Solid Solutions in a Fluid World
Writer: Emily Jarvis
Project Manager: James Mitchell
Headquartered in the Netherlands, Nijhuis Industries is a multinational Company with a concerted focus on providing reliable, high quality sustainable water use and resource-efficient solutions that are built to last, in a world where sustainability regulations are constantly changing. With a turnkey performance-based service offering divided across four subsidiaries - Nijhuis Water Technology, Nijhuis Ozone Solutions, Nijhuis H2OK, Nijhuis Sales & Service Centres - Nijhuis Industries is a true solution provider with a global portfolio designed to reduce the total cost of ownership for customers.
“We look at how customers could reduce capex and opex spending by improving sustainability practices through the use of our competitive wastewater treatment and water management solutions to boost their business,” notes Menno M. Holterman, Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Driven by the Company slogan – solid solutions in a fluid world – Nijhuis monitors industry and regulatory developments to create the best and most innovative solution to help customers meet the increasingly demanding sustainability and productivity requirements, lower their environmental footprint, and combine productivity and energy efficiency to ensure minimum lifecycle cost.
As water scarcity is playing an increasing role in influencing measures to reduce water consumption, Nijhuis is successfully expanding into new countries, serving most continents around the world to help more customers develop a greener, more sustainable business using innovative industrial concepts.
Over the past 10 years, there has been increasing pressure for industry to seek new methodologies to become more sustainable; in-part due to the growth of the population, increase of drought in some countries and other eco-centric issues. Nijhuis has been able to capitalise on this through its four business units that complement each other to create a one-stop solution with the ultimate goal to help companies become more self-sufficient.
“Our longstanding expertise combined with our 2,400 references around the world gives us the capacity to design, manufacture and deliver solid solutions with the highest level of innovation to meet today’s challenges, as well as challenges in the future,” Holterman further highlights.
With strong business contracts across the food and beverage, oil & gas, agriculture, cooling towers and other prominent industries around the world - accounting for 85 percent of business, with the remaining 15 percent being municipal - Nijhuis now works even closer with its customers in order to identify the ways in which they can reduce their operational costs, by looking closely at how a company could reduce their water and environmental footprint, reuse water and decrease its waste footprint, in line with the applicable laws and regulations for the region or city.
“It is all about recovering value from waste and wastewater; reduce, reuse and recover. In line with this, we have been able to help some of our customers become totally self-sufficient in terms of electricity and heating through our biogas and waste-to-energy offerings, which complement the water and wastewater management solution. Here, we are meeting their requirements and going beyond, as the customer then begins to make money out of their sustainable investment and can see a long-term return on their investment,” he adds.
Although the majority of manufacturing is handled in-house from its headquarters in the Netherlands, Nijhuis also works closely with local partners and suppliers relative to where its solutions are deployed. “And the same level of quality is upheld throughout all elements of our outsourcing; not just fulfilling ‘fit for purpose’ standards, but what I call ‘fit for function’, providing a long life product that is supported by us throughout its lifecycle,” Holterman adds.
In order to keep up with demand, Nijhuis has embraced automation as a tool to improve productivity, reduce waste and save money without compromising on quality. He continues: “Automation is the ultimate tool to guarantee a consistently high quality product that is manufactured in the most efficient way. Similarly, the software that we use allows us to design and process much faster than before and it provides us with an insight into ways we can optimise the design of our products so as to use less material in the manufacturing process and is ‘fit for function’.”
Of course, the way that you manufacture a product varies depending on what country you are manufacturing it for and the regulations imposed at the time. This means Nijhuis has had to come up with what Holterman calls a “glocalised” solution. He explains: “We apply global engineering standards that cater for local circumstances; which makes for an interesting challenge. For example, water across the world has different characteristics that we must create the best waste management solution for. We always have to design something new according to the local needs and requirements. This is where having a local partner is helpful in defining the customer needs in a specific region or country.”
Consequently, Nijhuis has been strengthening its sales and service centres around the world to improve its “glocalised” knowledge, deploying these centres across Europe, Asia Pacific, North America, South America, the Middle East and Africa; turning the Company into a truly global player.
Continuous innovation is a crucial element of Nijhuis’ successful growth strategy. For example, the Nijhuis modular solutions not only simplify the civil construction but also significantly reduce the installation and commissioning time on site as each containerised system is manufactured, pre-assembled and tested at its own production facility in the Netherlands. The Nijhuis modular plants secure a minimal footprint and can easily be relocated or extended thanks to their modular design. A growing number of multinationals aim to relocate production capacity during their economic lifetime anticipating local requirements, changing demands and regulations.
The recently awarded Nijhuis Ammonia Recovery System (NAR) has proven to be a highly efficient and competitive treatment solution for recovering ammonia from digestate or substrates from digestion. Instead of biological oxidation of ammonia a bio-based fertiliser is recovered which is another example of a game-changing Nijhuis waste-to-value solution.
More than ever, Nijhuis is continuing to expand its competitive range of industrial concepts, technological solutions and services including design, build, finance, operation and maintenance, a growing fleet of rental systems, innovative waste-to-value systems (Nijhuis AecomixTM and Nijhuis Flotation Fat Recovery System) and online monitoring to reduce lifecycle cost.
Following the theme of continuous improvement, Nijhuis has its own training academy that provides employees and partners with a global network of facilities which create an opportunity to exchange best practices from around the world and share valuable product information and field experience.
“Ultimately, our organisation is all about the people and their desire to help customers to meet and exceed Company sustainability, productivity and cost targets. As a world market leader, we have to comply with regulations while making sure that the customers remain satisfied throughout the design and planning phase, right through to the operational phase and aftersales support over the lifetime of the Nijhuis solution which can easily be up to 20 years of seamless operation,” emphasises Holterman.
Not only does the Academy function as a centre for internal training for employees, but customers are also encouraged to take part in educational sessions at local academies, designed to help them to better understand the value of waste and to shorten the installation and commissioning time on site.
Holterman further explains: “This is useful in countries which have a very high turnaround of staff, as we can regularly return and exchange best practices in order to make sure local operators and decision makers have the most up to date information.
“Our academies around the world each function as a unique opportunity to monitor global waste management trends around the world, and also help us to develop a better personal relationship with the customer.
“This educational sales process helps companies to see the importance of smart waste and water management and ensures that the adequate solution can be applied to their business, wherever they are in the world; and we can provide a flexible step-by-step process to adapt or upgrade their systems.”
All of the above serves to secure Holterman’s personal mission to “stay with customers for life” and by implementing all of the right tools for success, Nijhuis sustainable water use and resource efficient solutions will continue to benefit customers around the world who want to turn a typical cost centre into a profit centre.