WCM Summer School 2024 – Royal Schiphol Group: ‘If it wasn’t so complex, we would have solved it long ago’

28 May 2024

The case of the WCM Summer School this summer revolves around Schiphol Airport’s C-Pier renovation project. The issue the participants will be working on has a technical and organisational aspect, explains Ron Wever. “The idea is to think about this together at a high tactical and strategic level during the WCM Summer School.”

The C-pier was the focus of the WCM Summer School in 2016. At the time, more from the substantive angle of how long-term value can be created through renovation. Technical operations manager Asset Management Wever: ” This summer it is more about the organisational perspective, namely: how does an infrastructure organisation steer towards long-term integral value? What knowledge, competences and set-up is needed for that? Useful insights at the time were: when the C pier is replaced, take into account not only the wishes and requirements of stakeholders now, but also future ones. After all, assets are there for decades. In short, make sure the building can easily keep changing with (inevitable) changing stakeholder needs.”

Ron Wever: “Now is the time to let ‘the magic’ return at Schiphol: high-quality assets that contribute to an optimal travel experience. We want to accelerate in that now and the WCM Summer School can help us do that.”

The challenge

Schiphol is currently undergoing an organisational change in the asset management field. Three departments, namely Asset management, Portfolio management and Projects, which previously worked independently from their own perspectives, have been brought together under the umbrella of Schiphol Infrastructure. Wever: “How do you ideally get these different departments to work together, from a life-cycle perspective, to monitor and facilitate Schiphol’s objectives? We are still used to working from our old departments. How do we bring those things together? In this regard, asset management at Schiphol is already a complex task from a basic perspective. It involves a huge number of assets and the airport has to deal with various (inter)national regulations and a large number of stakeholders, each with their own interests.


The renovation of pier C is now scheduled for 2027. This is possible because the new A pier is nearing completion, creating ‘sliding room’. “So the technical side of the case is definitely there. It is important to upgrade the C pier to the latest industry standards in sustainability and energy efficiency and the latest facilities to enhance the passenger experience and meet the latest quality standards. The question we ask ourselves is: what do you need to do to best facilitate our customers, the airlines and passengers? The tighter we manage to plan the renovation, the better it is for life cycle management. But tight planning, in turn, is at odds with having to keep the airport open. What pain do we take now, to remain a high-quality airport in the future?”

Shaping the future for Schiphol Infrastructure


“So we are changing as an organisation. During the Summer School, we bring in a number of topics related to that. The question we ask is how participants look at our task. What form of design do they choose for our issues? Is our vision appropriate or are there other possibilities we might overlook? What ideas and experiences do they bring in from their study or work situation? Incidentally, we do not want to make the case too specific at the front so as not to restrict the creativity of the participants. We hope for a melting pot of participants who, each from their own perspective, will help think of a way to provide input for the ‘challenge’. On the one hand, we hope this will enrich our approach, while the participants will in turn learn from our vision and our way of working.”

Exquisite opportunity

The Summer School is an excellent opportunity to gain new asset management knowledge in a short time, thinks WCM Summer School director Jan Braaksma. “Participants gain insight into the state-of-the-art asset management processes of a major airport. A special group of professors share knowledge in workshops and participants learn from each other. A visit to the pier is also on the programme in order to get all aspects above board. Moreover, during the week, participants lay the foundations for a great network from which they can benefit for years to come.”

Braaksma: “Usually, as an employee, you are part of a process like this. The Schiphol case teaches participants during the Summer School to think together at a high tactical and strategic level about the best approach. You look further ahead together. That produces the asset manager of the future.”

This year’s WCM Summer School will take place from 29 July to 2 August at the Generaal-Majoor Kootkazerne in Stroe. For more information, visit the Summer School website.

WCM Summer School 2024 – apply for June 14th! (deadline extended)

Are you a young professional (within 10 years after graduation) or technical Master/PhD student or, with a special interest in Maintenance Management & Engineering, then apply to the 13th edition (before June 14th) of our WCM Summer School 2024 (July 29th – August 2nd, 2024) and challenge yourself in our exciting program. 

“Challenge yourself in our multi-disciplinary Summer School on Maintenance Management & Engineering. Satisfy intellectual curiosity, gain new professional skills in the area of Maintenance and extend your professional network by joining the WCM Summer School″ (prof. dr. H. Akkermans, and director World Class Maintenance)

Please click here for a short movie about the WCM Summer School (Dutch)

You will learn about the exciting world of maintenance with all its aspects through our workshops on state of the art maintenance tools and approaches. Knowledge gained will be applied immediately as your analytical skills and creativity will be tested to its limits when you are solving the problems presented in our real life case study.

Royal Schiphol Group case

Royal Schiphol Group will provide a real business case on asset management at a major airport. Royal Schiphol Group has a significant project portfolio that includes expansion projects as well as major renovation projects. The main question and challenge for you during the summer school is to think about how Royal Schiphol Group can optimise its asset management processes for its renovation projects. These improvements should help to speed up maintenance and the modernisation of Schiphol Airport while it continues to operate. The results of your work will help Royal Schiphol Group to create maximum value for its stakeholders.

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‘It is admirable to see how people were able to put down such analyses and solutions in five days’

This year’s study week at the barracks in Stroe concluded on 4 August with the election of the best solution. The five student teams with a total of 27 participants of different nationalities are diverse in composition. Asset owners like Shell and NS and knowledge institutions like Avans Hogeschool, University of Twente and University of Hasselt are represented, as well as service providers like Spie and Ilias. Staff from the Ministry of Defence are also taking part. Today, the teams will present their proposal to defence representatives and the public.

Before that, Jan Braaksma, director of the WCM Summer School, opened the closing ceremony by explaining the WCM Summer School. The summer study week on smart maintenance is a partnership of seven Dutch universities, the Ministry of Defence and World Class Maintenance (WCM). The target group consists of young professionals with up to 10 years of work experience, supplemented by college and university students who are in the final part of their studies. WCM Summer School is open to members and non-members of WCM.

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Gasunie case puts WCM Summer School participants to the test

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As part of the energy transition, Gasunie’s entire transport network must be converted and/or renewed. This is an investment running into billions, which is subject to time pressure, involves many uncertainties and has to deal with changing frameworks. “The situation in Ukraine is of course a shining example. Developments are exceptionally fast these days, also in technology. It is all less predictable than before. You want to look far ahead, but within that you have to be as flexible as possible”, Strikwerda explains.

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Interview Bianca Coolen on 2021 case: The Summer School helps to take a wider view

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Bianca Coolen – Heijmans

“DaeS is new, new, new; it is new in the way of cooperation, in the form of contract, in the contract period of twenty years, and also the techniques we want to apply are new. We are trying to apply techniques that will not get in the way of future developments. For example, we are laying a glass fibre network with more fibres than are currently required. Because who knows how much data we will be sending in twenty years’ time,” says Coolen.

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