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.

Coherence

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

Crucible

“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.