Dura Vermeer

Building Dura Vermeer's Next ERP System



Utilus is working with Dura Vermeer to rebuild their central administration system from the ground up. In this interview, Joost den Heijer, Dura Vermeer’s Director of IT, spoke to us about the project and what it’s like to work with Utilus.

Dura Vermeer
“From the moment the Utilus team arrived at Dura Vermeer, their hearts bled green and yellow. Same as ours.”

“The construction industry can be conservative. ‘We stack bricks’ is something you used to hear sometimes. Whether it was said jokingly or not, that attitude can have an effect on our approach to digitalization as an industry and it did in some ways. Though after seeing the incredible speed of development in B2C and FinTech companies, we came around to the idea that digitalization can be a lot more than just a burden. These days we don’t build anything without software or an IT solution of some kind – Building Information Modelling and the Internet of Things being prime examples. However, our current ERP system grew organically over the course of 30 years and is due for an overhaul. Which is why we enlisted the help of Utilus.

I had worked with Utilus previously and suspected their particular expertise would be a good fit for a project of this size. Replacing an ERP system is not something you do every day, especially one that’s been part of your company for decades. Thankfully, Utilus understands this well which is why they started with a proof-of-concept using a smaller portion of the system. Once we knew it was both technically and financially viable to do so, we could plan a project for the entire system. 

Off the shelf or custom made? This was an important question for us as we got started on the idea of an overhaul. There’s pros and cons to both, but ultimately a custom system is a better fit for us as a company. Luckily, Utilus excels at building custom solutions and they felt that such a system would better serve a company that is as diverse and interconnected as Dura Vermeer. Utilus delivered its proof-of-concept in October and we expect to schedule the initial launch of the new system in the second quarter of next year. Once it’s done, the new system will be able to handle anything from project planning to centralized purchasing which the latter will result in significant cost savings.

What I like about working with Utilus is that they’re not some no-substance consultancy. Instead, they are pragmatic, which is to say: they’re interested in the subject matter itself, finding solutions that work and the people that will be working with those solutions. The only criticism I can level against Utilus is that, as engineers, they sometimes lack a sense of diplomacy when arguing for a decision that can be viewed as controversial. Still, a straight-forward or even blunt approach is preferable over the alternative when the end result is what counts. As engineers ourselves, we definitely understand what that’s like.”

Joost den Heijer, director of IT, Dura Vermeer.

The technology stack on which the old ERP system was based had become outdated. Hence the need to rebuild and future-proof the application by migrating its technology stack to the cloud.
Marcel Roovers
Director of Operations

In 1855, Dura opened the first carpentry shop in Katendrecht, Rotterdam. Vermeer started his road construction company in Cruquius in 1961. The two companies merged into a single entity – Dura Vermeer – in 1998. This merger was an incredible success. The company now has over 3000 employees and a 1.5 billion euro turnover. Dura Vermeer belongs to the top when it comes to innovative and sustainable construction companies in the Netherlands. Core activities involve the development and realization of construction and infrastructure projects as well as their maintenance and renovation.

About Dura Vermeer

The new ERP system will enable Dura Vermeer to continue growing its portfolio of projects while integrating more seamlessly with its partners using the open architecture of the new system.
Marcel Roovers
Director of Operations

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