Trust important to PWN for collaboration

Maarten Nijman, strategic buyer: ‘We can always rely on Imbema for fast delivery of contract products. For crucial products such as valves in important transport pipelines, always being able to rely on Imbema for good advice and high-quality products is something that we really appreciate.’

PWN supplies drinking water to more than 780,000 households, companies and institutions in the province of North Holland – Maarten Nijman PWN. Its one and a half million customers consume around 106 billion litres of drinking water per annum. Expansion and renovation of the pipeline network is an ongoing daily task and one which they have worked on with Imbema for many years.

Maarten Nijman is a strategic buyer and contract manager for pipeline products among other things. Strategic procurement is used for major contracts and projects which require more preparation. It involves cross-functional teams whose members include a pipeline network manager, technician and warehouse manager among others. Smaller procurement projects are put out to tender privately. Maarten has worked for PWN for approximately 22 years, in various roles. He has been working with Imbema for about eight years now.

Our collaboration with Imbema is based on quality and trust

‘We set high quality requirements for our transport pipelines which are, of course, more important than distribution pipelines. It is for these important pipelines that we have chosen certain products from Imbema. For instance, we use the Hawle butterfly valve and E2 Flange Valves. These are installed in important pipelines where these fittings are not often operated. If they do have to be operated, they have to work. They have to be easy to operate and shut off the supply completely. We chose Imbema partly based on specifications and partly based on not-so-good experiences with other products. With the products from Imbema, we can rely on those valves to work properly.’

The Hawle E2 Flange Valves (also known as gate valves) from Imbema are of even better quality than the butterfly valve and have been used more and more often by PWN in recent years. Maarten:

‘Hawle is known for its good castings, sound interiors and low torques: it’s a good product. Imbema provides good advice and delivers on time.’

How does PWN innovate?

‘Certain tests are being carried out using components which can be operated remotely. We will be following these developments closely. Preferably by collaborating with other water companies so that we don’t all reinvent the wheel. Our pipeline network operators are involved in the G2S project. It will definitely create added value if we can save time by operating equipment remotely. We are also very interested in the developments being made in respect of RFID chips and asset management, with the aim of improving predictions relating to the state of our pipeline network’

Tip for Imbema

‘Our tip for Imbema is: keep a distinctive edge with genuine quality products like Hawle. Don’t be tempted to sell products of a lesser quality. Imbema is synonymous with quality – keep things that way. The same applies to requests from our water companies which call for more than you can supply. If you are going to work with partners to provide solutions, then their products need to be of the same high quality as yours.’

Clean water takes energy: that’s what we want to measure!

Maarten is also involved in energy procurement and consumption: ‘We monitor our energy consumption on the various production lines using smart meters. We mainly carry out electricity metering as our gas consumption is low. Our aim is to manage our electricity consumption and to become more sustainable. That is why we are going to be installing solar panels and we buy in green electricity.

We are not monitoring our energy consumption online yet: once a month, we analyse the data and take readings in our own system. We didn’t know that Imbema was involved in that too.’

Focal points for PWN and the pipeline network

‘Following our internal reorganisation, PWN is mainly working on strengthening its new foundations. Process improvement is the focus. Environmental management is becoming increasingly important in our pipeline division. What impact does the work that we do have on the environment? On environmental legislation, on residents? We must manage this properly and make effective arrangements.

Another focus is that we want to increase our level of remediation so that we keep on carrying out renovations continuously. However, this must remain manageable and feasible for our suppliers and employees.’

First steps towards circularity

‘Finally, circularity is something that we want to get more involved in. We are trying to implement the resources passport. That also forms part of our contract with Imbema. A great development in connection with this is Blauwe Netten which has just been set up by the water supply sector. They are working on the uniform implementation of that passport among other things, preferably also through collaboration with the energy companies.’

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