‘It all starts with a proposal’
In January 2012, Royal IHC signed contracts for the design, engineering and construction of two fully-integrated 550-tonne pipelaying vessels for Sapura Navegação Marítima (Sapura). After a year and a half, the order was followed by an additional contract for three more. Once all the signatures are placed, the real work for IHC starts. For Peter van der Poel however, it means the job is done: “We’re in the vanguard of these projects.”
Spider in the web
“As Manager Proposals and Design & Cost, I am responsible for the entire proposal phase; from the moment the invitations to tender are issued up, to the moment the contracts are signed,” says Peter. He is the ‘spider in the web’, who creates a proposition that can’t be turned down.
“In the invitation to tender, we are provided with a functional specification of what the vessel must be able to do and what technical specifications are required, such as dimensions, capacity and speed,” Peter explains. “Our design department translates these requirements into a vessel design, and then we put together a plan in terms of equipment and the interface. Legal issues need to be covered, as well as planning, and so on. I work with a lot of departments and in different fields of expertise, which makes my job very diverse.”
The Sapura order was the first time a fully-integrated offshore pipelaying vessel was to be delivered by a single supplier. This made the proposal management more complicated but, in addition to the larger scope, there are other obvious benefits: “IHC is in control in terms of planning and execution, and the customer has the benefit of a one-stop shop!”
The main challenge for Peter wasn’t in the integration of the equipment and the vessel. “We had made the proposal with one vessel in mind,” he explains. “After the proposal was submitted it became clear that it wasn’t going to be just the one vessel. Were we to become a victim of our own success? We had to make sure we were able to fit the construction of all these vessels into a very tight schedule. This has definitely cost me some sleepless nights, but we were happy to complete the puzzle to accommodate the tight schedule requirements in a sound plan for execution.”
Peter: “For me, the best part of the job is when all the dignitaries come together to officially sign the contract. That’s when I know that we, as a team, have done a good job.”