'People must have assignments that fit the human scale'

In conversation with Sander Lefevre

Sander Lefevre: 'People must have assignments that fit the human scale'

As announced in the 2020 MT500 reputation survey today, Ballast Nedam has been named #1 in Operational Excellence by peers in our industry. What makes us stand out? Together with Sander Lefevre, Board Member Infrastructure, we dive into some of our strongest assets.

"I will start by giving our Project Managers and Project Directors a little less responsibility," Lefevre said in 2014 when he switched from the Concessions department to Infrastructure. This bold move, based on previous evaluations, turned out better than most of his colleagues initially thought. He looks back: “We need to give our people an assignment that fits them perfectly. The Blankenburgverbinding is a 1 billion euro project, so if we want to manage this well, we have to cut it into smaller pieces. We can divide the project into ten sub-projects, for example. Looking at the amount of Project Managers and Project Directors in our teams right now, we are taking decisions that are exactly in line with what I said back in 2014. I believe we are on the right track.”
Work becomes easier for people when the right people are in the right place
Sander Lefevre Board member Ballast Nedam

Operational Excellence

Ballast Nedam has been named #1 in 'Operational Excellence' in the MT500 survey, followed by VolkerWessels and the Royal BAM Group. In 2019, Ballast Nedam finished sixth. Lefevre: “We made things easier for our people by giving them work that they can oversee by themselves. It is simple: we put the right people in the right place and we only interfere when they seem to lose grip.”

“Our projects are prestigious," he says. “This also applies for each of our business units. I can drive by my first project de Kromhout Kazerne with pride and I have the same feeling when I drive on the A15 highway. If you look back, it is amazing to consider all the projects we have realised…”

Excelling in relationship management and a Dutch down-to-earth mentality are key factors in every project that Ballast Nedam has done, Lefevre believes. “We provide structure and transparency to the client. Together with all partners, we work towards one goal. We take each other's interests into account and we dare to give and take."

Ballast Nedam and Rönesans Holding

In 2015, Ballast Nedam and Rönesans joined forces when Rönesans Holding became the major shareholder. Later on, they became official owners of the company. Lefevre sees multiple similarities between the two companies: “Ballast Nedam is known for its iconic projects around the world. To be fair, this was even a reason for me personally to join the company. If we look at Rönesans Holding, they have achieved a series of world records as a result of their special projects. We both are companies that dare to take on challenging projects and execute them well.”

About Sander Lefevre

Sander Lefevre started at the Ballast Nedam Concessions department in August, 2006. He started off as a Project Manager for the PPP-project de Kromhout Kazerne, a large facility building in Utrecht. After that, he worked on a number of major projects of Ballast Nedam in the Netherlands, including the A9 Gaasperdammerweg: the longest land tunnel in the Netherlands. Currently Sander is Member of the Board of Management.

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