Deepened with Van Werven

16 August 2022

Van Werven is a versatile service provider in the field of infra and recycling with some 450 permanent employees. The three brothers who continue the family business from Oldebroek together are working on sustainability on a daily basis. The first electric Doosan excavators have been ordered. ''If you want to pass the company on to the next generation, you have to,'' said director Cor van Werven.

Continuing family business

After the war, grandfather Willem van Werven began as a self-employed worker sharing a tractor with other farmers. He eventually ended up in the construction business, and the company made tremendous growth in 75 years. Grandsons Cor, Herbert and Wilfred now continue it. Cor: ''Because our father died young, it happened quickly. But we didn't end up here unintentionally; we get along very well.'' Cor hopes one day to pass the business on to the fourth generation. ''The children love being at the business. Our eldest sons even work af regularly already in the business."

Versatile

"One of Van Werven's biggest branches is infra," Cor explains. The company has also been engaged in recycling construction and demolition waste, wood, green waste and soil for more than forty years. ''Fifteen years ago we also started recycling plastics. That started as an experiment, but has really taken off. We now have six branches abroad and want to expand this even further.'' Van Werven also has a subsidiary: Heicom. Heicom is a producer of soil improvers and substrates with which the most challenging environments - such as cities, parks and sports fields - become and stay green.

Not a contractor, but a service provider

''Our motto is still: we are not a main contractor, but we are supportive as a service provider or subcontractor,'' Cor says. As a result, we sometimes have to say no to nice assignments. ''But that is a very conscious choice,'' says Reinard van Wijhe, operations manager. ''Main contractors are our clients; we cannot and do not want to become competitors with them.''

Flexibility

''From cranes to shovels and dumpers to rollers, our machinery fleet includes some four hundred machines," says Cor. ''That makes us flexible and versatile. When it comes to capacity and night and weekend work, we can offer a lot. When a contractor calls and says, 'I need five excavators and six wheel loaders tomorrow,' they're just there tomorrow.' Reinard: ''We can handle a lot and always come up with a suitable solution.''

Customer care

What makes them unique at Van Werven is that they directly deliver the complete package. Not only do they have a wide range of machines (with or without GPS); they also supply attachments, road plates, building materials and dispose of waste. Cor: ''We unburden the customer. That's where our strength lies.''

Machinists are ambassadors

''That complete package cannot be achieved without very loyal employees,'' said Cor. Reinard: ''They are our ambassadors. We rent the machine, but they have to do the work and represent us. Every operator is therefore equally dear to us and must enjoy sitting on his machine.'' We do have to choose unity from time to time. For example, not every operator can choose a different brand of tires.

Doosan DX140W-7 mobile excavator

Van Werven's machinery fleet consists of a wide range of machines, including a new Doosan DX140W-7 mobile excavator. A "mighty fine machine" according to operator Alex van Kolthoorn, who has now been with van Werven for 28 years. Previously, he had operated a DX140W-5 mobile excavator. He says the difference with the old one is enormous. The SMP rotary attachment with gripper helps. ''It picks up very quietly, both from the side and frontally.'' The updated seat is also to his liking. In short: I am wild about it. Even others who have tested it think it's fantastic.

Wiejelo lubrication system

One of the options on Alex's machine is an automatic lubrication system from Wiejelo. This has an integrated timer, with which the lubrication time can be adjusted to the second. ''I no longer have to worry about it,'' Alex says. That's convenient for him because, due to muscle problems, he finds it difficult to hold a grease gun for long periods of time. ''I work a lot with road workers, so adjusting the lubrication system to your work is important. That works well this way.''

Digitizing

Van Werven is progressive in terms of digitalization. Machinists fill in their hours via an app. ''Those are approved the next day,'' says Reinard. ''We want to go even further and also put medical examinations and certificates of drivers in the app. We keep track of those now, but the next step is to bundle everything, including the inspections of the machines. That way we will have a real-time overview of all the data.

Emission-free construction site

Van Werven already has two Doosan DX165W electric mobile excavators on order from Staad. At Van Werven, they see sustainability as a dire necessity. Sustainability is part of their DNA: they recycle, demolish circularly and even already have a concrete plan for a zero-emission construction site.

Mobile battery boxes

Mobile battery boxes ''Anyone can buy an electric machine, but often on-site charging is a challenge,'' said Reinard. As a solution, Van Werven has devised mobile battery boxes of 115 KwH, which can be linked together. They provide flexible, sustainable and safe electricity and can be used anywhere. The battery percentage and consumption can be viewed via an app. If the battery box is empty, they exchange it for a full one from their energy hub in time. This ensures there is ample capacity on the construction site. "At our sites in Oldebroek and Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, we are also creating charging squares for charging battery boxes, machines and cars.

Looking generation ahead

''Those investments are exciting, but we have faith in them,'' says Cor. ''If we didn't believe in them, we wouldn't have bought an electric machine. Besides, we are not a publicly traded company. So we are not looking three months ahead, but a whole generation. That's what we're working for now.'' 

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