English - Nooteboom Giants on the Road Magazine English - Nr. 5 - 2018 - Page 41

ALL IN THE FAMILY HOMOLOGATION APPROVED BEFORE A NOOTEBOOM TRAILER HITS THE ROAD IT HAS TO BE CHECKED TO SEE IF IT MEETS ALL THE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS. ALSO, VARIOUS DOCUMENTS ARE NEEDED FOR THE APPLICATION OF EXEMPTIONS IN VARIOUS COUNTRIES. Thanks to the European type-approvals this has become easier. But the preliminary work that is needed to obtain a European type-approval is getting more complicated all the time and keeping it up-to-date is more labour-intensive too. The conditions for obtaining an exemption vary greatly from one country to another. At the Homologation department the engineers who work there can take care of all this paperwork. Head of the department is Fred Versteeg who has almost twenty-five years’ experience in different positions within the Nooteboom organisation. WHO IS FRED VERSTEEG? “After being a professional soldier I studied at the HTS-Autotechniek. I ended up at Nooteboom by chance. The father of a friend of mine was head of After Sales at Nooteboom and from him I heard there was a vacancy in the drawing office. So I started there in 1995 as a designer/ constructor. After a few years I moved to the sales office where it was my job to support the Nooteboom distributors in various countries. That’s where I learned about transport solutions. All our customers have specific requirements, that’s part and parcel of the heavy transport mar- ket. By properly listening to the wishes of the customers we consistently managed to find solutions that were also attractive to other customers.” FROM THE SALES OFFICE TO HOMOLOGATION “After a few years I became head of the sales office. I was in my element there. In that function you are an important link between customers, our sales staff, the engineering department and the production. In 2011 I moved to homologation. At first I thought homologation was not very complicated. In practice that proved to be quite different. The transition from national to European approvals was not easy. The entire system of European homologation is based on parts that are inspected separately such as the brakes, suspension or the bumper beam at the rear of the trailer. Over time – when we were on top of the European approvals – our colleagues at engineering developed new products, such as the Manoovr. Magnificent innovations, which means keeping our type ap- provals up-to-date is a dynamic process. All those new products make our work enjoyable. Virtually all Nooteboom products are approved in Europe. WHAT DOES THE HOMOLOGATION DEPARTMENT DO? “Homologation is involved as soon as a sales assistant comes home with and order. First of all we check – together with engineering – whether the specification requested falls within the legal limits. And we find out whether the vehicle will qualify for exemptions in various countries. And our work doesn’t end when the trailer is delivered. Whenever the trailer is sold to a second or third owner in a different country we assist them with inspections and the documents for exemption. We have all the information about the trailers we sold in the past fifty years on file, from the design drawings to document copies. We look after these care- fully, because we frequently deliver documents for trailers that are more than twenty-five years old. Our job ends when a Nooteboom trailer, after many years of faithful service, disappears to a place outside Europe or ingloriously ends up on the scrap heap. Several times in the past the homologation department of Nooteboom has taken the initiative to improve the regulations or procedures for their customers. Nooteboom was behind the exemptions for the transport of ballast. Nooteboom was also involved in the initiative that produced the SERT-form, which makes it easier for transport operators to apply for exemptions.” TECHNICAL SPECIALISTS “There are four technical specialists who work at the homologation department: Nicolette Huibers, Mark Willemsen, Robin Reijnen and me. The administrative side is looked after by Rianne Spiekerman. Our work can be divided into two branches: approval of vehicles, new as well as used, and the provision of documents that are needed to apply for ex- emptions. For the exemptions we work together with partners in many European countries. They know exactly what the differences are per country when it comes to applying exemptions. Because our products and the regulations change all the time, we are constantly updating our type-approvals.” WHY DO YOU ENJOY WORKING AT NOOTEBOOM? “Nooteboom is a family business through and through. When I joined Nooteboom the company was still led by Henk, Dick and Ton. Three men who, through hard work and clever enterprise, not only made a sig- nificant contribution to the Koninklijke Nooteboom Group but also to the development of the abnormal road transport sector. The family sees opportunities in the long term and they have a personal involvement in our personnel and products. That’s a big difference with companies where the direction taken is decided by an investor who is mainly interested in figures and has no association with any family tradition. Nooteboom is a dynamic and pioneering company that is inextricably linked to the Nooteboom family. In recent years I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to make a contribution in various positions within the organisation.” Every driver who has to drive a big or heavy load through several European countries has a pile of paperwork with him. Different coun- tries, unusual situations on the route and many rules and regulations. At the Homologation department at Nooteboom specialists are at work to help the customers to find a path through this jungle of complex regulations.” ■ 41