Scheduling an interview with Lex Jutte, crane operator at Jan van Dam Machine Transport, is no easy task. The logistics specialist from Oudewater is busy. Yet the enthusiastic thirty-something manages to clear a gap between the companies. "You can't develop a routine at this club and that's what I like so much!"
Let me think – it’s been twelve years now. I ended up here through my VTL driver’s training. I was given a few names of companies where I could apply for an interview to participate in a working-learning programme, and I found the work here appealing. You work a great deal with machines, but you also drive a lot. Every day is different. At school I obtained all my papers and driving licenses, and when I came here I was allowed to accompany the drivers all the time. After that I was hired as a driver and was allowed to go out on my own. In the beginning that took some getting used to, all the more so abroad, because you have to figure things out on your own. But you learn a great deal that way.
It is highly varied. At times you may be driving all week, and the next week you may be helping your colleagues with a move. At one time I had to drive to various addresses in Portugal, where I had to deliver machines that I had loaded up in Antwerp. In such situations, you are easily seven days on the road by yourself. But we also had a move in Switzerland where I spent a week driving machines outside that colleagues in turn loaded up onto their truck. You then spend a lot of time together as colleagues.
It’s always enjoyable. You also get to know each other very quickly during this kind of work. Sometimes you are on the road together with the same colleague or you spend time together in a hotel when you are working on a larger job. You then learn to get to know each other better. In this work, you have to speak the same language and you must have confidence in each other, because when you jack up a machine together, it is important that you listen to each other and agree on what you are going to do. Everyone is also always ready to help each other. When you get back to the company, we still help each other unloading, loading or getting things ready for the next day. On Fridays we always spend some time in the Irish Pub, our canteen. We then talk about our work or what we are planning to do on the weekend.
‘You have to speak the same language and you must have confidence in each other.'
A few months ago I drove my biggest load ever; a unit 5.70 metres wide, 14 metres long and weighing about 30 tonnes. Getting that safely to its destination was quite the challenge. A standard truck is 2.50 metres wide, so you are quite a bit bigger with a special load like this. You need a special permit for this, which, for example, indicates whether you need to have an escort along the way. In this case a small van may be riding in front or behind you, or both. Things are quite tight in some places, so doing this is quite a bit of fun.
Every job is a different challenge. When you successfully complete a difficult job, I enjoy that. Sometimes things are extremely tight, there may be an unusual curve inside the building or a door may be too small. When that happens, you have to figure out how to get it done anyway and look for the best solution. In such instances, there often also is a colleague present with a crane. And if we need a larger crane, we often see the owner or company staff standing there watching us. They don’t see something like that every day.
I enjoy driving the trucks I drive and what I am able to do with them. I have been driving a new truck for special and heavy transport for the last nine months. At the beginning that always takes a bit of getting used to and figuring out how it all works. In this kind of work you always learn something new, because every machine and every situation is different and new. Going abroad once in a while and then a job close by with colleagues is perfect for me. I don’t necessarily need to do something else.
Assembly/disassembly and anchoring
Relocating and installing machines
National and international road transport