We want to play a pioneering role as water manager

Doekle Terpstra - Voorzitter Van Uneto-VNI

Creating a closed water chain

A lot of installation technology – and reliable technology – is necessary to ensure that locks, pumping stations and sewage systems function properly. Water is a major issue in society and faces great social and technical challenges, such as climate change. These are urgent challenges and they require a new vision and new concepts. This means that we in the installation sector need to think carefully about how we can serve society optimally. The role of the installer is going to change, because the customer is thinking much more in concepts rather than just being a buyer of a single product. This means that the installer has to be able to think and act in broader terms in order to anticipate problems, with an eye to the future.

This development increases demand for better qualified installers who have to be able to work together with a number of parties in order to arrive at suitable solutions. Doekle Terpstra: “We want to be a major player in the water sector. We believe that as an industry we can make the difference regarding the big social issues that are of technical relevance. One example is the creation of a closed water chain in and around homes and other buildings. Waste water will soon be an obsolete concept, as we are going to use that water to generate energy! Another issue is flooding as a result of heavier rainfall. Our members have the solutions in-house to tackle this problem. The future of the Netherlands depends to a great extent on whether we can find answers in the area of water and energy. Here, installers can play an important pioneering role in managing that process.

Knowledge sharing

Doekle Terpstra finds knowledge sharing very important in this context. “I always declare that cooperation is the new competition. Classic competition models no longer work; everything revolves around knowledge sharing. This is what characterizes modern entrepreneurship: realizing that you are part of a chain. If you keep your knowledge to yourself, you indicate that you are alienating yourself from what is going on outside. Therefore, we as a business organization, but also the installers, are becoming increasingly more knowledge managers and knowledge sharers

Something that he considers to be very helpful here is standardization. “Standardization is a great help to us in delivering quality objectively; it prevents discussion on the shop floor and promotes efficient working practices. This must ultimately lead to a better return for the entrepreneur. The basic principle of standardization is a bottom-up approach in which stakeholders from the field try to arrive at a standard through discussion. That also means searching together to find what is effective and helpful. This is not a question of power relations between parties, but of a substantive dialogue. Ultimately, this results in a standard that is acceptable to all parties and therefore enjoys broad support.

View here the projects and standardization initiatives related to water.