Innovation and a pioneering spirit have always been at the heart of the DEME Group throughout its history. Today, DEME continues to invest in Research & Development and new technology in all aspects of its business. Developing sustainable, efficient and cost-effective ways of working, vessels, equipment and services are vital to our success.
A focus on innovation is a key part of our corporate strategy and this has helped us to remain at the forefront of the maritime industry. We have dedicated R&D teams, enabling us to invent new designs and improve existing products and services. We listen carefully to our client’s requirements and keep abreast of the latest technological trends. Innovation enables us to bring more effective, cost-efficient and environmentally friendly solutions to our customers.
DEME aims to innovate in all aspects of its business and to ensure we share our knowledge and ideas, it promotes efficient cooperation between our Central Competence Centre, the Research, Methodology, Production and Engineering (RMPE) Department and the technical departments, which are focused on both the maintenance of the fleet and construction of new vessels. We also work very closely with our customers and renowned research organisations.
We are continually examining our working methods to help protect the environment and we are also looking at innovative, energy-efficient technologies. For our fleet, DEME focuses on fuel efficient engines, improved hull shapes and alternative fuels to reduce fuel consumption and carbon footprint.
DEME's Central Competence Centre
A third initiative is DEME’s ‘Central Competence Centre’ where all knowledge and experience from all over the organisation comes together. The Central Competence Centre is a major tool for the project management teams to develop creative and cost-efficient solutions. Thanks to our recently developed ‘Production Assistance Up-link’ PAUL tool it is possible for the dredging operators on board our vessels to communicate directly with regional or central management and the Central Competence Centre has online access to dredging parameters at ongoing operations at the other end of the globe. This allows immediate intervention, resulting in optimum production.
Applied Development and R&D
DEME wants new technique, service and tools development to be a proactive process and encourages innovations to take place on all levels and locations throughout the company. A two-yearly contest rewards successful innovations in different categories.
The Research, Methodology, Production and Engineering (RMPE) and the Applied Development Departments assist with the conversion of innovative ideas into practical solutions.
Both departments act as a catalyst by bringing together the necessary structure and specialists from across the company for a successful R&D.
DRIVE is DEME’s own continuous improvement and operational excellence methodology. The DRIVE approach is based on the principles of Lean Six Sigma, but takes into consideration the specific nature of DEME’s business and its existing management practices and culture. The DEME Management Team defines each year a clear financial target for DRIVE, which is assigned to the Areas and Business Units. Apart from the realization of the financial target, the second strategic target for DRIVE is to reinforce the culture of continuous improvement and accountability within DEME. Since the launch in 2009, DRIVE has realized its financial targets. In addition, DRIVE has extended its scope towards new business units and departments to the extent that, since 2013, more than 95% of all DEME projects in all of DEME’s activities use the DRIVE continuous improvement approach.
DEME's improvement program DRIVE has resulted in the development of a bottum-up innovation track. Each year around 100 ideas for technical innovations are identified at the daily and weekly DRIVE production meetings that take place on board of the main production units.
The DRIVE steer group, with representatives from Technical and Operations management, selects the most promising ideas and launches implementation projects. Approximately one third of the ideas are selected and realized and result in relevant measurable improvements.