“When I started at Bostec, the agency had around 25 project managers,” Schellekens begins, “so it was a bit different from the large KPN that I came from. I quickly felt at home within the team, where the atmosphere was pleasant and personal. The fact that today – 12.5 years later – I am still looking forward to Bostec has a lot to do with the challenging and varied work. I am constantly busy with interesting assignments for diverse clients – such as Achmea, UPC and also my former employer KPN, where I supervised a complete implementation of the triple play service in the wholesale market, among other things. This variety of jobs ensures that the work never gets boring.”
What also helps is that Bostec’s focus has continued to develop, as has Schellekens’s own role: “Initially we focused mainly on project management. In the years that followed, we also became involved in consultancy, whereby process optimisation forms the overarching theme. We serve clients from three sectors: healthcare, mobility and – since about two years – industry. As team leader, I am responsible for setting up the new practice.”
On average, the team leader spends about two days a week on internal matters such as bringing in new clients from manufacturing companies, machine builders and food producers, among others, and developing propositions. The other three days are spent carrying out assignments for customers.
Bostec currently has three propositions for the industry: “With the proposition data-driven process optimisation we focus on improving operational business processes, especially in the process industry. With the proposition chain management and logistical process optimisation, we help customers to efficiently set up the production processes at the customer’s location and in coordination with our customer’s customers and suppliers. We also help solve issues related to digital transformation,” Schellekens explains.
“This is a fairly diverse playing field, but increasingly it involves the latest technological applications, often summarised as ‘Industry 4.0’,” he continues. “You can think of solutions in the field of IoT, AI, robotics and other forms of automation. An important point on which Bostec distinguishes itself from fellow consultancy agencies is that Bostec not only provides advice, but also carries out the implementation. Together with Axians and Actemium, we can pick up processes in the industry in the production and office environments.”
More productive through data
The use of data is often central in such state-of-the-art solutions. Schellekens: “A good example of the value that data can bring is our assignment for DVNutrition. This is a company that produces high-quality powdered proteins from whey – a by-product of cheese-making. These proteins are used in the pharmaceutical and food industries – think, for example, of those protein shakes in the gym. After the protein has been extracted from the whey, permeate remains. The powder from this is used again in the animal feed industry.”
“Last year, DVNutrition set itself the goal of increasing production by 10% without having to make major investments in the production process. To achieve this, a data analysis was carried out to identify the various bottlenecks within the production process. In addition, the operators and planners were provided with a tool that gave them more insight into their actions and their effects. In this way, we were able to achieve the envisaged 10% increase in production, purely through the smart use of data.”
“To achieve such a result, it is crucial to consider the entire ‘technology, processes and people’ triangle,” continues Schellekens. “With just the technology, of course, you are far from there. The processes must be monitored and, most importantly, the people within the organisation are of course the key factor in any change. The importance of the continuous connection between technology, process and people is also expressed in the triangle in our logo.”
The DVNutrition assignment is also a good example of how Bostec works with its two sister companies, Actemium and Axians. “The three of us are part of the large VINCI,” a global technology service provider with some 200,000 employees. “Where we as Bostec are specialised in project management and consultancy, Actemium focuses on the technical processes and Axians specialises in IT and data analysis. At DVNutrutions we worked closely together, as we do with more clients. When we do not have a certain technological expertise in-house, we can call on them. Together we can offer an integrated package of services,” explains Schellekens.
“At a high abstraction level of process improvement, in a way it doesn’t even matter that much which industry it is: we always look at ways in which the process within an organisation can be streamlined.”
After his first years in the industrial sector, Schellekens can look back on some great assignments. Besides DVNutrition, the team helped Sekisui Alveo – a producer of high-quality foam used in the automotive industry – with the positioning of its production lines, logistics flow and material handling. In addition, for example, recycler Sims Recycling Solutions was supported in optimising the logistics flow.
While the industrial sector naturally has major differences with the healthcare and mobility sectors, Schellekens also sees important similarities: “At a high abstraction level of process improvement, in a way it doesn’t even matter that much which sector it is: we always look for ways to streamline the process within an organisation. For example, within each sector we can deploy a ‘digital twin’, a digital copy of the organisation with which the work processes can be simulated. This allows us to identify bottlenecks and study the effects of possible changes.
However, each sector does offer its own challenges. “What you notice is that within the industrial sector people often still work in silos,” notes Schellekens. “The production facilities, for example, are largely separate from the office environment. You may be able to achieve a 10% improvement in efficiency within production, but it’s possible that viewed across the whole organisation there’s only a 2% improvement. We then ensure that more thought is given to the entire chain. It is also important to involve all parties concerned in the process, such as customers and suppliers. In this way, you can ensure that the organisation as a whole benefits from the process optimisations.”
Looking ahead, Schellekens wants to expand Bostec’s Industry team considerably in the coming period. “The biggest challenge here is the current tight labour market,” he says. “Recruitment of starters is still going well. We do this by organising a recruitment day for young professionals together with Axians, among other things. We also have a good relationship with TU Delft, whose master’s students we welcome every year at Bostec. In this way we are able to attract many young talents. However, we are also looking for seniors and they are more difficult to find. Of course, we do not want to compromise on quality, so we continue to set high standards for candidates.”
“Fortunately, we also have a flexible shell of experts from our network,” Schellekens continues. “We can deploy them when necessary. And the most important thing is that the clients in the sector are already finding us well, so our team is facing the future with great confidence and enthusiasm.”