing for more than 30-40

equipment, what is your basic approach

So, thinking of maintenance and asset man-

years. Our children will have to live with the

to maintaining these assets?

agement, in the beginning we were really

consequences of the choices we make to-

At the beginning of 2000 we were a compa-

only looking at maintenance activities. We

day. That's the reason why we said we have

ny oriented on one side toward maintenance

were aware that we had to do something

to change our mind-set from just mainte-

activities, and on the other side investment

about replacement. Then in 2007/2008 we

nance to looking at the whole process - the

was only provided in relation to the expan-

realised that we had to look at the lifecycle

whole asset management approach. This

sion and evolution of the consumption in the

of our equipment because we had the ad-

included the risk models but also new ways

country. But the two activities were really not

ditional challenge of renewables to deal with.

to carry-out maintenance because the re-

enough synchronised with each other.

So, the financial and human resources that

sources we had were limited. We had to

Then we were confronted with the first new

were required to be able to deal with renewa-

make some choices. This is why we tried to

element, namely aging assets. Due to these

bles were huge, and it meant we needed to

extend the lifecycle of the existing assets to

we had to change our approach. It was not al-

make some choices in the investments that

keep everything in balance.

ways obvious to get people to understand that

we were going to make.

in our investment portfolio we had to change

Consequently, we introduced more risk re-

Q. Are there new tools that have allowed

the main drivers, and that one of the main driv-

lated models, and we evolved from a pure

you to do that efficiently?

ers had to be replacement. We then needed

maintenance approach to a global asset-

Yes, in 2007 we recognised the need for this

to find human and financial resources to com-

based approach. This meant we looked at

and we then internally developed our own

pensate for the need for replacement but also

the whole lifecycle starting with written defini-

approach. This meant we could develop our

be able to make the needed investment for the

tion of the specifications of what we required

own risk model, we did this over about three


years. We looked at new ways to manage Assets, and with the help of our engineers developed a number of models. Other companies in Europe also had similar issues, but the speed of liberalisation was not even which made things far more complicated.

Five pillars, one vision

If we consider the ACC-concept for example, we recognised that we needed closer monitoring of our assets. We also needed to shift


Q. Clearly asset management has a crucial role to play in Elia,

to a forecast based approach, what is often called the Predict and

how is this role defined?

Prevent approach. An Asset Control Center consists of processes

Three years ago, we started to develop our vision for asset manage-

based on experience and data, and leading to conclusions impact-

ment. This vision will support us in the development of a sustain-

ing the maintenance, replacement and exploitation of our assets.

able and liable power system for the community and will offer our

For New Technologies, there are a couple of aspects, one is the fu-

company the opportunity to enter into partnerships to acquire the

ture more towards DC (direct current) technology, and another is the

knowledge of new technologies and working methods on the one

requirement for offshore grids to bring the energy back ashore from

hand and to offer services on the external market on the other hand.

offshore generation platforms.

Our vision is based upon a five pillar approach. The pillars are, Qual-

Then there is the pillar of New Technologies that aims to map and im-

ity, External Orientation, Asset Control Concept, New Technologies

plement the new technologies that will be necessary in the upcom-

and People & Technical Skills.

ing years, we also need to modernise our existing working meth-

With the pillar External Orientation we aim to offer, on a recurrent

ods to upgrade our efficiency, enabling us to take up the challenges

base, technical and operational services to clients regarding the

regarding investments, maintenance and exploitation. Therefore we

management and maintenance of installations, infrastructure pro-

created the pillar People & Technical Skills, which aims to provide

jects and consulting services based on our expertise.

a process covering several concerned departments to sharpen the technical competencies of our employees. Finally one can never forget the importance of Quality throughout his organisation. Quality checks must be part of and integrated in all our processes. In order to upgrade this quality level and to position ourselves as a qualified service provider, Elia aims to acquire the PAS55 certification.

Q. Are your maintenance teams all internal, or do you also have an outsourced component? More or less half of our maintenance activities are outsourced. Here you will find for example painting works to protect the high voltage towers against corrosion, pruning, ... Interventions on high voltage or low voltage equipments for maintenance reasons are done by internal teams.

‘We look globally to identify the best practices and new ideas that we can learn from.’ Markus Berger

Q. What is the role of R&D or innovation in the organisation? What we do is not fundamental R&D, it's a different kind of innovation. Looking across the organisation, we see that operational excellence is the key. We try to also look globally to identify the best practices and new ideas that we can learn from. For example, in the US, this means net balancing, in the EU this is using reserves in the best possible way. In terms of new ideas, I heard recently about the use of large flywheels being proposed in the states, these would allow a new form of load balancing to be implemented. Q. What would you say to a young person who is now considering their future career? Looking to the future, I do see opportunities in the areas of engineering, and I believe they will have a crucial role to play in the future. However, that being said, my daughter chose to move in to the areas of bio-medical sciences, and I think there is a huge potential there too.


Congratulations BEMAS on your 25TH Anniversary

Alain Lycops Manufacturing excellence makes the difference

With almost 150 plants worldwide and a

of the chemical industry, but more focused

the content of our maintenance excellence

turnover of more than 12 billion euro, the

on specialty chemicals and high-value prod-

program. With the rest of the team we imple-

Solvay Group is an important player in the

ucts and not on commodities like Solvay.

ment best practices in the plants where the

chemical industry. Managing and main-

This means it is less sensitive to variations in

business decides to start an improvement.

taining a global asset base creates several

the economy and also less energy depend-

This means we have to travel all the time.

challenges. Alain Lycops is member of the

ent. In order to implement a company-wide

reliability and maintenance team within the

manufacturing excellence program, we have

Q. What impact did the economic crisis

Manufacturing Excellence Group Service.

also created a service group for mainte-

have on the company?

We discover how his work contributes to the

nance and reliability.

The crisis made us realise that it is of cru-

bottom line of the Solvay Group.

Q. How is this service group organised?

cial importance to have excellence in manu-

This new group is active worldwide. Today,

facturing. Luckily, this vision is now broadly

Q. You have been involved in mainte-

the Solvay Group has almost 150 plants

shared on all management levels. We took

nance at Solvay for more than 25 years,

around the world. Most of them are still in

this challenge as an opportunity to imple-

what are the biggest changes you have

Europe, but we have over 30 plants in the

ment a model for sharing best practices be-


US, and a presence in South America and

tween all our plants and use matching man-

Our strategy at Solvay is to try and avoid

Asia-Pacific. A highly specialised team of

agement techniques.

the cycles in the economy and the depend-

seven people is responsible for them at the

We did this not only in operations, but also in

ency on energy. This is why we bought the

corporate level. My boss Dominique Bau-

maintenance. Before this project, it was very

Rhodia Group two years ago, doubling the

duin (WW Reliability and Maintenance Man-

difficult for us to demonstrate that mainte-

overall size of the company. It is also part

ager) and I define the group strategy and

nance is not a (fixed) cost, but a real provider



of added value. We also encountered difficulties in convincing our colleagues of the business side of this view. It helps that good maintenance also has a great impact on safety. In fact, safety is a key topic for us, since most of our plants fall under the Seveso Directive. If you are producing potentially dangerous chemicals, you always need to keep this top of mind. Q. Why did the board start recognising the importance of in-

Q. How do you organise the implementation of best practices?

vesting in maintenance?

It's really a discussion with the plant manager based on the goals of

It is our CEO that began sharing his vision of manufacturing excel-

the business. Our organisation consists of business units, which lead

lence, which is recognised today as a big contributor to our profit-

and decide using roadmaps. We provide support and services to the

ability. Maintenance is seen as an integral part of this strategy, and

business units, but they decide what they want to do. In some cases

there are great expectations at the company level for the benefits of

they will ask us to focus on fixed costs, in other plants they may ask

maintenance excellence.

us to focus on the machines availability optimisation to maximise their throughput, because every tonne they produce is immediately sold.

Q. How do you monitor the activity of 150 different plants?

We help identifying what we call the "hidden factory" to minimise ad-

We use a group level corporate dashboard with 15 mandatory main-

ditional capital expenditure. So before implementing a new reactor

tenance performance indicators. Every plant has the same defini-

in a plant they ask us to first extract the maximum capacity from the

tions and uses the same KPI’s. This is filled out once a year giving

existing one.

us the complete overview. Naturally, individual plants will use other KPI’s if they do specific changes, but the group level information is

Q. Maintenance is moving away from the fail and fix approach

used right up to the board level.

in favor of prevention and prediction. Do you follow this trend

Besides this we do a summary forecast of the evolution of the indica-

at Solvay?

tors and provide best practices and targets. Every three years we com-

We developed a specific maintenance excellence model called SOL-

plete a global assessment of the maintenance function in each plant

MAX (Solvay Maintenance Excellence). In it, we start with the ef-

where we look at all of the maintenance and management systems.

fectiveness of the maintenance strategy (doing the right thing), and

The idea is to identify improvement possibilities for each individual

then adapt it based on the criticality of the asset and the goal of the

plant. We evaluate the opportunity to do those improvements, and

business. We improve efficiency by using work-order management

identify best practices that should be shared.

systems that reduce losses and increase the ‘wrench time’.


‘The crisis made us realise that it is of crucial importance to have excellence in manufacturing.’ Alain Lycops Industrial Manufacturing Excellence Maintenance & Reliability Manager - Solvay


Q. Is this Value Stream Mapping?

Q. Do you notice big differences from country to country on

Yes. We start with a brown paper system, going through the pro-

their willingness to take advice from the corporate center?

cesses and asking about all the details of how they are doing things.

To be successful you need to have strong and detailed processes

Then we can analyse it and define the room for improvement and im-

and standards, and then examine every case. You also need to bring

plementation of best practices. We have moved away from a system

value! If you come with something wrong, they will know straight

which was just to "maintain" to a real asset management system.

away, but if you come with good practices and clear benefits, this will help with the buy-in. We have a worldwide overview of best prac-

Q. Have the skills required in your maintenance team changed?

tices, so if there is an issue we can quickly compare with the previ-

It even goes beyond the skills: the new model demanded a change of

ous experiences.

mindset and behavior. We ask people to be proactive in order to avoid breakdowns. They need to anticipate, look at the curve between the

Q. Does lean manufacturing affect you in your maintenance ac-

potential failure and functional failure and have a good questioning


mind. Going from 60% of high priority breakdown maintenance to

Yes, we have a team dedicated to lean maintenance, with many Six

50-60% predictive and preventive maintenance means a big change

Sigma black belts. One of our challenges is to convince our col-

in the approach. This is really the key to our success. We cannot con-

leagues from production that they actually have an important role

tinue production with a high number of priority breakdowns.

to play in early detection. Very simple first level maintenance op-

erations, starting with applying 5S, can be done in the plants for example. Our program for excellence is relevant to everyone, it is

criticality, planning, scheduling, everything

a holistic approach based on three pillars:

was done by the external company. We

mindsets and behaviors, technical systems

analysed the results, and after one year we

fact that in maintenance a lot of activities are

and performance management.

changed it completely. Of course in execu-

really core for the company.

tion there are always activities that are not Q.How do you see the role of outsourcing?

core, like painting or scaffolding, which can

Q.Are you also experiencing the talent

Fifteen or twenty years ago, maintenance

be done by an external company. But all

shortage in maintenance management?

was seen as a cost with no added value, and

managing, planning, scheduling and super-

It is very difficult to attract new talent in

the vision was to outsource. In some cases

vising was brought back into the organisa-

maintenance. People do not really seem

maintenance had been totally externalised.

tion. Now we have created benchmarks for

to be interested in working in industry any-

Two years ago I was asked to go to Brazil

the best equilibrium between internal activity

because there were 5 people from Solvay

and outsourcing. This is really based on the

and 130 from an external company doing everything: defining the strategy based on


more. Teenagers are more interested in IT and less in production where you never know exactly what will happen that day and when


‘We have created benchmarks for the best equilibrium between internal activity and outsourcing, based on the fact that a lot of maintenance activities are core for the company.’

you will be able to go home. In my sort of role, you are typically here

Alain Lycops

again that maintenance and reliability engineers really cost nothing,

for three to five years, and then you need to go abroad. Mobility is important in industry and not all people are willing to do that. Q. With more sensors and ways to monitor the manufacturing process, are you benefiting from the availability of more data? The amount of data has increased, but also the capacity of hardand software. This helps us to demonstrate things we were not able to demonstrate before, such as the maximum daily capacity of a plant, or if the production losses are coming from operational problems or from maintenance. So now we can implement a more predictive approach, and even have expert systems to analyse the data. This can merge very different types of data such as tube thickness, temperatures, acidity of the fluid, in ways we previously couldn’t do. In fact we now find we can often even produce more than the original engineering specification – even up to 20 or 25% more. This proves because they will create a return on investment worth many times their salaries.


Goedele Heylen Switching on innovation at Niko Goedele Heylen is Director of Operations at Niko, the Belgian pro-

looking for new opportunities, new possibilities and innovations that

ducer of switches, socket outlets and home and lighting control sys-

bring added value to our customers. People start realising that it is

tems. She is responsible for the manufacturing plant in Sint-Niklaas,

important to have a large manufacturing base in Europe.

including planning, engineering and maintenance. Q. There is much talk about Lean Manufacturing these days.


Q. All companies want to be innovative. How important do you

Has Niko adopted it?

think innovation on the production line is for profitability?

We realised that if we wanted to remain competitive, we need to

At Niko, innovation really is the key. We are always looking for better

adopt this philosophy, because it is exactly about creating more

and smarter ways to organise our production. We try to implement

added value for your customer.

this on all aspects of manufacturing: coming up with better and more reliable products, really knowing what the customer wants, empow-

Q. How is market demand affecting maintenance?

erment of all our people to help improving efficiency, quality, flexibil-

In situations where there is less, little or no certainty or belief in the

ity, and at the same time increasing the quality of our workforce by

market demands, and where we made our decisions on a cost driv-

providing training and development programmes.

en base, there was a tendency to follow the fail and fix approach. We didn’t want to invest in machinery that was unlikely to produce profits

Q. How do you think the role of manufacturing industry in Eu-

in the coming period. But we also realise that when our equipment

rope has changed over the last decade?

is not properly maintained, we can never guarantee a stable produc-

In the past, the focus was on the competitiveness fight with the low

tion, which we require. Certainly in times of crisis this is important,

cost countries. Everything was driven by cost and the number of

because the actual cost per product dramatically increases when

companies that moved production there proves that we were losing

you have unplanned downtime. That is why we do a weekly follow up

this fight. Nowadays, we are evolving towards a situation where we

on KPI’s on preventive and corrective maintenance.

are looking for ways to keep manufacturing here again. This means

Didier Leroy Investments in maintenance and asset management crucial in order to remain competitive

Toyota, the world’s largest automobile manufacturer, is known for its

say, “If you want to achieve top-class level for some kind of equip-

managerial values and business methods. Practices such as lean

ment, we need to spend a lot of money.” For me, this is poor man-

manufacturing, just-in-time production and kaizen have been adopt-

agement because if you spend your money on time and don’t cut

ed by numerous other companies worldwide.

maintenance and asset-management costs, you are investing in the

With assets worth billions of euros and intense competition calling

future of your installations. Cutting these costs is sometimes the

for supreme efficiency, how does Toyota organise its maintenance

easiest way to balance your budget, but this is only a short-term

and asset management? We ask these questions to Didier Leroy,


CEO and President of Toyota Motor Europe. Mr Leroy is responsible for overseeing all of the European operations including manufactur-

Q. It is known that when companies are struggling during tough

ing, engineering, sales and marketing.

economic times, some will be tempted to cut the maintenance budget.

Q. How would you describe the role of asset management and

I know this happens but for me this is just poor management. The

the possible influence it may have on a company's decision on

role of management is to find the right way to achieve competitive-

(re)locating their production?

ness. You do this not by cutting costs on asset management or

We should always note that asset management and maintenance

maintenance activities on the equipment, or in the factory. These are

activities are two of the key elements to achieving competitiveness.

actually things on which we should consider that there is a chance

This remains true no matter where you are located. Some people

to continue to improve competitiveness.



Q. So by investing in maintenance and

the first thing they should do as soon as they

But there is another kind of innovation. This

asset management you can ensure that

can, is restart the maintenance, because the

is based on two other pillars:

the production line keeps going in a reli-

impact will be very big.

Firstly, the innovation that can be generated

able, quality-producing way?

by the people in the company at every level.

Yes, because when a company is in trouble,

All personnel have the opportunity to come

the easiest thing to do is to say, “Okay, let’s

Continuous improvement

cut this kind of activity.” Everybody can de-

up with innovative ideas. It may be small, but it can have an impact. This continuous improve-

cide these kinds of things - my kids could

Q. How would you describe the role of in-

ment is called kaizen at Toyota. It’s a mentality

do the same; we don’t need any expertise

novation in production and the relation-

under which our people are thinking, “What

to do this.

ship with the development process?

can I do better than I did yesterday?” Natural-

Some companies made this their strategy,

You have two kinds of innovation. The first

ly, you cannot come up with new ideas every

but this is just because they had no other

one is innovative technology. If you develop

day, but as long as people ask themselves the

ideas at the time. They are facing an emer-

something totally new, creating a competi-

question every day, they should bring some

gency and have to decide on a quick ac-

tive advantage, you can then develop it fur-

innovative ideas in the long run.

tion. I can understand this if at the end of

ther. But frankly speaking, if a company is in

Secondly, we have innovation on the man-

the month you cannot pay the invoices, but

trouble and is obliged to stop asset-manage-

agement level: I mean the way managers

management needs to think about how to

ment and maintenance activities, I struggle

create innovation which will generate strong

protect the future; ask themselves, “Is this

to believe that such a company would spend

motivation within the company. This influ-

the way back to profitability?” If they do stop,

a lot of money to innovate.

ences directly the way in which the first pillar

‘Cutting maintenance costs is sometimes the easiest way to balance your budget, but this is only a short-term advantage.’ Didier Leroy CEO and President - Toyota Motor Europe


will be applied. When people trust their manager, trust the fact that the company will listen to them and support them, they will want to implement new and innovative ideas. What we do is apply this mentality to maintenance and asset management, which are key priorities for us. So blind cost-cutting in these fields is not an option for us. We need to ask ourselves if we can get even better results at a lower cost: which kind of innovation, from management or other employees; which daily improvement will ensure this? This is the way to improve competitiveness.

Sharing best practices


Q. Yokoten is the term used to describe the sharing of your best

innovation, always believe that what they are doing is better.

practices. Can you give some examples?

So we decided to give the president of each plant full power to

In the past, we had what we call a shop-by-shop activity, which was

“yokoten” a best practice for one specific topic at the pan-European

not always successful at a company-wide level in Europe. We re-

level. So it’s not just a kind of information sharing between the differ-

started this almost two years ago, but there was one major issue:

ent companies, but a way to manage the process of yokoten.

many people, when they themselves haven’t come up with an idea/

Let’s take a practical example. The president of the French plant is in charge of the safety. So all the different items to improve the safety in the different factories in Europe are under his responsibility, and his role is to ensure that every best practice we can find anywhere, every best practice we can find in the different factories, is immediately yokotened at a pan-European level. By working like this, we can speed up the yokoten activity and reap the benefits of actual practical implementation of these best practices, rather than just information sharing. Q. How do you manage your assets in a way that they remain viable for the next five to ten years? We have strong cost-control management for all the different com-

panies. I maintain a personal focus on these topics to ensure there is no cost-cutting activity without a clear strategy. If one plant tries to improve their results by cutting maintenance, this is a strong warning for me. So I personally ensure there remains a clear logic between the trends of the maintenance cost activity at the different factories.

‘We cannot expect to achieve high performance and competitiveness by waiting until a breakdown happens’

When the maintenance in the factory is not done properly, this be-

Didier Leroy

that I am able to visit very often but I really try to visit every single fac-

comes very clear in less than six months. In order to follow up on the efficiency of the maintenance activities, I watch the key numbers closely. Problems in maintenance have an immediate impact on the pure performance of the factory. If they stop or neglect their maintenance activity, there will be a drop in the operational ratio (OPR) of the factory in less than two weeks. After that you will quickly see a further decrease. From my office I can be connected to every plant and check the performance. I receive daily and monthly reports of the OPR of every plant in Europe and I can cross-reference that to the maintenance cost factory by factory. Apart from the numbers, when you visit a plant with poor maintenance in less than six months of activity, it becomes very visible. With responsibility for nine factories and 56 markets, I cannot say tory as often as possible. So, last week I was in Turkey, this week in France, and I’m going to the UK soon. This means that at least two to three times a year I have the opportunity to go to each factory and to observe firsthand. So from my perspective, with the level of performance of OPR, the monthly report on maintenance costs and genchi genbutsu (go and


see) on a quarterly basis, I have a strong

down. As a result, you need another sensor

ensure the upkeep of our equipment.

overview of what the plant is doing and how

to double-check that the first one is working

This also means we can minimise the level of

well they are doing it.

well and so on. It becomes a never-ending

investments, and that we have to be much


more serious than others when it comes to

So for me, the most logical approach is to

the maintenance activity. You need to find a

secure very efficient preventive maintenance

good balance between the cost of the main-

activity. We cannot expect to achieve high

tenance and the cost of the equipment. You

Q. Maintenance has evolved from a fail-

performance and competitiveness by wait-

will always have to do some maintenance,

and-fix approach to a predict-and-pre-

ing until a breakdown happens and then

so a good balance means that you will not

vent approach. What is your view on this?

trying to find a way to repair it as quickly as

need to make a huge investment. Our level of

Firstly, we have to consider a couple of things

possible. This is not efficient. If you don't

investment for the same kind of equipment

here. It's possible to have a very sophisti-

check the oil in your engine and just wait and

is very often cheaper than that of our com-

cated level of control monitoring. You can

see, what happens? You can drive 10,000

petitors, but our maintenance organisation is

remote control all processes in the factory,

km, probably 20,000 and maybe 30,000, but

much stricter.

but we should remember that this is very ex-

one day your engine will be totally ruined and

pensive. So if you want to control the level

you will have to spend a lot of money to fix it.

Q. It is clear that Toyota has a very spe-

of investment, you must have some limitation

It is the same for equipment when people

cific corporate philosophy. How do you

on this monitoring and you cannot have full

stop maintenance. They don't understand

make sure this mentality is shared by


how big the problems will be if they stop

everyone? And how do you manage con-

Secondly, we should never forget that auto-

maintenance. They also don't realise how


mation is sometimes the first cause of break-

many months it will take to get back to the

First of all, the number of subcontractors

down or failure. I have encountered many

initial performance of the equipment. So,

we use for maintenance is very low. Main-

times the situation where we have one sen-

honestly speaking, at Toyota, this is not at all

tenance is part of our core business and we

sor to ensure a part is fine, and one to en-

our way of thinking. We always believe that

are convinced we must do it ourselves; how-

sure that the position of the part is fine – but

the very strict, very serious, very efficient

ever, if we know that we lack knowledge for

in the end it was the sensor itself that broke

preventive maintenance is the best way to

some specific and new equipment, we ask

A strict preventive maintenance approach


‘We believe that the very strict, very serious, very efficient preventive maintenance is the best way to ensure the upkeep of our equipment.’ Didier Leroy


the equipment maker to provide us with sup-

coaching for our maintenance members

to fix the problem more quickly, they coach

port and to coach our employees.

on the shop floor in a very practical and ef-

our members and increase their technical

For our employees, we have some class-

ficient way. Furthermore, any time something

skills. At the same time, they are able to see

room training, but the focus is to train them

happens in one plant, they have to yokoten

firsthand the day-to-day problems we face,

on our equipment directly. A small group

immediately to all the other plants. We also

which provides them with feedback for the

of trainers will also be part of our organisa-

have the added value of the support from

next generation of equipment, enabling them

tion in Europe for six months to a few years.

the equipment maker. It’s good for every-

to make sure that the same problems do not

Their responsibility is to ensure continued

body. It’s good for us because they help us

occur again.

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We con grat BEMAS ulate on its 25 year anniver sary

Sven Pieters A sweet future for chocolate production?

Belgium is known around the world for the quality of its chocolate.

players were bought up by the bigger players, and at the same time,

1000 tons of it is produced every day at the largest Barry Callebaut

a lot of the activity moved to lower-cost countries like Egypt and

plant in Wieze. This fully integrated factory, starting with the roasting

Turkey. This shift was mainly driven by a difference in labour cost.

of the cocoa beans and ending with the finished chocolate prod-

For chocolate, this is different. Labour cost is still an important factor to

ucts also employs over 1000 people. Sven Pieters, plant manager

deal with for us, but the proportion of the total production cost is lower

in Wieze, explains the changes and challenges associated with the

than in textiles. Also, being close to our customers is an advantage.

production of our favourite sweet indulgence.

A lot of our customers are looking for Belgian chocolate! Chocolate is still associated with Belgium. A number of our partner customers

Q. What do you do at Barry Callebaut?

only use Belgian chocolate for their products. This preference gives

I am plant manager, responsible for everything related to the fac-

the factory Wieze a strong strategic importance.

tory in Wieze: manufacturing, maintenance, safety and quality. We

Then there is also our long history and comprehensive expertise in

are the biggest chocolate factory and the flagship plant of the Barry

making chocolate. It goes back to 1911 when the family Callebaut

Callebaut Group, with more than 1000 employees in Wieze. 550 of

first started making chocolate in Wieze. Over the last 100 years the

them are employed in the factory. The rest of our colleagues work in

site has grown organically to what it is today. Many people here in the

regional or corporate functions such as R&D, finance or sales.

neighbourhood have worked here for generations: father, son and grandson. This means there is a lot of knowledge.

Q. What is your view on the changes in manufacturing in Europe

Finally there is transportation. We produce liquid as well as solid choc-

the last decades?

olate. In liquid form, you are limited as to the transportation distance,

I have worked for more than 10 years in the textile industry. We saw

so you can only serve customers in a limited range. Solid chocolate is

two things happening: consolidation and relocation. The smaller

different. You can ship it further away, even all over the world.



‘The strategic advantage of building a factory in another country solely driven by costs is not so clear anymore.’ Sven Pieters Plant Manager at Barry Callebaut

Q. What broad changes do you notice in

Focus on innovation

well-maintained machines, you simply avoid other costs. Not just the costs of technical

the nature of manufacturing industry in Europe?

Q. So innovation is important at Barry

repair, but also waste and downtime cost. Of

Beginning of 2000 the trend to relocate pro-


course you have to find the right balance be-

duction abroad was still really strong here in

Indeed, yes! Not only when it comes to new

tween reliability and maintenance costs.

Belgium. I feel that the last couple of years,

products, but also innovation in the way of

Thirdly: availability. Our factory in Wieze does

the enthusiasm has been tempered some-

manufacturing processes. Over 70% of the

not have a high and a low season. This fac-

what. Companies discovered that managing

products we currently sell are developed in

tory is running at more or less the same ca-

a factory in another country is not always as

the last five years.

pacity all year round, so it's essential to have

easy as it seems. And you can add to that

Wieze is the home of our global research and

very reliable installations. This is especially

the fact that countries with previously lower

development activities focusing on the de-

true for liquid chocolate which is for us a day

cost structures like in Eastern Europe are

velopment of new chocolate products. Over

to day business: our customers can call to-

catching up with us. The strategic advantage

200 researchers work in very close collabo-

day for a delivery within 2 days.

of building a factory in another country solely

ration with our customers, looking at finding

driven by costs is not so clear anymore.

solutions to their needs and challenges.

Investing in maintenance knowledge

panies strongly focused on innovation and

Q. How about reliability and quality?

Q. How do you monitor what is happening

the development of new products. For this

Quality and food safety is key to Barry Calle-

in the plant?

you need to maintain modern research and

baut, and there are very good reasons for this.

We use KPI reporting systems. On a daily,

development structures. Also at Barry Calle-

First of all: our quality level is non-negotiable.

weekly and monthly basis we can track our

baut, innovation is engrained in the DNA of

In the food industry you cannot make conces-

downtime on the lines and the exact reason

the company – it is actually one of the four

sions when it comes to quality and food safety.

codes. This means we have a good follow-

strategic pillars of Barry Callebaut.

Secondly: costs. When you have reliable and

up on the performance. Our key objective for

Furthermore, the last couple of years com-


‘We work very closely with local schools by facilitating internships for students. This has the advantage of building our image as an attractive employer.’ Sven Pieters

the coming years is to move away from the emergency maintenance

year we promoted two operators to the technical team. Today, they

and move towards reliability maintenance, preventive maintenance

contribute with their knowledge and commitment to great effect! We

and predictive maintenance. Although I am satisfied about the level

also work very closely with local schools by facilitating internships for

of reliability of the factory I believe we can still improve.

students. This also has the advantage of building our image as an attractive employer.

Q. To get there, will it require a lot more knowledge on reliability and the equipment in the plant?


Continuous improvement

Yes, but I believe we have to do it in a pragmatic way. We give some of our team members advanced training in maintenance manage-

Q. Do you practice lean manufacturing?

ment. Because maintenance today is not the same as it was 15 years

Two years ago we launched our continuous improvement program

ago. It has become much more sophisticated. The management and

at Barry Callebaut, it is called One+. We aim to deploy it globally, and

budget control aspect of this has also come into play. Overall, what

since we are the biggest site it has already been started here. One

we do, we aim to do thoroughly. Nevertheless, we need to continue

of our strategic pillars is Cost Leadership. Using a lean production

to broaden our scope and see how are other companies are doing

methodology we try to further optimise our cost base.

it, what the latest trends are and then pick what we can use to our benefit.

Q. What are your experiences until now? We are constantly looking for opportunities to improve. One big ad-

Q. Do you recruit directly for your maintenance team, or do you

vantage is that we have a comprehensive monitoring system with

rely on internal promotion?

regards of all of our losses. With One+ we monitor all of our losses,

Both. More and more, we need to recruit on competence instead

not just technical, but also the losses due to planning and quality.

of degree, but there are functions where the technical knowledge

This helps us to put the right focus on things. A lot of progress has

is 90% of the job so you need the right fit. It is very challenging to

been made, but as the name of the program suggests, it’s a contin-

find technicians with good skills on the market at the moment. Last

ued effort.

Q. What about the sharing of best practices between the plants? Yes, we do have a formal program to share experiences between all our factories. Q. How do you keep an overview of the maintenance activity across your plant? First of all, every day I spend time in the factory. It's important to talk to the team members. Secondly, every week I have a staff meeting with my direct reports looking at the performance of the week before. This is a good follow-up system on efficiency, volumes, manhours, yields, and energy consumption. We have standardised reports we discuss. We agree on actions and at the same time we share information over all departments. Q. What would you say to a young person thinking about their future career?

‘When you have technical skills you can build a great career in a factory doing something you like to do.’ Sven Pieters

Use your talent! I struggle to understand why it is frowned upon to stop studying at 18 and start working. Many young people keep on studying even though it doesn’t work for them. When you have technical skills you can build a great career in a factory doing something you like to do. Also, personally, I think the industry can do more in marketing itself as an attractive employer and excellent place to work. We have to appeal to young people and make them want to come and work with us. In our Wieze factory have – what I feel – a happy workforce. We have a very low turnover rate. People have a lot of pride in what they do and the role they play in the whole organisation.




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Ruud Krinkels Seeing the full picture


Ordinarily, Maintenance & Asset Manage-

ed Kingdom. The Belgian branch has 500

sible for managing our machines. Some our

ment is associated with large production

employees who work every day to maintain

technically high-skilled employees simply

companies; however, it does not require

and update the public living environment,

add this task to their work tasks. The pro-

an investment of millions in production ma-

such as parks, sports fields and green strips

ject leaders are responsible for the plan-

chines in order for an organisation to worry

along the motorways. Krinkels has several

ning of the machines. In a planning meeting,

about their asset management. Landscap-

hundred machines for maintaining the land-

they discuss which machines can be used

ing contractor Krinkels is a prime example:

scaping areas, ranging from chainsaws to

when. In the past, we tried housing Mainte-

the organisation not only manages its own

large mowers and excavators. Not consider-

nance & Asset Management under one job

assets, it also made maintenance and man-

ing the vehicle pool, the machine costs are

position, but that was not successful. The

aging public areas its core tasks. Ruud Krin-

over 12% of the total fixed assets. Half of

project leaders kept exchanging materials

kels, CEO of the Krinkels Holding, shares his

this is invested in the purchasing of the ma-

among themselves, which meant the asset

experience with both ends of the spectrum.

chines, the other half is spent on expenses,

manager was unable to keep proper track

such as fuel, repairs and insurance.

of everything. Of course, technology is now

Ruud Krinkels is the third generation of Krin-

so advanced that the question of where the

kels at the helm of the Dutch family company. In sixty years' time, the Krinkels Hold-

machines actually are barely applies. Our

Own assets

ing grew to become a company with 2,500

main machines are equipped with track and trace technology so we know where our

employees, with branches in Belgium, Ger-

Q. Who manages Krinkels' machine pool?

machines are at all times. Our clients also

many, France, the Netherlands and the Unit-

We do not have one person solely respon-

always expect more transparency; for ex-

ample, they want to know if we truly used our ecologically-friendly weed killing machine. They can go online and see which route the machine took. Q. In Belgium, Krinkels has its own warehouse and workshop where about twenty people are responsible for the mainte-


nance and management of the vehicle and machine pools. Did you ever think about outsourcing the maintenance and management of the machine pool?

Q. The employees are the focus at Krinkels; machines have a

Yes, and for a large part of the maintenance of our vehicle pool, we

supporting role. Capacity planning of the employees is given

do. However, we would rather maintain the machine pool ourselves.

priority over machine planning, yet Krinkels does link people

The optimisations we apply to our machines give us a strategic ad-

with machines. Why?

vantage with respect to our competitors and thanks to our organisa-

By letting employees work with the same machines as much as pos-

tion's size, we also have a much larger, more diverse machine pool

sible, we wish to create a sense of responsibility with those employ-

than the other parties in the field, which are usually garden contracts

ees. After all, they are responsible for preventive maintenance on

with a limited number of employees. Having our own workshop for

the machines, such as replacing filters, etc. If you always work with

maintenance also provides flexibility in the organisation. If a machine

the same machine, you get a better feel for it. In the past, this link

is broken, it will be repaired at night so it can be used again in the

between people and machines did not need to be emphasised as

morning. Large maintenance works are performed by the dealers,

strongly, because most of our workforce consisted of farmers' sons.

because having this knowledge in-house provides few advantages

They were raised in a machine environment and had a natural feel

for us.

for it. Nowadays, we see that transferring knowledge from one gen-

‘Whether it involves a machine that is on our cost balance sheet or a machine pool on the municipality's balance sheet; the thought process is the same.’ Ruud Krinkels CEO - Krinkels

87 eration to another generation of employees

sion to buy a machine. Some machines can

In the Netherlands, there is a change in

is more and more critical. This is indicated

be more expensive to purchase, but thanks

policy: the performance contracts are mak-

by the machine use: if we do not assign

to the manufacturer's innovative capacity,

ing way for visual contracts. This indicates a

newcomers to experienced foremen, we will

the machines have lower fuel consumption,

transition from a descriptive policy, in which,

have damaged machine upon damaged ma-

better usability, lower maintenance costs

for example, a detailed list of the number of


and are less susceptible to damage.

times and the dates on which the grass has to be mowed, to visual contracts. The Dutch

Q. How does Krinkels manage to balance

The client’s assets

public councils expect that we submit a plan of approach on how we wish to create a

preventive and curative maintenance? When purchasing new machines, we base

Q. As one of their core activities Krinkels

specific streetscape. It might be better not to

ourselves on the data generated in our sys-

manages the public space for public

mow in a specific month, because it is bad for

tem regarding using the machines. This

councils. Is there an evolution in the way

specific animals, for example, and so that we

means that we take the full life cycle of the

government institutions handle their as-

can mow more frequently in other months.

machine into account when making a deci-


This means we have to be more pro-active

regarding an assignment and our client, and be able to create added value, which changes our role. Your processes are also looked at in more detail, which requires organisation of a more academic level. In time, Belgian boards will copy this way of thinking as well, but the social-economic framework slows down this process. Q. Do you rely on your own Maintenance & Asset Management experience when managing your clients' assets? Whether it involves a machine that is on our cost balance sheet or a machine pool on the municipality's balance sheet; the thinking process is the same. I suspect that, in the future, we will apply our expe-

‘In the future, we will apply our experience in Lifecycle Management to managing our clients' assets.’ Ruud Krinkels

rience in Lifecycle Management to managing our clients' assets. In the past, we only bought the cheapest machine without charging the total cost price. But you can also look at a machine park differently. Some types of trees are more expensive in purchasing price, but are easier to maintain and will not blow over so easily. A contractor who only has a short-term performance-based contract is less inclined to think about this. If you can enter into a 15 to 25 year management contract as a landscaping contractor, you zoom in more on the optimisation possibilities. It is also easier to justify investments which only provides added value in the longer term and leads to a win-win situation. Unfortunately, such a mindset is in direct conflict with the political short-term thinking. So, it will require quite some work before we arrive at that stage.


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Jacques Marbehant There is still a future for manufacturing in Europe

In the heavily regulated pharmaceutical industry, safety and reliability

major manufacturing investments at its sites.

are crucial to ensure the production of high quality products. Jacques

In the past years, we have been through a specific program to align

Marbehant, Vice President, Head of Braine Technical Operations &

our manufacturing footprint on UCB strategies and we have refo-

Global Engineering at UCB explains how the company achieves this.

cused our activities on 5 sites; 2 manufacturing sites have a global reach and are located in Europe (Belgium, Switzerland), the others

Q. Please tell us a little about yourself, your role and the respon-

sites have regional or local specificities. (Ireland, China, Japan)

sibility you have for the plant and assets of the organisation. Owning a master in Bio-Engineering, I spent my whole career in a

Q. How do you think the role of manufacturing industry in Eu-

manufacturing environment, or close by, in Belgium, Luxembourg,

rope has changed over the last decade?

Germany or Switzerland, in the food, fine chemicals and finally for the

The manufacturing industry in Europe has changed drastically. The

pharmaceutical Industry.

key to success today is to look at niche markets, to specialise in high

I joined UCB at our site of Braine L’Alleud in 2002. After leading the

value adding activities and to be excellent in everything we do.

Site Quality Assurance department until 2007, I took charge for the manufacturing site of Bulle in Switzerland. Since 2011, I am head-

Q. What do you see in the future for manufacturing industry in

ing the Technical Operations in Braine L’Alleud, covering the various


commercial and pilot manufacturing activities and their support func-

I strongly believe there is still a future for manufacturing in Europe

tions i.e. quality control, Quality Assurance, Supply Chain, qualifica-

where innovation, differentiation, high tech or high value added ac-

tion/validation, Technical support, maintenance, engineering, ‌ I am

tivities, operational excellence, efficiency and supply chain agility will

also in charge of the Global Engineering department, covering UCB

play a major role.



The importance of innovation

ate and discover new solutions. The ‘Post-it’

tives, we had to ensure 100% reliability of the

from 3M is an example of innovation coming

bottle-neck equipment while concurrently re-

Q. What are the factors that will allow

from the product line!

ducing maintenance downtime. We could not

manufacturing to stay competitive when

I don’t believe that sustainable manufactur-

afford any batch loss or delay, or even any

labour costs increase?

ing can survive, especially in Europe, if we

maintenance unplanned downtime. We made

We must continuously innovate and strive for

are not constantly re-inventing ourselves, our

it. This was an exciting challenge and at the

operational excellence and efficiency well be-

products and solutions to our patients. Inno-

end, our teams learned a lot about the critical

yond quality in an agile supply chain. ‘Waste’

vation in everything we do and how we do it,

maintenance parameters of the equipment.

of resources because of wrong quality, not-

with the patient at the centre of our preoc-

Since then we have applied those learnings

adapted solutions, being too confident or

cupation, is therefore key.

to many of our product lines, so reliability of

complacent will bring you out of business,

the manufacturing has continuously evolved

quickly and quicker than in the past.

since. This is now measured in terms of OEE

As an industry leader, we will continuously

High equipment efficiency

invest into people development to reach our

or Overall Equipment Efficiency, and contributed to UCB service level reaching 99,5%

goals, to stay focus on our niche markets and

Q. Having a reliable production line is es-

become the leader in those.

sential for quality assurance, could you

Q. Training and development are essen-

describe an example of where this proved

tial for companies that are going to suc-

Q. How important do you think innovation

to be critical for business continuity?

ceed over the long term, are there spe-

on the production line is for a profitable

It is indeed. The products or solutions offered

cific issue you have faced with finding


by UCB are improving patient ‘lives’ around

qualified team members for maintenance

Our industry is heavily regulated, for good

the world every day. Quality Assurance, Ef-

teams? Or do you depend on internal

reasons, requiring the innovation to be some-

ficacy and Safety are as important of having

training and development programmes

what controlled. Innovation can help us

the product available in our patient’s phar-

to guarantee the skills are available?

produce our products differently by doing

macy. Back in 2008, the growth of one of our

This has indeed become more and more a

cheaper, faster or of better quality. Innova-

product was so important that, although we

challenge, having access to skilled techni-

tion on the product line can help us differenti-

had a number of yields or cycle time initia-

cians or specialists. We therefore focus on 3


axes. We have developed internal programs with specialised partners to train our teams. We are also working with local employment agencies and high schools to develop win-win solutions with trainees. Furthermore, we’ve established 2-years contracts with students who work part time at UCB. In some instance where we need very skilled and experienced people, we either hire talents who possess the technological skill sets used at UCB or we develop a partnering approach with a specialised firm.


‘Sustainable manufacturing can only survive in Europe if we are constantly re-inventing ourselves, our products and our solutions.’ Jacques Marbehant Vice President, Head of Braine Technical Operations & Global Engineering - UCB

Q. There is much talk about Lean Manufacturing these days, have you adopted it? Yes, we have. For the manufacturing plants, this is even considered a strategic driver where we continuously invest in training, promote internal best practices, benchmark within the industry or across industries and report results. In recent years, we have hired specialists from other industries who have already adopted lean techniques –such as the automotive industry. This allowed us to speed-up our transformation journey and change the internal mind-set. At local level, each site is participating into programs that intends to avoid ‘waste’, save money or develop efficiency. This is naturally part of their DNA! Q. Is your maintenance team an internal team or is the activity outsourced? Each of our plant has its own maintenance team. Our industry is heavily regulated and therefore so is the maintenance. In general, we apply maintenance at 3 levels:

‘easy’ maintenance such as change-overs are performed by the line operators themselves, trained by the maintenance team.

Standard and non-specific maintenance (corrective and preventive) are performed by the local maintenance team

Specific maintenance requiring unique expertise and non-strategic is outsourced, coordinated by the local maintenance team. Q. New standards for Asset Management (ISO55000) are soon

Q. In the maintenance industry, it is possible to consider two

to be introduced. Have you heard about this? And if so, do you

models, the Fail and Fix approach, and the Predict and Prevent

plan to adopt them and why?

approach. How do you think the tendency to choose either of

Yes, indeed. Our purchasing team, along with our global engineering

these was affected by the economic situation?

and finance departments, are currently in the appropriation mode of

UCB is more in the “predict and Prevent approach”. It is a general re-

such new standard with the support of an external partner. We are

quirement and regulator view point that helps us to ensure quality and

looking at piloting it through one dedicated equipment or production

safety for our patients, our final customers. In addition, our products

line so that we can demonstrate, or not, the benefits of it.

tend to be extremely expensive, failure is therefore not an option. We are continuously monitoring our ability to manufacture ‘right the first

Q. How closely are you able to follow the maintenance activity

time’ and prevention still appears to be the best solution. Fail and Fix

across your plants?

approach, alike counting on luck, is definitively too expensive.

Local management, quality assurance and cost control are accountable for management of those activities. The performance indicators are reviewed monthly at the plant level. These are recorded into an ‘off-the-shelf’ software tracking and globalizing performance. At the yearly board meeting of each legal entities, this is a recurrent topic of discussion and challenge.


‘We are continuously monitoring our ability to manufacture ‘right the first time’ and prevention still is the best solution.’ Jacques Marbehant

95 Q. Do you use a specific metric for measuring asset perfor-

Q. Finally, what would be your advice to young people who are

mance? (e.g. RoNA, RoCE, or EVA)

now considering their future career and are looking as mainte-

Those metrics are indeed used at Company level to assess and plan

nance as an option?

Company performance. However, at plant level, this is mainly used

Think beyond the maintenance: someone may think he is a stone-

in establishing investment business case . In routine operations, the

cutter, a few will understand that they are building a cathedral. Sim-

UCB manufacturing plants have implemented the Balanced Score

ply put, be engaged and understand the big picture in your environ-

Cards (BSC) model with a set of agreed performance indicators,

ment ! Behind a product sold on any shelf, somebody had to create

which are cascaded down the departments. As examples, UCB

it: those are production and maintenance people. This is a great and

manufacturing plants are continuously measuring OEE, ratio preven-

solid career choice, made of daily challenge where we can still do

tative/corrective maintenance, on-time maintenance and adherence

better with available and new technologies. There is much more to

to plan, capacity utilisation, …


Rudi Maerschalck Using lean to keep Brussels on the move

In 2017 MIVB/STIB will enable 415 million

pean cities, we have one of the highest levels

we now do a complete analysis of the life

rides by bus, tram and metro. This number

of growth. We see that in the ‘capital’ of Eu-

cycle, total cost of ownership and the end-

has risen by 70% in the past 10 years. This

rope more and more people are using public

to-end asset management. This is why we

impressive growth requires a matching in-

transport daily, either by choice or by neces-

started investing in more than just the rolling

vestment rhythm and ever improving opera-

sity. Since we provide an essential service

stock itself, but also extensive documenta-

tional efficiency. Rudi Maerschalck, Senior

to keep Brussels moving, we are also one

tion and maintenance contracts. So it’s a

Vice President of Transport Systems ex-

of the few privileged parties that has been

whole package: the vehicle plus the value

plains how the introduction of the lean meth-

spared from budget cuts.

added services.

Q. This growth also means you have to

Q. Will you continue the current invest-

establish a matching maintenance and

ment pattern, or do you consider radical

Q. According to some analysts we are fi-

investment programme?

new ideas?

nally seeing modest economic recovery

Certainly. In the past we had some spare

By definition it will be more of the same. We

in Europe. Did the crisis affect the public

capacity on our tramways, buses and met-

will always have our three modes of opera-

transport business?

ros. With this continued growth we project

tion: bus, tram and metro, so this is where

To be honest, these changes in the econom-

a certain saturation level for our vehicles and

our investments will be. However we cer-

ic climate did not have a negative impact on

infrastructure. In order to retain the level of

tainly follow up on the latest technological

us. On the contrary, we have seen a growth

service and safety people expect, we focus

advances. We must always remember that

rate in the number of passengers of around

on investing in and improving our asset man-

every decision we take has consequences

6% each year for the last 10 years, and our

agement. To do this in the most economical

for at least the next 30 years.

forecast for the next 10 years is similar. Com-

way we apply lean management principles.

If we decide that our next generation of bus-

pared to public transportation in other Euro-

For example when it comes to rolling stock

es are going to be hybrid, then due to the

odology helps the organisation achieving its ambitious goals.



vehicle’s life cycle that’s a choice for the next 15 years. In the case of the metro we are investing in automated (unmanned) vehicles. There are a huge amount of choices related to that but we can’t make mistakes because that’s a mistake for the next 40 years. For infrastructure, in order to maintain this safely, we are also looking at an investment horizon of 40 years. So we can’t just buy a fleet, invest in the infrastructure and then switch to a new technology

have in 2025. We then also know the number of working hours we

because the original assets are still there. Everything needs to be

will need to maintain our fleet up and running, and consequently the


skills we need our employees to have. Naturally, we realise that we need to plan well ahead to ensure these skills are acquired on time

Q. All these decisions probably also have consequences for the

by the right amount of people. So right now we are working on mak-


ing sure we are prepared for 2016: deciding who needs what kind

Yes, that's right. Not only when we adopt a new technology like hy-

of training, technical or managerial, in order to execute all our tasks

brid, but also because we need to keep up with the changing regula-


tions, for example regarding vehicle emissions. Change means that

The result is a whole program that is reviewed on a quarterly basis

we need to invest heavily in training, but also sometimes find another

and that results in a daily training schedule. This is also linked to

role for employees that have difficulties moving from the mechanical

certification, since some of the maintenance requires that the person

to the electrical world. In this domain our decisions also have long-

performing it is certified to do it according to the specifications of the

term consequences.


Q. Preparing for the future also means investing in training. How do organise this?

Lean technical teams

Our basic approach is to create master plans, which are detailed 10 year projections. So we know exactly the number of vehicles we will

Q. You’ve referred earlier to a lean approach. How is it applied at MIVB/STIB? We introduced lean by explaining 5S to all of our teams in technical areas. This means at least 700 people! They are currently applying this, and about half of the teams are in what we call the first level of lean. We use a simple 4 star system to represent the maturity. You could do this in a more elaborate or comprehensive way, but for us this works best.


‘Every decision we take has consequences for at least the next 30 years.’ Rudi Maerschalck Senior Vice President of Transport Systems - MIVB/STIB


We have internal people guiding the teams

see that if we start a new team and inform

will begin the reconstruction phase for this

in their efforts, and helping them meet a set

them about the lean and 5S philosophies,

whole building.

of criteria for competencies, quality, security

we don’t need to convince them. They have

The layout of the new building is based on

and so on. The results in each domain are

heard from colleagues that it’s a very nice

our four part matrix principle. We have flex-

then audited regularly by an internal special-

working environment and they are more pro-

ibility in all the zones for our professionalised

ist, and if they score above the quantifiable

ductive, without the sense that they need

services (which are our core business activi-

threshold, they get a first lean star. If you

to work harder. From the managerial level,

ties and where we are best-in-class) . The ar-

walk around our workshops, you see that

the main reason to do this is that due to our

eas where we go for cost management (non-

every team has a blackboard and all the fig-

growth we can’t find the right technically

core, but best-in-class) are limited in terms

ures are there.

skilled people on time. So for us it’s a matter

of square meters. Those in which we partner

For the second level it's up to the team to

of being more productive, doing more with

(core, but not best-in-class), there are a few

decide when they want to do it. Of course

the same people.

hundred square meters available but if we

the ultimate goal is the fourth level, but that's

partner correctly we don’t need that space.

world-class. While the first star is about really

Then there is space to outsource (non-core,

working together with a number of people in


the team with a team leader, and under in-

not best-in-class), but again, if we do it correctly, we don’t need those square meters

struction, the second level is about the entire

Q. Are you working on a specific project


team being involved and saying "we want to

in maintenance?

The whole new setup is to bring everything

get the second star!"

Yes, today we have five major maintenance

together. But in reality this is only for our

The blackboards are very visual so if a team

halls in Brussels. Each of them is special-

professionalised services and cost-manage-

gets a star, it is announced to the whole or-

ised: bus, tram, spare parts, the body shop,

ment. All the rest is simply not present any-

ganisation. There is an element of competi-

etc. We are working on bringing them to-

more. In order to achieve this, it really helps

tion to it, but it’s a healthy competition. We

gether on one 32.000 m2 site. This year we

to apply the principles of lean, because we

‘By applying the principles of lean we have become much more productive.’

have to put all our machinery and employees in this limited area. Introducing lean has worked fantastically for us! As our first step, for one year, we didn’t apply anything. We just made sure everyone understood the importance and the benefits. Lots of training, even playing games to explain lean. Then we started with a pilot project, and after this we elevated lean to the whole organisation. Now people are asking us "when will you involve us?" and "What’s the next step for us?”

Rudi Maerschalck

Process alignment

Q. What have been the organisational consequences of starting with lean? We have enough knowledge and experience to get teams to their first star. In order to get to the second lean star, we needed to employ a number of lean specialists, because there we lacked the understanding of making this transition. This really is something you need to have done already. This is why we hired specialists with 10 to 15 years of experience in lean management. They are helping us bridging the gap between 1 star and 2 stars.


Practicing lean also means your processes need to support it. We

with suppliers. Then we will be able to really calculate the life-cycle

are adapting our SAP systems to make sure that at every process

cost or total cost of ownership of our activities.

step all the data is available in SAP. This includes the complete man-


agement of maintenance and planning. As a result of these efforts

Q. What’s your metric for measuring your asset performance?

93% of the work planned today to be executed tomorrow is actu-

If you look at it in a financial way, the metric is life-cycle cost. Howev-

ally performed. Five years ago this was less than 50%. So it’s really

er, there is also another dimension to our business. It’s about using

about creating a culture of planning. Our next step in this is getting to

capital in an efficient way which is not exactly the same as a life-cycle

weekly and monthly planning within this system, done by our opera-

cost optimisation.

tors, and not by management.

Let me illustrate this with our project on the last generation of EURO6 diesel buses. We are buying these now and they will come into ser-

Q. Does this mean that there is more room for innovative think-

vice beginning of next year. The choice for these diesel buses is

ing within the teams?

based on life-cycle cost, combined with the necessary investments

Yes, you need to understand that when we move the team from its

in infrastructure. This expansion will add approximately 150 buses

traditional way of working to a lean philosophy, we work for at least

to the 650 we now have. This has a huge impact on the number of

four months together to really try to help them to improve or even

parking spaces, the number of drivers, and the amount of space

reinvent the processes. If that means investment in new machinery

needed for maintenance. We have to manage all these aspects and

and new tools, we do it because you have to show the same level of

ensure that everything is available at the right moment.

commitment as the team.

If we have the extra 150 buses next year but we don’t have the driv-

Our goal is that in a couple of years and we'll all work with lean logic,

ers, its unused capital. The same goes for the buildings, parking

we'll all have performant planning tools and integrated SAP systems.

spaces, and so on. At the moment the real complexity in our busi-

Those systems are also ready for PAS55 and ready for connecting

ness is the combination of these elements.


Liliane Pintelon An academic perspective on Maintenance and Asset Management


Liliane Pintelon is one of the few academics in Belgium focusing on

solution. Of course there is monitoring and ‘e-maintenance’, but a

maintenance and asset management. She is professor at KU Leuven

failed motor cannot fix itself. You need to have a questioning mind for

where she teaches logistics courses including maintenance man-

these complicated issues.

agement. Her research interests are in technology and asset man-

I think it's interesting to see the role-reversal with the highly trained

agement. She recently published the book ‘Asset Management - The

people in maintenance. I think that companies are becoming more

Maintenance Perspective’.

and more aware that maintenance is important. Unfortunately, it is still sexier to talk about marketing and innovation then to do things

Q. What is your view on the current state of maintenance and

in maintenance and technology.Many managers seem not to be fully

asset management in Europe?

aware yet and I do think they sometimes forget the impact of main-

When I first started doing research in maintenance, nearly 25 years

tenance can be quite large.

ago, one of the things that surprised me the most, was when people introduced me to their maintenance department. The produc-

Q. What about innovation on the production line, inspired by

tion departments usually had highly skilled technicians, whereas the

maintaining those assets. Is that becoming more important?

maintenance department consisted of people who were not "good

I think it certainly should be. Some companies take the total life-

enough" for production. This mentality has completely shifted since

cycle cost of ownership of a machine into account. And then you

then. With the rise of automation, the role of production has changed

start looking at energy consumption, occupational safety and main-

to keeping an eye on things and controlling the machines but in many

tenance. If I am an asset owner I need to take this into account, be-

cases they have skills that are no longer needed for production. In-

cause if I limit my budget now for a certain machine, in the long run

stead, maintenance is where we need our highly trained people be-

I may be disadvantaged because I will have to replace components

cause they have to make a good diagnosis for problems that occur

more often, or it is not as energy efficient as it could be.

in mechanics, electronics or hydraulics, and then come up with a

From manufacturing to logistics

Asset Management standards

Q. What evolution did you see in manufacturing in Belgium?

Q. The ISO5500X standards on asset management have finally

We used to tell our mechanical engineering students, "automotive

arrived. How do you feel about them?

is the place to go", but discrete manufacturing is moving away. As

The great thing about ISO5500X is that it brings everything together.

a country, we are becoming more of a distribution and logistics hub

You get a lot of guidelines and boxes to check, but in the end, it’s still

instead of a manufacturing nation. We still have some small com-

just an ISO. On the shop floor you will have to do it yourself.

panies, they haven't disappeared completely yet. But you cannot compare the current situation to when Renault, Ford, Opel and Vol-

Q. Could it start as an internal check and later become some-

vo were all producing at full capacity. Chemical and petrochemical

thing that companies talk about?

manufacturing are an exception, as they seem to currently be doing

Like most new ISO norms it will be something like that. But it’s nice

ok. Just take a look around the Port of Antwerp.

that it’s there, it means that people actually care about maintenance

When it comes to maintenance, I think besides aviation and nuclear

and maintenance is considered to be important and it's coming up

power plants the chemical industry is still the place where there are

on the agenda. Especially in the boardroom they will realise that

more advanced applications of maintenance management. This is

maintenance is not just a cost factor but a profit contributor. Good

also true in terms of the important area of risk analysis, something

maintenance execution contributes to the profitability, because mon-

that smaller companies often forget.

ey you don't have to spend is in effect money earned!

Q. Has quality assurance changed a lot or do you think it’s be-

The rise of condition monitoring

come sort of a baseline? There has been a big change in quality control. In the late 1980’s,

A recent evolution is the growing importance of condition monitor-

with ISO1900, the reaction was: "wow they have a certificate!". Now-

ing. For a company this is interesting, because you can really opti-

adays, if you don't have one, you can't play. Preventive maintenance

mise your maintenance efforts. If you monitor the condition of your

plays a big role in this as well. If your installation is not properly func-

equipment, you can apply the most urgent maintenance and avoid

tioning, this has an impact on the product quantity and also on your

unnecessary preventive and corrective maintenance

product quality.


But if you introduce this, invest in the tech-

mation you collect. Making intelligent deci-

just like failure modes: if you really want to

nology and the training, hire (expensive) con-

sions based on all your data.

optimise your maintenance, you should be

sultants to interpret the results, management

However, data is still a very touchy subject

aware of all the different failure modes, and

may question it. "It's expensive and there are

because a lot of companies have a lot of

know how they are connected to the main-

no failures, why do we need this?” It can be

data but they are not collecting or storing it in

tenance actions that you are taking. I haven’t

difficult to grasp that this is really due to the

the most useful way. For example, we looked

seen anybody doing that yet.

condition monitoring, and you are most likely

at a given company. They were measuring

saving a lot of money.

the temperature of their machines and they

New skills for technicians

knew that if it was higher than 70 degrees


Q. What was the main reason for the rise

then they had to stop, or otherwise they

Q. Do you think companies need to invest

of condition monitoring? Where will it go?

would have problems. Besides this, they

in these skills?

It started with the technology of course:

were measuring maintenance interventions:

Definitely. Maintenance software is often

the sensors and software that allows you to

when they did preventive maintenance,

used just for recording and accounting pur-

monitor the health status of the machines.

when they did corrective maintenance, ...

poses: how many hours spent on this and

But what is making the difference is not the

But this data was stored all in different data-

how many spare parts used. But this is

technology but what you do with the infor-

bases and using different time buckets! It's

not enough, we need information on failure

‘Unfortunately, it is still sexier to talk about marketing and innovation then to do things in maintenance and technology.’ Liliane Pintelon Head of the Subdivision Maintenance and Health Care Logistics - KU Leuven Centre for Industrial Management / Traffic & Infrastructure

causes, failure modes, etc. – both qualitative

and ultimately make money. That kind of

carefully. For example, they don't realise that

and quantitative analyses are needed.

long term thinking is definitely getting there

there are different techniques for cost esti-

However, there are not many courses around.

and more and more companies are aware of

mation. Students are able to grasp it if you

In engineering education for example we

the importance of it.

explain well, they do understand, but it takes

don't give it a lot of attention. We do have

an extra effort.

one course in maintenance management

Q. Do you think engineering graduates

at KU Leuven, but reliability and availability

are missing the financial aspect and the

Q. Have you seen a change in the way

are not considered to be very important. It's

ability to communicate that to their man-

companies are developing their people?

more about innovating and inventing.


There are more and more institutions like BE-

The other problem is time. If you want to do

We used to have a Master's degree in Indus-

MAS (The Belgian Maintenance Association)

a serious root cause analysis, it takes time.

trial Management, where we tried to fix that

that are organizing courses. I think compa-

It’s not something you do overnight. The

problem. So you have an engineering back-

nies start paying more attention to this. They

same goes for a failure mode effect analysis

ground and you know everything about de-

know that maintenance technicians benefit

(FMEA). These are very powerful, but you

signing but you don’t know anything about

from extra training.

need people, you need data and it takes time.

economic impact so we tried to have some

In the past, when a new installation was in-

Luckily, things are changing, and more

courses in between, but the program has

stalled there was training from the supplier

and more people are becoming aware that

unfortunately been cancelled.

just for production personnel. The mainte-

these things are important. They realise that

I teach a course in engineering econom-

nance team would have to find it all out by

instead of having quick fixes, a root cause

ics and even there, simple things like fixed

themselves. Now there is definitely more

analysis can help you to prevent the failures

and variable cost have to be explained very

awareness that people in maintenance need


‘We are becoming more and more a distribution country and a logistic hub in Europe and less and less a manufacturing nation.’

lifelong learning. There are a lot of techniques they should know like root cause analysis. It’s good that they have, for instance, some background on that, on these optimisation models. They don't need to be financial specialists but must be aware that costs associated with what they do or don’t do. Q. Have companies become more open to participation with your department in recent years? They are open but still it’s difficult to get funding. Projects on inven-


Liliane Pintelon

tion and innovation or marketing are easier to do. When it comes to asset management, there definitely is some progress, they find it interesting, and are willing to provide data, but once you ask for a

requisite for lean manufacturing. Interestingly, in lean maintenance,

contribution to pay for the research it becomes difficult.

many of the things that are now proclaimed as being brand new,

It's also tough to get federal funding because maintenance and asset

were already done by Toyota in the 1950’s and even by Henry Ford

management are not yet seen as distinct fields. For a lot of people

long before that. So I think there are only a few things that are really

the image of a man in an overall, walking around with a wrench and

new, like value stream mapping. This technique is useful e.g. to map

a grease can still persists. When one of my colleagues looked at our

the process of spare parts procurement, storing, picking and using..

work, he was very surprised to see the formulas, and the rigorous

The map you create allows you to consider every step and whether it

academic approach. I'm sure it changed his opinion on the subject.

adds value to the process or not - which is key to lean management.

Academic research and improvement

Q. Are there obvious areas of possible improvement that you see?

Q. What about lean manufacturing and its relationship with

First of all: knowledge management. There is a huge amount of im-

maintenance and asset management?

plicit knowledge with technicians, very good at fixing things, very

I have been looking into lean maintenance, which is in fact a pre-

good at predicting that something will go wrong. But they can have

‘Good maintenance execution contributes to the profitability, because money you don't have to spend is in effect money earned!’ Liliane Pintelon

108 difficulty explaining why they did what they did. Moreover, a lot of

ficult because with an automated production line, if something goes

them are approaching the end of their career, and if they leave, most

wrong the whole line stops. So maintenance becomes very critical

of the time their knowledge is gone too. But it is good that new­

because you can’t afford to have that happen.

comers to maintenance have more of an academic background. The problem is that there are not enough newcomers: there is a dire

Q. There are various metrics that are now being applied for

lack of skilled technicians, all over the world in fact. Maintenance is

measuring asset performance, what are your thoughts on this?

still not the first choice of most engineers. Most of them want to go

I think OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) is still a very important

into manufacturing, R&D or production.

measure. It is nice because you integrate production issues, quality issues, and maintenance issues. Also, for the management it’s easy

Q. Will software become more important?

as you just have to concentrate on one number. I don't know what

With more automation, maintenance becomes easier and more dif-

the best measure is. Ultimately, you should be able to measure the

ficult at the same time. Easier because you have more data to predict

impact maintenance has on the bottom line - making money.

and to make prognosis on the machine's health status. More dif-

KPMG Global Asset Management Competence Center

ISO 5500x: It’s happening! Get your physical assets on the right track in 2014. A global standard for Physical Asset Management has been released: As a subject expert, the KPMG Global Asset Management Center has been involved formally in drawing up the ISO 5500x standard from the beginning of the process. What is happening? For the first time an ISO standard on Asset Management has been launched. The new standard explicitly places assets in a value context, widening the definition of ‘asset’ to include: “Something that has potential or actual value for an organization”.That value can be tangible or intangible, financial or non-financial and includes consideration of asset risk and liabilities. A focus on value: We expect the new standard will accomplish several key goals that are important to asset intensive companies: global benchmarking, integration with finance and accounting, creating value for the bottom line, transparency, board-level awareness and competitive advantage. Companies that are ISO 5500x-compliant may use their accreditation to differentiate themselves from competitors in new business opportunities. A five-step action plan Step 1: Step 2: Step 3: Step 4: Step 5:

Understand why you want to comply Assess your current operations against the standard Create an implementation plan Implementation Accreditation

Even if you have no intention of applying for accreditation, using the guidelines to optimize the whole asset life cycle will help achieve a healthy balance between investments, maintenance, © 2014 KPMG Advisory, a Belgian civil CVBA/SCRL and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.

asset performance and asset risks that can generate real value for the organization. We can help you to implement the new ISO 5500x for a robust, valueadding Asset Management plan, or we can audit your compliancy against the ISO 55001 standard for attestation. To join one of our future information sessions and learn more about the new ISO 5500x, contact one of our experts today. Get your physical assets on the right track!

Daniël Pairon Global Head of KPMG AMCC T: +32 3 821 17 36 E:


Herman Baets Moving towards more European cooperation in terms of maintenance and asset management


After a long career in maintenance and asset

our aim to strike a balance between availabil-

an increase of the federation's power due to

management in the chemical industry, Her-

ity, reliability, productivity, utilisation rate and

having a smaller organisation. The released

man Baets is the chairman of the European

additional costs. In order to achieve this, the

budget can then be used to outsource part

federation of national maintenance societies

right maintenance tasks - every aspect - must

of our activities and to hire professionals; af-

(EFNMS) since October 2013. Baets func-

be defined. The focus lies on efficacy.

ter all, all of us are volunteers and this is our

tions perfectly in this role to shine his light

Maintenance management is about correctly

hobby. This means that the professionals we

on the future of the industry in Europe and

executing the required actions: do the things

hire can truly get things going.

the role of maintenance and asset manage-

right! Emphasis lies on efficiency: appropri-

Furthermore, I would like to focus on our

ment in it.

ate use of people and means so that the

power at the European level. By participat-

actions are performed 'right the first time'.

ing in (subsidised) European collaboration

Q. What is your vision on maintenance

Simply said, maintenance management has

projects, we can achieve part of our objec-

and asset management?

one job: executing the maintenance plan as

tives faster.

I can define both terms in one sentence: 'Do

drawn up by asset management.

the right things right'. Asset management is

Q. Which benefits do the national main-

about 'doing the right things' in managing

tenance federations have when joining

physical assets. When managing high-capital

Q. How do you intend to increase EFNMS'

your European umbrella organisation?

installations for the purpose of making an op-


The foremost benefits are coordination and

timum contribution to the production process,

I intend to reduce the number of board mem-

networks. A European federation has a

reliability and cost-efficacy play a big part. It is

bers drastically resulting in lower costs and

prime part in formulating and recording defi-

nitions. There is a lot of business terminology, but it is important that

long before it will become a problem on the maintenance market in

everyone is on the same wavelength with respect to the definition of

the Netherlands and Germany; especially with respect to the rising

specific terms. EFNMS can then present a standard formulation that

states from the east. Moreover, ageing is one of the biggest threats.

can be translated into the various national organisations. The biggest

I view ageing as a two-fold problem. There is a generation of baby-

benefit still is that you meet other federations and people to compare

boomers about to retire and the fact that the intake of young people

to. For instance, how are things done in Germany or England? How

in technical professions is much too low.

do they operate? Things do not go as well everywhere, but it is a

Moreover, I also see that maintenance is becoming an increas-

learning experience.'

ingly high-tech field. Maintenance works that used to take brawn

The federations should not view the EFNMS as an expertise group,

now requires brains. Moreover, the machines are becoming better

but as the access gate to a network of experts. An example of this

and better, thus requiring less and less maintenance. Sometimes,

is BEMAS, the Belgian Maintenance Association; one of those local

maintenance is only required every seven years. This means that

gates. This also makes it a two-way process: give and take.

the chance you have as a maintenance worker on that machine is reduced. Young maintenance workers have less chances to learn in

Q. What is your mission during your chairmanship?

this way.

With the arrival of the ISO 55000 standards, the time has now really

Ageing also draws in more maintenance workers from other regions

come to bring maintenance and asset management to the level of

(Eastern Europe) to Western Europe. In that case, one validation sys-

policy decisions. Thus, maintenance must find its way in at compa-

tem is required for the knowledge of maintenance from the different

nies' boardrooms. Currently, maintenance much too often is an art

regions in Europe; a kind of Maintenance Skill passport. Currently,

for art's sake enterprise. We will try to show that maintenance is not

it is extremely difficult to obtain this with a degree or certificate from

just a cost item, but an added value. Moreover, I want to make sure

another country. It is not valid here and these people cannot work

that larger companies will put EFNMS realisations into practice. We

at all, even though they have to do work identical to work they did

want to draw these large companies to Europe. The universal knowl-

in their homeland. Every time, they have to run through enormous

edge they posses could also benefit smaller companies, because

administrative hassle to prove this, which costs enormous amounts

that is the only way the entire industry can move forward. It is this

of money. Thankfully, there is now a collaboration project between

branching of companies that can keep the industry in our region. '

the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany to circumvent this and find a solution (MORE4CORE).

Q. How can the challenges for an industrial future best be handled?

Source: article 'Over de grenzen heen' - Josefien D'Haene -

As everyone knows, wage costs are a very big problem; one we

Sectorlink Magazine September - November 2013

certainly cannot ignore in Belgium. However, I believe it will not take


Wim Vancauwenberghe Maintenance and asset management as key enablers of the Industrial Renaissance To wrap up the interviews in this book, Wim Vancauwenberghe, Di-

service providers and equipment manufacturers, but also the gov-

rector of BEMAS, talks about the exciting developments in the world

ernment as a regulator, and education, preparing the maintenance

of maintenance and asset management. He explains how world-

professionals of the future.

class maintenance can turn into reality some of the most important ambitions put forward by EU policymakers.

Q. Nowadays, we are hearing more and more about asset management; how is it different from maintenance?

Q. You have been Director of BEMAS since the year 2000. How

With the arrival of the ISO 55000-standard series, asset manage-

would you describe the field of maintenance?

ment (AM) is getting more and more attention from asset owners,

The first thing you need to realise is that maintenance is every-

not only in the field of infrastructure, where the AM concepts origi-

where, and everybody does it. A lot of things need to be maintained:

nated, but also in manufacturing and process industries. Asset man-

houses, cars, public buildings, infrastructure, manufacturing equip-

agement is looking to optimise the benefits of an asset in each phase

ment, trains... Some estimate that on average about 10 percent of a

of its lifecycle. This is achieved by defining clearly the asset policies

country’s GDP is spent on maintenance. But maintenance is in most

throughout an organisation. Of course maintenance is a major point

cases not a cost for society, but an investment in order to prevent an

of attention. About 80 percent of future maintenance costs are de-

avoidable early replacement. In that sense, maintenance is a major

termined during the design and selection phase of an asset. Then of

contributor to the sustainability of our society.

course maintenance policies need to evolve during the operational

At BEMAS we focus mainly on technical maintenance. The mission

phase in function of the needs of the organisation, which can vary

of this activity is to ensure the highest possible reliable use of an as-

according to external factors (economic, environment, regulations‌)

set or equipment per euro invested, and to prevent technical failures

and the age and lifetime of the asset.

causing safety and environmental incidents.

When you consider all these issues, the maintenance and asset

A lot of stakeholders are involved in these MRO (maintenance, repair

manager becomes a type of risk manager, ensuring that the capital

and overhaul) activities: asset owners across all economic sectors,

invested in equipment is used in the desired way. The bank crisis



has taught us that we need transparency

at a vital point where decisions need to be

Q. Europe is striving for an industrial

and clear policies on how investment risks

taken as to the next stage of a major part of

renaissance. What is the role of mainte-

are managed. We see that shareholders in

the installed base: decommission and close

nance and asset management in this?

companies with important tangible assets

down, replace with new equipment, or invest

BEMAS of course applauds the renewed

on the balance sheet are increasingly calling

in measures to upgrade the equipment and

interest in manufacturing from policymak-

for the same transparency and risk manage-

extend its lifetime. This third option could

ers on all levels. Europe has identified sev-

ment for their invested capital.

prove very beneficial: it requires less invest-

eral strategic areas of innovative investment.

ment capital, saves on natural resources,

Maintenance and asset management are

Q. What are the current challenges in

and allows companies to continue with lo-

highly concerned in several of those. As ex-

NW Europe for maintenance and asset

cal production. In that way, lifetime extension

plained earlier, maintenance is a key enabler


could prove to be the key enabler for the in-

in order for factories of the future to grow.

Due to the economic crisis in recent years,

dustrial implementation of innovations cur-

Furthermore, good maintenance means less

many companies have gotten into a “survival

rently developed in Europe, and the gradual

energy wasted and as such contributes sig-

mode.” They are limiting capital investments

transformation of the current asset base into

nificantly to overall energy efficiency.

in new assets and reducing maintenance

factories of the future.

budgets. Although this strategy is helping

A first area of interest is advanced manufactur-

these companies to remain profitable in the

A third challenge is the ageing technical work-

ing. New production technologies as 3D-print-

short term, they may lose their competitive-

force. In the coming years, technicians from

ing could for instance be used to create spare

ness due to reduced production reliability in

the baby boom generation will retire, taking

parts on site, reducing downtime and eliminat-

the long term. Decisions on postponing or

with them crucial experience and skills. This

ing the necessity to keep spares in stock.

not executing necessary maintenance activi-

evolution will only increase the already large

ties have almost no immediate negative im-

shortage of technically skilled people in our

In the factories of the future, robotics will play

pact, but the buildup of lagging maintenance

field. This shortage is apparently a global

an important role. Low cost but high-tech ro-

and decrease in reliability may prove to be

phenomenon. The availability of a large talent

bots will increasingly replace

very counterproductive in the long term. Be-

pool of highly skilled technicians will become

non-value-adding repetitive labor. As with

ing stuck with unreliable equipment can be-

an even bigger factor in future investment

any other equipment, this next generation of

come even more painful if market conditions

decisions. I am personally convinced that

robots will also need to be maintained, and

change and demand is up.

Europe could compensate handicaps such

continuously improved. The technical de-

as higher labor costs and energy prices if it

partments that are able to achieve the high-

Another concern is the average age of the

invests heavily in STEM education (science,

est “overall robot effectiveness” will generate

assets in European industry. We are now

technology, engineering and mathematics).

an important competitive advantage.


‘Maintenance and asset management will play a crucial role on the economic battleground of the third industrial revolution.’ Wim Vancauwenberghe Director - BEMAS

Q. Europe has a strong focus on innovation. What is the role of maintenance in innovation projects? First of all, it has become clear that innovation requires a strong manufacturing base. The first priority is to keep manufacturing activity here. This is only possible if the European manufacturing sites stay competitive in a global market. As explained before, world-class maintenance and asset management can contribute significantly to achieving this goal. Breakthrough innovations developed in R&D departments need to be manufactured and produced in the end. This means that existing equipment needs to be adapted, or new equipment needs to be installed. The technical department plays a key role in getting this new equipment up and running as soon and as reliably as possible. As we see product lifespan getting shorter and shorter, the availability of a flexible technical team capable of reliably implementing an innovation on


the manufacturing floor becomes an important competitive advantage. Another trend in advanced manufacturing is the use of “big data.” Manufacturing equipment today already generates huge amounts of

A lot of innovations go hand in hand with innovative engineering. We

data, and this will increase even further in the future. Unfortunately,

see that maintenance technicians frequently contribute to in-factory

in a lot of cases the available data is left unattended. Exploiting it

innovation because of their in-depth knowledge of production equip-

with the newest big-data techniques to support maintenance and

ment. As they are continuously present on the manufacturing shop

reliability decisions would result in a higher uptime and lower overall

floor, maintenance technicians are ideally placed to detect opportu-

manufacturing costs. The development of dedicated data standards

nities for improvement and find breakthrough solutions when con-

in the field of maintenance could create a significant synergy for the

fronted with practical manufacturing challenges.

entire European manufacturing industry. Europe also wants to focus on key enabling technologies (KETs).

Q. How is BEMAS contributing to the Industrial Renaissance in

High-performance production is one of them. It goes without saying


that this is impossible without high-performance production reliability.

We work on creating more awareness about maintenance. Ignorance

Final conclusion: maintenance and asset management will play a cru-

of the impact of maintenance is unfortunately quite widespread. As

cial role on the economic battleground of the third industrial revolution.

a consequence, decision-makers in companies don’t always opt for

the best solution; policymakers do not dedicate enough attention to the important economic impact of maintenance; and the general

‘Lifetime extension could prove to be the key enabler for the industrial implementation of innovations currently developed in Europe, and the gradual transformation of the current asset base into factories of the future.’

public is unaware of the exciting career possibilities in our field. We

Wim Vancauwenberghe

To sum it up, BEMAS wants to play a modest, but very significant

are currently participating in the MORE4CORE (M4C) Interreg IVBproject. The most important work package is led by BEMAS and will reveal the economic impact of maintenance and the MRO sector. In order to address the scarcity of highly skilled maintenance professionals, we also intend to create a “maintenance skills passport.” This passport will allow an individual to prove his or her set of clearly defined skills and competences in the field of maintenance. This should increase the mobility of maintenance technicians throughout Europe and also help to identify training needs for the individual in question. The skills passport initiative is also a part of the M4C project and uses, amongst others, the learning outcome competence definitions as developed in Pile-UP, a Leonardo Da Vinci Lifelong Learning program. Finally, we want to continue to inspire and to educate the maintenance and asset-management community in Belgium and Europe. We want to help and motivate them to tackle the challenges they face in managing their current and future assets.

role in turning into reality the ambitious goals of an Industrial Renaissance in Europe.


2rent congragulates BEMAS with its 25th anniversary 25



2rent your full service provider for maintenance shutdowns Call our rental helpline +32 (0)70 220 440 for more information.


25 Years of BEMAS Looking back and looking ahead


During its initial years, BEMAS was run entirely by volunteers. Nev-

BEMAS, the Belgian Maintenance Association vzw-asbl was found-

ertheless, the group succeeded by participating in trade shows and

ed on March 20th 1989 by 10 enthusiastic professionals from dif-

organizing company visits and lectures. These initiatives found fer-

ferent corners of the Belgian maintenance community. We take the

tile ground within the maintenance world. The number of members

opportunity of the publication of this book to celebrate the 25th an-

started to grow.

niversary of the creation of the first Belgian professional association in the field of maintenance.

Professionalisation TIn 2000 Mr. Johan De Coster, the new chairman, decided together

During the 1970s and ’80s, the association ABICE (Association Bel-

with a renewed board to attract Wim Vancauwenberghe to become

ge des Ingénieurs et Chefs d’Entretien - Belgian Association of En-

BEMAS’s director and first full-time employee. This marked the start

gineers and Maintenance Managers) was active, but was abrogated

of a much more professional approach: corporate sponsors were

following the death of its president. For almost a decade, Belgium

found, the number of initiatives grew, and consequently the number

lacked an umbrella organism for professionals and companies ac-

of members started to climb. Cooperation at the European level was

tive in the different fields of technical maintenance. This unfortunate

strengthened when BEMAS took on an active role within the Euro-

period came to an end with the establishment of BEMAS.

pean Federation of National Maintenance Societies (EFNMS).

The constitutive general assembly appointed Professor Robert Lee-

In addition to the conventional study sessions, company visits and

naerts (UCL) as the first chairman of BEMAS. He was later succeed-

trainings for Belgian professionals in technical maintenance, BEMAS

ed by Mr. Roland Vervrangen, at that time maintenance manager at

introduced its Award for Maintenance Manager of the Year, which rap-

the Caterpillar plant in Gosselies.

idly became a coveted award in the maintenance world. Since 1998,


BEMAS has been granting this award for the

This resulted in a new design of the logo and

At the end of 2013, membership had reached

most meritorious maintenance manager and

branding of BEMAS. Also in 2011, BEMAS

almost 750, a new record. In addition to these

his or her team. Every year, this Thursday in

organised the first edition of its Innovation

primary contacts, over the years BEMAS has

June is the meeting date of choice for hun-

Award. With this award, BEMAS promotes

built up a database of several thousands of

dreds of maintenance professionals.

innovations in technical maintenance, and

companies and professionals. To increase

In 2008, BEMAS hosted the EuroMainte-

generates positive momentum with a focus

the efficient management of this database

nance event in Brussels. With the support

on the future of maintenance.

and to make further growth possible, a new

of easyFairs, this edition of this biannual Eu-


website with an incorporated CRM package

ropean maintenance fair became one of the

A stronger back office, extensive commu-

most successful ever, with an exceptionally

nication online and offline, and investments

high turnout for the workshops and lectures

in the further development of activities in

In the beginning of 2014, under the initiative

by international top speakers. The success

Wallonia make BEMAS the cornerstone for

of Vice-Chairman Daniel Vandendaul, BE-

of this event further enhanced BEMAS’s im-

every company and professional active in

MAS has opened an additional office in

age and base.

maintenance and asset management. The

Gosselies, next to an office in Gent, while

association now organises over 50 activi-

the social seat remains in Brussels. With the

Further growth

ties throughout Belgium. Many hundreds of

support of the members, corporate spon-

Under the chairmanship of Mr. Patrick De

members and non-members take part in

sors, devoted volunteers and a motivated

Groote, the number of members grew to

these, thereby fulfilling BEMAS’s main mis-

team of 6 professionals, the board and the

600. In 2011 former chairman Marcus Berg-

sion: to act as the connecting bridge be-

current chairman, Philippe Deneve, want to

er, initiated the new mission and constitution

tween the various stakeholders in the world

set BEMAS on a continued path of growth.

of BEMAS introducing asset management

of maintenance and asset management. By

This will enable BEMAS to fulfill its mission to

next to maintenance as a key point of inter-

sharing knowledge, BEMAS aims to improve

help all stakeholders in the maintenance and

est for BEMAS. The second step was a joint

the professionalism and ultimately the per-

asset management community to tackle the

effort by BEMAS staff and members of the

formance of industrial companies and other

challenges of operating and maintaining as-

board to better define the DNA of BEMAS.

asset owners in Belgium.

sets in the 21st century.

was launched.

MRO for competitive regions in North-West Europe International collaboration has always been

Why this project?

Limited transnational worker mobility reduces

an important part of the BEMAS DNA. By

Global competition is tough and investments

access to expertise. Differences in national

participating in relevant European projects

in European manufacturing facilities are gen-

maintenance norms and standards further

overarching goals can be reached. This is

erally declining. North-West Europe tradi-

fragment markets. The MORE4CORE project

why BEMAS is a partner in the MORE4CORE-

tionally has been the powerhouse of a large

partners jointly represent over 7,000 compa-


number of industries, including Automotive,

nies (EFNMS is representing already 6,500

Chemical and High tech. Production assets

companies) which account for more than

MORE4CORE (abbreviated as M4C) is an

and the workforce are ageing, while invest-

500,000 jobs, and maintain over 57 billion Eu-

International collaboration to strengthen in-

ments shift increasingly to low wage coun-

ros worth of assets. MORE4CORE is the first

novation in the Maintenance, Repair and

tries. Maintenance, Repair and

such integrated partnership in Europe.

Overhaul industries. Partners from four

Overhaul is the multi-disciplinary business

European countries will collaborate to ac-

function responsible for optimal operations (in

Our vision

celerate innovation, education and support

terms of Reliability, Availability, Maintainability

MRO is the key to modern industry. Beyond

policy development in Maintenance, Repair

and Safety) of production assets over their

maintaining productivity, MRO is the enabler

and Overhaul (MRO). The project will bring


for a fast and widespread uptake of smarter,

together industry, service providers, educa-

cleaner, more efficient, higher effectiveness,

tion and government to jointly set out strat-

Maintenance has a key function to enhance

and more sustainable or low energy con-

egies to strengthen the sector and improve

productivity and environmental sustainability.

suming technologies in existing processes.

cross border cooperation. MRO is crucial to

There are barriers to fully use the potential of

Such upgrade of existing systems is increas-

maintain competitiveness of our industries

MRO. Innovation in maintenance of complex

ingly important as manufacturing facilities

and improve sustainability of production pro-

systems lags behind and transnational inno-

as well as infrastructural assets in NW Eu-


vations and R&D cooperation is too limited.

rope are ageing, while economic circum-


PDM congratulates BEMAS with her



anniversary! 123PDM, your partner within fields of: • • • • •

(Risk Based) Asset Management Turnaround Management Design & Engineering Performance Improvement Change Management (OEE improvement/cost reduction, Lean, OpEx. etc)

PDM has a history of more than 40 years experience providing: • • •

Performance Improvement & Change Management Programmes Engineering & Maintenance Support Project Management Services

“Industrial excellence can be attained by combining excellent manufacturing with asset integrity. PDM has developted a continious improvement method and has several proven cases to realise your turnaround! We improve industrial compagnies to become more efficient within the operational costs.” Carlo Schildermans Account Director PDM

stances demand longer and more competitive asset lifecycles. The

often changes need to be made at European level, either between

MORE4CORE project results will contribute to an improved global

public institutions or between industry associations. The partners

competitiveness of key industries in North-West Europe when real-

will work together to increase capacity of MRO industry representa-

izing it’s strategic goals.

tion at international level, with the aim to grow an organisation with permanent representation.

Strategic goals The MORE4CORE project (MRO for COmpetitive REgions) unites in-

Work Packages of the project

dustry, service providers, education and governments to implement

To realise the strategic goals of MORE4CORE, six interrelated work

coherent actions in the field of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul

packages will be executed in the 2.5 year period January 2013 –

resulting in: 

accelerated (transnational) innovation

improved maintenance technicians

mobility (human part, e.g.qualifications, permits)

more standards and regulation to execute maintenance (hardware part, e.g. tooling certificates)

June 2015: 

WP1: Cluster Development; transnational overview of main stakeholders including triple helix (public-private) best practices.

WP2: Transnational MRO insight development; (trans)national MRO Status and Vision at macro level including policy white papers.

WP3: Technology & Process Innovation; transnational Research

improved market integration on a European scale

& Innovation landscape and joined MRO technology requirement

MRO recognised in EU R&D agenda / roadmaps and represented


at EU level

WP4: MRO Human Capital Mobility; Development of an EU qualification framework for Maintenance and ECVET pilot.

What is needed to improve

Transnational cooperation is needed to provide insight in the most

MRO standards and create common categorisation for MRO ser-

impactful differences and set in motion the process of alignment (industries, education institutes and government together). It is also

WP5: Market Integration; Prioritise cases for normalisation of vices across NW Europe.

WP6: Anchoring the MRO agenda; create and implement organi-

needed to develop a common framework to assess skills without

sational model and transnational activities per country (decentral-

changing the national education systems. To achieve these goals,

ised) as well as at EU / EFNMS level (centralised).



Acknowledgements We would like to thank the interviewees and contributors for their insights: Herman Baets - Efnms

Ruud Krinkels - Krinkels

Markus Berger - Elia

Didier Leroy - Toyota

Wim De Clercq - Electrabel (Gdf Suez)

Alain Lycops - Solvay

Wouter De Geest - Basf

Rudi Maerschalck - Mivb/Stib

Olivier De Weck - Mit

Jacques Marbehant - Ucb

Koenraad Debackere - Ku Leuven

Sven Pieters - Barry Callebaut

Philippe Deneve - Cofely Fabricom (Gdf Suez)

Liliane Pintelon - Ku Leuven

Didier Herbert - Dg Enterprise & Industry

Herman Van Rompuy - European Council

Goedele Heylen - Niko

Wim Vancauwenberghe – Bemas

We would also like to thank the writers and editors for their contributions: Leontien De Vos

Maaike Thoen

Josefien D'Haene

Bavo Van Eyken

Colin Hensley

Jeroen Verlonje

Piet Steel We thank the Board of Directors of BEMAS for aiding and supporting in the creation of this book, as well as our partners in the MORE4CORE-project: BOM, Development agency of the province of Noord-Brabant, the Netherlands DI-WCM, Dutch Institute – World Class Maintenance MEC, Maintenance Education Consortium VOKA, Chamber of Commerce Antwerpen – Waasland WVIS, German Economic Association for Industrial Services AFIM, Association of French Maintenance Engineers EFNMS, European Federation of National Maintenance Societies


We would like to thank the following companies for their valued support: 2rent



Maintenance Partners

Atlas Copco


Cofely Fabricom (GDF Suez)






This book is co-financed by:

Printed on:

Colofon BEMAS The Belgian Maintenance Association vzw-asbl

Kim Speleman – Elma Multimedia

Bd. A. Reyerslaan 80

Bedrijvenlaan 1

1030 Brussel

2800 Mechelen


015 55 88 88

Concept & lay-out

128 Interviewers


Colin Hensley – Hensley Partners

Leontien De Vos

Maaike Thoen – Mauhaus Communications

Bavo Van Eyken

Josefien D’Haene – Sectorlink Magazine

Jeroen Verlonje

‘Special thanks to all the technicians that maintain the equipment used to produce this book.‘ the BEMAS-team

ISBN 9789090281223

Anniversary book commemorating the 25 year jubilee of BEMAS Belgian Maintenance Association vzw-asbl

Profile for Bavo Van Eyken

Industrial renaissance in north west europe the key role of maintenance and asset management  

The economic crisis of the last few years made it painfully clear that an economy cannot thrive on a service industry alone. After decades o...

Industrial renaissance in north west europe the key role of maintenance and asset management  

The economic crisis of the last few years made it painfully clear that an economy cannot thrive on a service industry alone. After decades o...