A Large Dutch Engineering Service Adopts the Best Value Approach

Authors: Elske Bosma, Marcus van der Ven, Oscar Kerkhoven, Dean Kashiwagi (PhD, P.E.) and Isaac Kashiwagi (M.S.)


The Best Value (BV) environment was introduced into the Netherlands in 2006. By 2008 testing was being done by a partnership of Arizona State University and Scenter (Sicco Santema, professor from Delft University). In 2010, the first significant test of the BV approach was done by the Rijkswaterstaat to deliver the $1B fast track infrastructure projects, and by 2015, the BV approach had become the “buzzword” of procurement and the professional procurement organization NEVI. However, in the delivery of professional engineering services, larger, more traditional services which were built on a system of relationships between clients and vendors, clients controlling the expert, and the importance of “billable man-hours”. The transition from a traditional approach to a BV approach is very challenging. Large traditional professional organizations naturally will have more difficulty adapting to the new approach. The BV approach utilized the expertise of experts to replace the need for relationships and owner management, direction and control (MDC). It also places less value on traditional practices that have been used by professional services to get business (relationships and working together with the client in a trust based relationship). The study captures the efforts of a very successful engineering firm (the second largest in the Netherlands) as they attempt to become successful in this new approach. The Best Value team that they have put together has had outstanding results in using the BV approach to changing their paradigm.

Keywords: Professional services, Best Value, Netherlands, Royal HaskoningDHV, delivery of services