Maintenance work in the process industry is increasingly being outsourced or carried out in combination with a regular group of specialist contractors. At the large chemical and petrochemical complexes in the southwest of the Netherlands, over the years more and more service providers have become virtually permanently based at the client’s premises.
At the Dow Benelux site in Terneuzen, some 25 maintenance firms are active every day. Many of them have their own offices, workshops, transport vehicles and supporting facilities. The contractor parks have gradually grown with the local factories, and usually consists of temporary buildings.
The current situation is not simply a matter of a few companies being asked to carry out work now and then. It in fact involves permanent or semi-permanent establishments of all kinds of businesses, employing hundreds of people to carry out service and maintenance work at the complex process installations.
This typical on-site working method of maintenance companies for the process industry suffers from the following problems:
- limited knowledge-sharing and development;
- limited opportunities for ‘on the job’ education and training;
- little willingness to invest in on-site contractor facilities;
- limited business growth; working for third parties is not possible from an on-site contractor park;
- the existing set-up restricts the image presented to employees and employee motivation.
For this reason, a project plan has been set up to investigate the feasibility of creating a Maintenance Valuepark, where maintenance firms, in combination with education and training, can work together to eliminate these problems. This should ultimately give rise to a business plan for developing the Maintenance Valuepark. Headed by a project consultant (Minase of Tilburg), more than 20 maintenance firms, the regional process industry, educational institutions, businesses, the regional government and ‘Economic Incentive Zeeland’ (Economische impuls Zeeland) are working together to achieve this. The aim is to have this final business plan completed at the end of 2008/early 2009, after which a start can be made with its implementation as soon as possible. A grant for setting up this business plan has been obtained within the framework of the ‘Peaks in the Delta’.