Mammoet is the world market leader in heavy horizontal and vertical transport. When setting up a global strategic program, the international company opts for a systematic approach. Because Mammoet is not a specialist in major change programs, Finext provides this expertise. For example, the multi-million dollar program of Mammoet will have a structured program approach and a PMO (Program Management Office). Broad support is also created within the organization.
PMO is the key to success for worldwide program at Mammoet
Interview with Mark de Jong – Program Director at Mammoet
Mammoet also strives to remain at the forefront of the field in the future. Mark de Jong, program director at Mammoet says: “The world of heavy transport and lifting is quite conservative. Mammoet has started a ‘Reshape to win’ strategy, in which we want to steer more future-oriented and strategically. In this way we further improve our competitive position worldwide and remain market leader.”
The Dutch company has been around for more than 200 years and employs close to 6,000 people. The company is part of SHV, a family business that also owns Makro, Nutreco, ERIKS and SHV Energy, among others. SHV is active in 58 countries around the world.
Picture: Mark de Jong
Approach program from a change perspective
Mammoet is starting an Enterprise Resource Program (ERP) to make the strategy measurable and workable. Mark says: “Improving your business efficiency is primarily a major change management program, systems are only a small part of it. You should therefore mainly focus on change.”
This is closely in line with Finext’s vision on program management. “A program is only successful if there is support and the new way of working is actually used,” says Vanessa Rouw. Vanessa is closely involved from Finext in the design of the program and the PMO (Program Management Office).
“Support arises for the best solution for many, which does not necessarily have to be the best technical solution.”
Systematic program approach with MSP
Creating support is therefore an important component of the program. However, it can create a field of tension. Mark: “There is support for the best solution for many, which does not necessarily have to be the best technical solution. These are two different axes, which together form the essence of a solid program. For many companies this is where it goes amiss.”
Together with Finext, a structured approach is chosen, based on MSP (Managing Successful Programs). “MSP provides a good basis, which we supplement with elements from Value Based Project Management, Agile and Lean for each situation, so that you use exactly that which is useful,” says Vanessa.
The structured design of the program was a wish of Mark. “I am quite a fan of a systematic way of working. Mammoet is an expert at managing complex projects externally, but we do not yet have a framework or plan for internal projects.”
PMO as a basis
The approach of the program also includes setting up a PMO. “Setting up a Program Management Office helps you make choices,” says Mark.
The PMO also helps in finding a good balance between steering based on intuition and steering based on time, money and scope. Mark: “I can be quite black and white and factual, but for the longer-term direction I steer more on intuition. Within the program team you want different types of people, so that they keep you sharp on both axes.”
Decision-making is also clearly stated. “Who should have an opinion on what? You have to decide that together in advance, then you talk about setting up a GPO, a Global Process Organization. Informally it is already there, but it should be made formal. The step from announcing from list to support within the entire company is not taken just like that.”
Clear choices regarding program design
The desired systematic approach of the program is one of the reasons for calling in Finext. “A global program is a road with many obstacles, and as a company we are not used to doing these kinds of programs. You have to make choices for each stone you lift, ”says Mark. “Because we do not have the knowledge and skills concerning these types of programs, it helps to have a party like Finext join us.”
Mark is enthusiastic about the collaboration. “Whichever stone you lift, you can have a healthy discussion about the right approach or the experiences at different companies,” says Mark. “An important added value of Finext is that it not only has the expertise, but also conveys it in an understandable and easily accessible way.”
The culture of Finext also fits well with that of Mammoet. “The manner of working together, the standards and the pragmatics are very much in line with the contracting world. The pragmatic approach [used by Finext] is distinctive compared to competitors.”
“We now have the answer to the question “how do you divide a multi-million program into bite-sized chunks, that pay off?””
Clear objectives, budgets and program structure
After an energetic start, the program is temporarily put on hold. “It’s a shame, but unfortunately there is no other choice due to the corona crisis,” says Mark. “We had just reached the point where we had set the program goals together with a worldwide team, one of the best moments in the program. Within a short time, we had gained good momentum. I think back on that with great pleasure and pride.”
The program is currently ready to run operationally: “The objectives are clear, with budgets and planning objectives translated into partial deliveries,” says Mark. “We have an on-boarding pack, reports and a concrete consultation and decision structure. We also have standard calendars, divided into sub-packages.”
Clarity about setting up a program of tens of millions
Despite the fact that the program has been temporarily stopped, the planned approach has already yielded results. Mark: “It confirms to me that we ourselves are not able to place a program like this in the right framework. We have had good discussions about governance, roles, decision-making and recording those decisions. This gives us an answer to the question ‘how do you divide a multi-million program into bite-sized chunks that yield something?'”