2017 in retrospective
In 2017, Veolia ended as an organisation and thus also as a client at VANL. The last concession area Haaglanden has been transferred to a sister company. Sometimes you do business with people for such a long time that you get used to having them around. Some transferred to Arriva, some went to Transdev/Connexxion, other retired or simply disappeared from Public Transport.
You’ll only start missing them when you don’t speak to them anymore. It is still a job which requires people. A couple of days back, when I was in Breda, I drove past the old BBA/Veolia building. It was empty and for rent. It seems that there will be 17 new apartments built into the building and that it will be renamed as ‘The depot’. I want to thank all Veolia employees via this blog, for all the good years and I hope that I might see them once more.
Where one client leaves, there’s room for a new one. 2017 was also the year for VANL to take up a new challenge in the manufacturing industry. We were looking for a company outside of Public Transport that wanted to pilot TMWalker4. I am very pleased that Berco gave us that opportunity – both organisations have improved because of it. At Berco, we improved the quality of the production process, especially with track & trace functionalities. VANL has a great reference and an even better client. I love how some words start as a joke and end up being used on a daily basis (Bercode).
Abraham Lincoln: an “ordinary” American
In 2017 I have met a lot of new people. The red wire throughout my life is that I am used to explaining the origins of my name. Why my name is pronounced the American way, and not the Friesian way. I was named after an uncle of mine, whom is named after the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. Coming from poor housing, Licoln worked his way up, autodidactic mind you, to lawyer, deputy and president. He is of course known as the president of the American Civil War, the abolition of slavery and his murder because of it. If you were to look into this man, you’ll find that he was an inspiring man to many. What a striking difference with the current president.
Small but solid
Another subject that was touched multiples times in 2017, is the continuity and size of VANL.
My deceased father was a financial director in his working life. He advised me on multiple occasions. One of his sayings was that profit is mainly made at the expense side of the balance. It does not matter how much revenue you make, if you cannot control the expenses, all will collapse. De past few years VANL has proven to be a stable factor. This will stay the same. With finding a second market, a financially stable base has arisen, which makes for the possibility of expansion.
Some people associate a company’s size with continuity. In the past crisis period, we’ve proven this to be wrong. Even larger companies (banks, shops) had to change course to prevent crashing. The amount of flexibility needed for a company to survive has grown. These days, it’s about how you manage, keep knowledge and keep processes flexible. Gosh, that sounds like TMWalker4. TMWalker4 is designed, specifically, to collect, store and share knowledge. We have started using TMWalker4 internally as well this year.
We are not in a hurry to grow. Ever since 2014, we changed our strategy and business model. Controlled and consistent. Where needed, we apply knowledge from external parties. And always with clients willing to grow with us, for which we give thanks.
Happy new year!