Strukton Rail is a full service provider of rail systems in Europe and it is one of the five companies of Strukton. In the Netherlands and other European countries it is working on the other infrastructure, rolling stock and machinery. Peter Slappendel as the Head of Logistics explains why this large organization completed 2010 correctly as Intersafe approached with the question of how the dilemma of choosing the right clothes and manufacturing of clothes could be better organized. ‘Around that time it was known that the relationship with our former supplier of personal protective equipment (PPE) would finish. Actually the name of Intersafe appeared quite quickly, because we knew that Strukton Civil, Construction and WorkSphere companies were very satisfied here. We also knew that the employees of the other Strukton companies were enthusiastic, and had the quality and comfort of the clothing if we speak about the appearance. That was an important signal, because acceptance in the workplace is very important. So it would be logical if it goes along with the current contract between Strukton and Intersafe. Upon closer inspection it appeared that there is no need to work in such manner. The PPE-package of other Strukton companies was heavily influenced by the work of Strukton Worksphere. Soon we came to the analysis of the things which are related to the design and quality as important criteria in other operating companies. Strukton Rail has a lot of night work which is a signal to the importance. Of course such work activities as welding and grinding set different requirements on protective clothing. Therefore the choice for Intersafe was quite logical but we still have to ensure the transition.’
Making choices and streamlines
On behalf of Intersafe the Key Account Manager Leon Lengkeek was involved in the procedure subsequently defined by Strukton Rail from the first moment. 'The first really sensible thing to be found for Strukton Rail was to disassemble all the involved parties. Each division has its own needs and expectations. We have mapped out these things and we have found an ability to make connections with what we have done for the other Strukton operating companies for a long time. In this way we were able to make a very thin package for all protective clothing. At first Strukton had five jeans in the package, but it is limited to one type. We have reduced the whole package from sixty-five different pieces of clothing to about thirty.’ Peter Slappendel adds: "This was a good time to make an other package with a hundred and eighty steps. In the past we went from a thick shell, with almost absent underneath. Now it is built up from layers of clothing. Therefore it is much easier to anybody to dress in order to match the conditions, such as hot or cold.' After the whole package was carefully compiled, it was time for the next step: people connect the packages and organize aan pakketten koppelen.
Peter Slappendel vividly remembers how the PPE were ordered and delivered in the past. "We had to spend lots of time for it and often it went too wrong. Because all employees from our offices had to send a paper orderlist from home. These which they filled in and the returned lists were sent to the someone in the offices and put to the supplier. That was quite often wrong. The returns were flying back and forth. The return shipments were flying over and over again.' Lorette van Leuven from the Customer Services at Intersafe wants to add something. 'We can provide Strukton Rail with a system that offer greater efficiency. Employees will receive a letter at home with a login code. After that they go to a secure website, www.mijnpbmpakket.eu. There they can very easy introduce themselves as they want. Anyone has personally spend a maximum number of points assigned for the protective clothing and that points they can spend at their own will. Each makes his own choice. The margin of error is minimal.’ Peter Slappendel: ‘also the delivery of the protective clothing is much better organized now. The protective clothing is offered to people at home. If they are not at home, it will be presented once more later. So there is much more control over the process than, for example, if you work with a warehouse from your own offices. And it is interesting that we have the correspondence relating to PPE always brought via Intersafe. If our employees receive the mail from Intersafe, they know: this is about my PPE. And that's very important for them.’
Clothing is emotion
‘The move to other PPE and then even to another supplier, which is really a cultural shift,' says Peter Slappendel. ‘You realize yourself when the connected people can get to a certain way of ordering and to the clothes they wear. If you always have had that particular overalls, you want no more. So when we came with a black jeans, we are digging our heels in. And look, that now they are even asking. Acceptance is very important. Because what you have to dress if you belong to people who do not want to wear or not able to deal with it?' It is also why we have tried to build the package so that protective clothing is suitable for many functions as possible. There is an overall by both welders and track pads used. For the track pad that is some of the work within the "overkill", but if that track pad layer is situated close to a welder or it is grinding itself, it is required again. Then you could use a second overall offer, but that will not work. These will be not supported.
Meanwhile Strukton Rail and Intersafe have evaluated everything again and Peter Slappendel see that the expectations are met. ‘The process is now much more structured. Just consider the fact that anyone is no longer busy for three months in our offices to get everything in order. This is the first victory. We also have created much more clarity for employees. There is no more space to the left or right to attempt to get some extra clothes, which happening previously. Also we have a lot of control on the existing PPE. These items should be ordered one time every two years. Think about work shoes for track pads. If there is a need to replace it earlier, then it must always be reported. In such case we should investigate the reasons for the earlier replacement. So you can discover some problems with the feathers of some track pads, but that should not be. It is not the fact that these shoes are so quickly broken, but eventually the ankles of the track pad. With Intersafe we have a partner who has brought an order, tranquility or structure. Only then you are able to make improvements. So we can now look at the fact of more synergy between Strukton operating companies to be realized. So you can scale much advantage and the burden is reduced for our people.’