Case: Divisional model strengthens business focus
In March 2014 Boskalis announced a review of its organizational structure as part of the Corporate Business Plan 2014-2016. given the strong growth in the past years the step was a condition for enabling further growth in a responsible way. As from 1 January 2015 Boskalis comprises three divisions: Dredging & inland infra, Offshore Energy and Towage & Salvage.
“As a result of the acquisitions of SMIT, MNO Vervat, Dockwise and Fairmount our organization has grown considerably in a short space of time and the business structure and processes have become more complex,” said Group HR director Jan den Hartog. “This necessitated a review of our original organizational structure. One of the results of this review has been the introduction of a divisional model in which each division has its own operational support functions, such as tendering, engineering, fleet management and crewing. We started working out the details of the new structure in the spring of 2014 with the actual implementation taking place on 1 January 2015.”
The three-division structure is based on the business-speci.c characteristics and success factors of the divisions’ different activities. “The new operational model allows us to further streamline the business units and reinforce the focus on clients and projects. On Offshore Energy projects the emphasis is different than for dredging,” explained Den Hartog. “As an indication, on an offshore project over 80% of the available time and resources is spent on calculations and precision engineering, with the actual execution only taking up a relatively small part in comparison. In the case of most dredging projects this ratio is reversed.” The activities of the divisions are also characterized by for example the deployment of own equipment within the division.
“Although the divisions work autonomously from one another, where possible we pool the competencies,” continued Den Hartog. “There is a lot of of scope for cross-pollination by using each other’s knowledge and expertise.” Recent offshore projects such as Malampaya, DolWin II and Wikinger demonstrate that the various specialisms complement each other well. The broad knowledge surrounding survey techniques gleaned from dredging and our many years of experience in the area of soil mechanics can be applied to great effect on offshore Transport & Installation projects. On the Suez Canal expansion the disciplines also reinforce one another, for example during the comprehensive mobilization, which involved the deployment of several Dockwise transport vessels. Den Hartog emphasized that synergy between the divisions is not an end in itself. “We work together where we can, but the divisions perform their activities completely autonomously,” he said. “To enable this, tasks which were previously handled at group level, such as tendering, engineering and crewing, have now been transferred to the divisions. This results in clear ownership of people and equipment, and enables us to focus more effectively on the speci.c demands of the various markets.”
The various acquisitions have resulted in a strong increase in the number of employees in light of which the Papendrecht campus has undergone major expansion with a new office building. “In January 2015 we embarked on a major relocation plan to ensure that everyone literally and figuratively got their own place in the new divisional structure,” said Den Hartog. “First of all, in February 2015 the employees of the Dredging & Inland Infra division moved into the new building where all the division’s disciplines are housed together under the same roof. This paved the way for the move of the Dockwise and Fairmount employees to Papendrecht, who form part of the Offshore Energy division, which also has its own building on the campus. The entire relocation operation will be completed in the second quarter of 2015.”
Along with the implementation of the new organizational structure Boskalis has started harmonizing various business processes and support systems, a process in which the drive for efficiency and good information provision and communication are key. “An important part of this process is aligning the various ICT applications,” said Den Hartog. “We have started implementing a new ERP system (Enterprise Resource Planning) to replace the various systems used by the former companies. As part of this process the various HR systems, which are currently still in use, will be replaced by a single integrated employee information system.”
The Boskalis activities relating to towage services and salvage work were transferred to the Towage & Salvage division with effect from 1 January 2015. “In practice not a lot will change for this division,” said Den Hartog. Furthermore he does not expect the introduction of the divisional model to create an ‘island culture’ within Boskalis. “On the contrary,” he said. “The .ndings of the internal culture survey, which we conducted prior to this process, show a great deal of similarity between the profiles of the Boskalis employees and those of their colleagues at the relevant companies. We expect that the introduction of the divisional model can reinforce the cohesion already present.”
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