No matter whether it be in politics or business: anyone just starting out is generally granted a transitional period of 100 days before the first measures must have been implemented and the first results presented. Things are different at XERVON Wind however. This XERVON subsidiary effectively ignored this warm-up period. It had its foot on the gas pedal right from the start and proved to be a success within no time at all.
Following their motto “Do one job without neglecting the other”, XERVON Wind not only took on operational tasks from the start to position itself on the market but also began setting its strategic course for future-oriented growth. The initiatives resulting from this are wide ranging and address all points relevant to its future success. Just one example: XERVON Wind succeeded in implementing an exacting quality management system in record time. The company was certified by two of the largest wind turbine manufacturers at the end of 2021, just six months after its foundation.
Over the last few months, XERVON Wind has performed a whole range of tasks at offshore wind farms; it can also be found working on land – primarily servicing onshore wind turbines.
The company’s workforce has also been gradually expanding to keep pace with the steady growth of its operational onshore and offshore business. By the end of last year, XERVON Wind had 70 employees – experienced, highly trained specialists, who would normally be difficult to find in light of the current skills shortages. And, as the growing team needed more space, a new business location was looked for and found to support this expansion.
Just nine months since it entered the market, XERVON Wind is now working on making a key addition to its portfolio. Alongside its service and maintenance work, the company will soon be offering a further field of business: the installation of wind turbines. At the same time, it is driving forward collaboration work within the Group so that it can act as a ‘one-stop shop’ and offer its customers supplementary services as well. Just one example of this is the cooperation that began last year with REMONDIS’ sister company Rhenus Logistics, which delivers supplies to offshore wind farms and transports material and crews to the platforms.
XERVON Wind’s order book is also very well positioned for 2022. It has several large projects in the pipeline in the offshore sector alone, which will see the company’s teams of engineers spending long periods at sea. Maik Schlapmann, managing director of XERVON Wind, commented: “Every project, no matter whether it is onshore or offshore, will help us to further strengthen our position on the market as we will be able to prove just how good we are. At the same time, we will be able to show the wind farm operators that XERVON Wind is the right partner for them.”
XERVON Wind has been offering highly specialised services for the wind energy sector since the middle of 2021. The range of services delivered by this newly founded firm is complex; its market pretty unique. In a recent interview, Maik Schlapmann and Tobias Wilming, XERVON Wind’s managing directors, talked about the company’s first successes, their strategic initiatives for the future and the link between wind turbines and Industry 4.0.
Mr Schlapmann and Mr Wilming, XERVON Wind has been around for just six months. Is it really possible to talk about successes after such a short period of time?
Maik Schlapmann: For sure. It’s been full steam ahead for us right from the start. We had the company up and running in no time at all and our staff were out and about over the following months. Our first projects came in just a few days after we officially opened our doors – projects that included working at offshore wind farms in the North Sea as well as servicing onshore wind turbines. At the same time, we had our sights on the coming year and began preparing for 2022 – something that has further strengthened our current position.
And what exactly were these preparations?
Tobias Wilming: For example, building up a qualified team of experienced service engineers. XERVON Wind began with a small number of skilled operatives and we were able to steadily grow our workforce throughout the second half of last year. Our company had 70 employees by the end of 2021. We could have taken on more staff but we just didn’t have the space. We’ve now found a new business premises in Lingen. We moved there at the beginning of this year and now have the capacities to further grow our business.
Was there one project in 2021 that you would describe as being a key milestone?
Maik Schlapmann: Yes, there was. XERVON Wind succeeded in being accredited by two of the largest wind turbine manufacturers within just five months. That truly is an incredible performance for a newcomer – especially the tight time frame. Such accreditations normally last much longer as the manufacturers are very exacting.
Tobias Wilming: The certification process involves stringent requirements and a heavy workload. You need to provide proof of your employees’ various qualifications, a quality management system has to be put in place and much, much more. It is extraordinary that we managed to do all the work so quickly. It was a team effort and something we can be very proud of.
Talking about newcomers. The market hadn’t been waiting around for XERVON Wind to come along. You have to compete with others and are still building up your business. And you must prove yourselves at the same time. What’s the best way to do this?
Maik Schlapmann: The size of a company and its existing structures are not everything in our business. The wind energy sector has so many different facets – from large wind farms at sea to small local community wind farms on land. Being flexible is key if you want to succeed in this industry. You have to be prepared and be able to enter into partnerships with wind farm operators of all sizes and treat them all equally no matter how large or small they may be.
Tobias Wilming: Other things that are important include being reliable, demanding very high quality results of your own work and being innovative – something that also involves the subject of Industry 4.0 nowadays. This is precisely what XERVON Wind offers and it is this proposition that will help us to succeed on the market.
‘Industry 4.0’ – that sounds like digitisation and industrial production.
Maik Schlapmann: That’s exactly what it is. The world of servicing and maintenance work is changing – and this is true in the wind energy sector as well. Tools such as digitisation, automation, artificial intelligence and data management are becoming more and more important. We want to lead the way here. Optimising processes, driving forward efficiency, making the most of opportunities. This is not just in keeping with the times but also a question of sustainability. Maintaining wind turbines remotely, for example, means more green electricity, and data-driven materials management conserves natural resources. Large wind farms with 10 MW wind turbines can no longer be seen as a simple collection of windmills. These farms are power stations and their requirements are most certainly comparable to those of industrial production plants.
What big challenges are on your radar at the moment?
Tobias Wilming: As far as XERVON Wind’s range of services is concerned, we are currently in the process of strengthening our wind turbine installation activities – in addition to our servicing and maintenance work. At the same time, we are continuing to grow our workforce and drive forward collaboration within the group. Our goal here is to pool our various fields of expertise and benefit from each other’s strengths – something that will benefit our customers of course. We began collaborating with our REMONDIS sister company, Rhenus Logistics, last year. They supply offshore wind farms, taking materials and crews to the platforms, and we’re looking to further intensify this cooperation.
And so the course has been set for the company. How do you believe XERVON Wind will develop this year? What expectations do you have as far as its operations are concerned?
Maik Schlapmann: 2022 will be our first full year of business and XERVON Wind is in a good position to get its operations well and truly started. Over the next few months, we are intending to significantly expand our onshore maintenance work. What’s more, we also have several large offshore projects in the pipeline that will see our teams of engineers spending long periods of time on a ship at sea. Every project will help XERVON Wind to further strengthen its position on the market as actions always speak louder than words. By taking on projects, we can demonstrate just how good we are and show the wind farm operators that XERVON Wind is the right partner for them.
Many thanks for taking the time to speak to us. Here’s wishing the company continued success for the future.