Ploegam – started in 1987 as a small family business in Vinkel – is today a major player in large-scale earthmoving. “We have grown towards that,” says Chris Ploegmakers. Chris and his brother Gijs own the fast-growing company. With 230 people now employed, their excavators are increasingly becoming part of their organisation: “We are so much deeper into the work. Literally and figuratively."
Brother Gijs mainly does the preliminary phase. “He is mainly concerned with bringing in our works,” says Chris. “I'm on the technical, work-related side and I take care of purchasing equipment, for example. Because we have a lot of major works that are fixed for the coming years, we can invest in new machines. When ordering a machine, we look at what we have in mind and we talk to the operator. I look to the future and the needs of our people as much as possible, and make an investment when this is in line with each other. After all, you only have a future if you are progressive.”
“Only when there are problems does a machine come back to me. If I don't hear anything, then it's good. I hear few complaints about Doosan from our people, so last year we invested again in four Doosans: a DX300LC-5, DX340LC-5 SLR, DX140LCR-5 and a DX255LC-5 – all tracked excavators. The product is just good, but I think a good relationship with the people at Staad is just as important. I think Staad is a very nice organization to work with. They are really involved with us and stand for the products they deliver; that suits the company. ”
The works that Ploegam accepts these days are decent. “With our new machines, we can handle large projects that involve a nice piece of earthmoving. Such as Plateau Blixembosch Buiten, opposite the IKEA, that is a beautiful large work. We are shooting there with our DX340LC-5 SLR to prepare the area for construction. But we are also working on large-scale projects in Rotterdam and Ooijen-Wanssum, which clearly demonstrate our strengths. Or think of the Brainport area development in Eindhoven. I am proud that we can contribute to something like this.”
Invest in knowledge and complete equipment
Chris explains that every machine at Ploegam is almost fully equipped, and that is extremely important. “We used to just 'dig' – to put it bluntly. Nowadays we also design ourselves and we are involved in the entire project; we're deeper into it. That requires more from our people and machines. That is why we consciously opt for fully equipped machines and that was also a requirement for our Doosan investments in 2019. For example, the new machines have: overpressure, a tiltrotator and GPS preparation with which we can read our own drawings. Thanks to the fully equipped machines, we are where we are now in the market. We invest a great deal in knowledge and equipment and try to keep it at a high level. We also have to: it is becoming more and more complex to take on work and we already have about 80 machines in the field.”
When does a machine perform optimally and help Ploegam to be successful?
“That's a good question. A machine performs optimally if I no longer have to worry about it after the first purchase. To what extent that is realistic of course. Problems can arise, but if this is solved quickly and also not expensive, it helps us enormously and we can build on each other. Especially if our driver is satisfied and delivers his work neatly. If the client is satisfied and the work is concluded positively, then we are successful as an organization.”
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