Over the past year Van Berge Henegouwen (VBH), the superyacht technology integrator, has undergone drastic changes to its location, operation, personnel and working processes in order to keep pace with a superyacht industry that is in the midst of widespread professionalization. VBH’s own professionalization has led to an evolved focus that places far more stock in the refit and servicing markets that supplement the volatile new build sector.
“First of all we moved our offices to Amsterdam,” begins Michiel Haverkorn van Rijsewijk, CEO of VBH. “We did this to provide an inspiring working environment for our employees, as well as moving to a location in which we have dedicated testing facilities, a professional workshop and extensive in house desk facilities.”
VBH’s new premises include a testing facility that allows it to do comprehensive systems manufacturing and testing in house, aiding VBH’s ability to complete a project away from the shipyard, thereby avoiding the myriad dependencies of working alongside the various designers, engineers and subcontractors that can, at times, hamper work flow and disrupt deadlines as they compete for space and time.
Additionally, VBH has implemented new engineering processes, standardised internal documents and project management methodology, set out an innovation road map that allows it to accurately predict and sell systems that are not yet available, as well as hiring personnel in key roles. As a result, VBH has moved beyond a reliance on new build projects.
Michiel van Rijsewijk
“Next to our new build projects we see huge growth potential in the areas of servicing and refit,” explains Haverkorn. “In the past VBH was very focussed on new build business, but, although we are still very much doing that, we realised that it is important to have excellent servicing organisation.”
Having a foot hold in the volatile, but profitable, new build market, as well as a burgeoning and financially regular refit industry, is a business strategy than many are now trying to adopt. The superyacht industry is abuzz with the desire to successfully implement lifecycle management systems. With more than 200 yachts in the global fleet carrying VBH systems, and a further 20 simultaneous projects underway currently, a comprehensive service offering can only benefit VBH’s growth ambitions.
“It is good to have this [servicing] business which is much more about recurring revenues. It allows the other elements of our business to become more plannable and stable,” continues Haverkorn. “But to caveat this point, excelling in servicing opens the door to new build projects. Importantly, the service industry is very rewarding business because it allows us to stay in continuous contact with our clients.”
van Haverkorn is quick to point out that the development of servicing falls perfectly in line with VBH’s technological development. The natural progression, he explains, has been to create and install systems that can be monitored from land. This way VBH can detect any issue before it comes to the attention of the owner and offer proactive support, rather than waiting to be contacted and offering reactionary support.
The scope of VBH’s work has vastly increased in complexity and whereas previously owners desired a system that could control lighting, climate and various other base level operations, today’s systems are holistic solutions able of controlling safety and security, communication, lighting, entertainment, as well as numerous other bespoke functions.
The VBH team will be taking part in a workshop at this year’s SuperyachtDESIGN Week, held from 28 – 30 June in London.
Exploring 'The DNA of Design’, their session will look at how our industry can work more closely with owners when designing signature pieces and bespoke experiences.
For further information on the event, click here