A new approach to getting the HVAC you always wanted
– by Martijn Koelewijn, 06/09/19
Emma looks tense. Little drops of sweat start to form on her forehead as the dentist moves closer. “Open your mouth a little wider dear.”
What does a dental visit have to do with our newest innovation? Find out how in this blog…
Different ways to innovate
A common mistake people make is to think that a company either innovates or stands still. There are many types and levels of innovation which can be achieved at a variety of levels.
For instance, there are revolutionary innovations – a groundbreaking invention like the arrival of smartphones a decade ago or the birth of social media.
Then there is gradual product innovation, like faster processors, better smartphone cameras or more energy-efficient chillers – this improves products while leaving them unchanged at their core.
The topic of this blog is an innovation in business operations. Now, that may sound boring, but I promise you’ll like this: it’s the starting point of ultimately achieving a much better HVAC product.
The innovation I want to talk about is product lifecycle management (PLM).
Why small businesses have an advantage
To get a better picture of PLM, I first want to take a step back and talk about the efficiency advantages that smaller, more agile companies have compared to clunky, bureaucratic big firms such as multinationals.
This efficiency enables small companies to grow and hire more employees for different tasks. One project group turns into five, each with its own bunch of engineers and draftsmen eventually becoming a big company. The main issue with large companies is that they become unwieldy and bureaucratic.
At Heinen & Hopman we have a strategic way of looking at PLM. Over half a century, we have grown from a small engineering company to a multinational with worldwide subsidiaries. We didn’t turn into a massive unwieldy company because we kept in mind that prevention is better than cure.
Also our clients are relying more and more on our expertise and knowledge. Expecting that we not only build an HVAC system, but really integrate into the vessel. Blend it in. Making it part of the comprehensive body.
PLM helps us keep things fresh within the organisation by making things lighter and more efficient, and continuously improving the management of our intellectual assets.
What are intellectual assets?
Building an HVAC system is a process that includes many stages, during which a lot of information is generated, stored and used. This information is what we call intellectual assets, and it includes items like:
- product specifications
- technical drawings
- building instructions
- rules & regulations
And there are many more. This knowledge is part of a company’s accumulated heritage. The first step in PLM is to archive intellectual assets and store them in a single library. Using product data management, we place all the information in a vault. This provides multiple advantages:
- immediacy: information is always up to date;
- uniformity: the definition of a given asset is the same across the company;
- continuity: even if a key employee isn’t available, the information which they produce or manage is stored in the vault;
- time saving: the whole history of an asset is only a click away, and
- many other improvements that improve efficiency for both us and our customers.
An everyday example
Let’s go back to Emma, who is sitting nervously in the dentist’s chair. Before she even entered the room, the dentist checked her profile. Although she has switched dentists multiple times, or maybe even changed her name, her details are up to date and correct.
Everything is recorded and the most recent data is available. This information enables the dentist to quickly determine what to do next.
PLM has the same goal. No matter if a vessel has changed names, owners or even shipping companies, the most recent information is always close to hand. This can include the compressor that’s been installed, the revisions the engine room fans have gone through or the servicing that’s been done in the past.
PLM enables us to monitor the lifecycle of your product from birth to retirement – and we promise it won’t be like going to the dentist.
Martijn Koelewijn | Project Manager
Martijn Koelewijn has been working at Heinen & Hopman since 2006. Starting out as an intern in the workshop followed by a function as draftsman, he gained valuable HVAC experience in the maritime industry. Martijn later worked his way up to project engineer and worked as a project coordinator in Germany before he moved to Brazil to manage Heinen & Hopman Brazil for five years. He returned to our headquarters in 2018 and since then has been working as a project manager for various navy projects.