© Yara Sluiskil B.V.

The European chemical industry has a reputation for safety, innovation and a growing culture of performance, rooted in some of its most successful organisations like Yara. This culture is informing changes in business process and we are proud to be driving a major programme exploiting one of the latest approaches to asset management.

A lengthy period of discovery preceded the signing of a long-term contract to manage the non-core assets (infrastructure, building and related installations) of this global business. A new managing agent model has been implemented that sees us take responsibility for the maintenance strategy including control of relevant staff, service providers and service-provider contracts.

This outsourcing process allows Yara to increase staff flexibility and focus on their core business while at the same time benefit from our broad expertise. Our aim is to improve performance with a mix of better programming, intelligent investment management, asset combining, project definition and crucially, procurement management.

This latter point represents a significant change of direction for Yara and is a pioneering approach to asset management generally. Service providers have historically provided services on a fee basis rather than a results basis. Over the coming years, we will be changing this approach and working with a select group of service providers on pre-defined performance-related contracts. This shifts the entire focus from input to output and will deliver huge improvements to the organisation.

Culture change and change management is never a quick or easy process - or even one common among the engineering community - but we believe that by working closely with Yara and their expert staff, we can restructure their service relationships from a maintenance-only focus to an effective management focus.

We are now managing a portion of Yara's operational risk, and are working to agreed performance levels ourselves. This is changing the traditional model of consultancy from advice to physical management and control - a new delivery process that improves transparency and has proven results. On-going contracts with other clients using this model have delivered between 10 and 20% savings on operating and capital expenditure.

This is a change of direction for the industry, but is backed by the commitment of our clients and our experts at Royal HaskoningDHV. Working from a new position of responsibility can be a lot to ask but the dedication of all those involved is proving to be the key to its success.