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Learn how VTTI is using Icologiq Elements to secure Quality and safety worldwide.

VTTI is a company specializing in storing and transporting oil based in the port of Rotterdam in The Netherlands. They are one of the world’s fastest-growing energy storage companies, with a global network of 17 terminals across five continents. It is very important for the company to guarantee that all terminals and projects worldwide work according to the same principles since their operational framework focuses on safety and occupational health, protection of the environment, sustainability, reliability, and Quality.

Icologiq Elements EQMS

The challenges

VTTI was founded in 2006, and during its first few years, collaborators still worked with Excel files and paper checklists for Quality-related tasks. Due to the company's rapid growth, the operation quickly reached a level of complexity that required a safer and more structured way of working. 


According to the company's IT director, René Gijsbers, “that way of working took up too much time and was prone to errors. In addition, we also realized that we could learn from each other if we applied transparency to everything related to safety and sustainability for all locations. As we operate in several locations, it was possible for us that the terminal in Malaysia would make the same mistake as our terminal in Latvia.”

An even more important reason to invest in software to automate all compliance-related activities was the regulatory and Quality standards that work as a license to operate within which each terminal. “Due to the nature of our business, we have to comply with many regulations. This makes sense because the storage and transport of oil naturally could form a risk to safety and the environment. Each country has different laws and regulations, and these are also regularly updated. It is simply no longer possible to manually create all reports required by governments. In addition, we are regularly audited, and that process doesn’t go very smoothly when the information has to come from different applications.", says René.


The company was looking for a solution to automate the main processes and be able to detect every exception. René explains that “This way, you enforce that everyone works according to the same procedures without depriving employees of their freedom. Because safety is, of course, something you partly have to introduce top-down through fixed procedures, but you cannot enforce it in its entirety.”

Working with Icologiq Elements

VTTI has been using Icologiq Elements since 2010, and step by step, the organization has expanded modules and automated all compliance-related activities. One of the main benefits presented by the platform was the flexibility to configure the system to meet both global and local expectations. 

According to René Gijsbers, The best way to ensure that employees work safely is by giving them control over their own process. After all, they are on the work floor, they see what is happening, and they want to be able to intervene quickly when they see something that endangers their safety. This should be possible without first having to go through all kinds of standard steps in a safety management system and without rigid procedures prescribing exactly how to act. Because even if you record everything in a very detailed way, there will always be exceptions. Therefore, we were looking for software that ensures that employees always follow standard safety procedures but also gives them flexibility within these procedures to adapt their work to the circumstances. We have laid down the governance of the main process at an organization-wide level, and the terminals have local flexibility within this. This way, the head office can uniformly report quality and safety statistics on all terminals, and a terminal can additionally report on specific matters that are relevant to them. ”


All of the so-called Controlled Procedures – procedures the organization is regularly audited on – are automated and documented with Icologiq. Incident reporting is used to record all deviations from the ‘safe default state’, as laid down in the controlled procedures. Deviations concern near misses, incidents, reports from Safety Observation Rounds, audits, safety reports, and other relevant metrics. This extensive registration offers the possibility of good (corrective) action tracking, but at the same time also enables the organization to keep statistics about deviations at terminals.


With the Change Management module, VTTI keeps track of all relevant (desired) changes that have an impact on process safety, together with changes that relate to the organization, products, processes, procedures, or equipment. With our Compliance Management module, VTTI ensures that the limits of the License to Operate are made transparent. On one hand, this concerns timely external reporting on all matters that authorities want information about, for example, emission reports, and on the other hand, the internal sharing of information with regard to imposed inspection schedules or targets to be achieved for treatments of, for example, water, soil or air.


VTTI has set up the software in such a way that the safety and sustainability processes of all terminals and projects are fully transparent for the head office in Rotterdam and all local management teams. “We don’t punish mistakes but view them as a learning moment,” René explains. “By being open to each other about incidents and mistakes in the procedures, we can learn from each other and prevent someone else from making the same mistake.”

VTTI learns from the collaboration with Icologiq's team as well. René mentions that “They always keep a finger on the pulse of their customers: does the software, as we have made it work in practice? What could be improved, and what should be changed? Due to the close interaction between software developers and their customers, the company ensures that the software is well-connected to practice at all times.”


When asked how he would summarize his relationship with Icologiq in one word, René says without hesitation: “Equal. They understand our business, and we can talk at an equivalent level. We learn from them, and they learn from us. It is not a customer-supplier relationship, but a real partnership.”


We are proud of collaborating with customers like VTTI and providing the structure they need to grow their business while supporting their ambitions in HQSE Management. Icologiq Elements is an advanced EQMS that helps Quality leaders worldwide develop and deploy their vision to increase the maturity level of Quality within an organization. Schedule a personalized demo to learn more about our platform and solutions.

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