As our intelligent new version of AEOS Locker Management launches, we talk to one of the key figures behind it – Geert Leemkuil.
About Geert Leemkuil
Geert Leemkuil is Product owner and member of the partner experience team at Nedap and, for him, the world of electronics is one big hobby – something he loves being immersed in both at work and out of work. Geert also enjoys photography, and often employs these skills at Nedap to create product shots and atmospheric images. Married, with two children and three grandchildren, Geert lives in Winterswijk in The Netherlands where he grew up.
So Geert, how long have you worked at Nedap?
I’ve worked here since 1987. In my first few years, I gained lots of experience by starting in production and then moving to the service department. When I joined, the managing director, Mr Westendorp, gave you an introduction and said that if you see things that can be improved, you should do that. That’s always been at the back of my mind and has become my motivation.
What do you like most about the company?
At Nedap, you can always give your work your own twist. It’s always varied here, and never boring.
You’ve been Nedap’s locker management expert for years – how did that happen?
In 1998, I was asked to start a new business unit with two commercial colleagues. It was called Recreation and we offered a combination of locker management, access control and third-party registration software. I was an all-in-one technician, service technician, project leader and business support – there was only sales that wasn’t in my portfolio! Eventually, our locker management system became part of AEOS again, which is how it is today.
In 2021, I was asked to become product owner at the start of a new development process for lockers. It’s something I’ve actually been doing for years, because I’ve been involved in all the developments surrounding locker management from day one.
What I find important is to bring customer feedback into the product. Our LoXS terminal came about, for example, because a customer (as well as mechanics and installers) kept giving feedback on the old terminal. During an update, we can show the improvements to customers and they feel heard and involved. I like that.
What attracts you to locker management?
The variety of the product. I’m hardware minded with software on top. It’s a complete solution and that attracts me very much. It’s about what the person does when using the locker, right through to the management of lockers.
In all those years as a locker management expert, what’s stuck with you most?
One of my most memorable projects was a large installation in Australia that involved 7000 lockers in one building for a bank. I was there for three days providing training on the installation and the director asked me to come back and help with the delivery.
It turned out they’d paid good attention during the training because everything was installed perfectly and working well. I only had to do a few updates. That was a great feeling – I could pass on knowledge and it made a difference. I was very proud of the result and the collaboration.
What was your role in Nedap’s new AEOS Locker Management solution?
In the beginning, I was mainly busy on the technical side, collecting data with a small project group. We also built the foundation. Then we got the green light to actually create the system. We started building it in May 2021, with a team of seven developers and two UXers, and it felt like an impossible task, but we did it.
Initially, we drew up a minimum viable product – a 1.0 version with a deadline of the end of 2021. I’m proud that this ultimately became a complete, flexible version to take to market. After this, the test period started, and our marketing team, sales colleagues and technical writers were engaged. It involved a lot more than just development and I really enjoy seeing a product come to life.
What was it like developing this product in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis?
I was a bit apprehensive, but it turned out 100% better than expected. What has stayed with me is the working methods that make this possible today, like scrum boards, JIRA, Confluence etc. We had to use those and the whole team turned out to be perfectly capable of doing all these developments remotely.
Nedap was a pioneer in the field of locker management. How does our new proposition keep AEOS Locker Management relevant?
It has to be adaptable to every work situation and we have that now. The new way of hybrid working is being widely adopted and creates an increased need for lockers, but also changes how they’re used. An insurance company says, for example, that since the pandemic they’ve adjusted the number of desks per employee to 0.4. This also applies to lockers and that’s why you need a flexible solution where people can store their personal belongings without taking up too much space.
AEOS is unique compared to the competition because it combines security functionality with locker management. If you need to block someone’s access, for example, it has to apply to the doors and the lockers. With AEOS, that’s easy to set up and manage.
How is AEOS different from other solutions?
Nedap strongly believes in using best-of-breed technologies with AEOS at the heart integrated with various other systems. So why, for locker management, did Nedap develop a new solution rather than using a third-party integration? The philosophy is that we secure every door, up to and including the smallest compartment: lockers. This is also where our security for life story comes into play – we create security for employees, so they feel free enough to get on with life unhindered.
What is market feedback on the new AEOS Locker Management product so far?
I only see big smiles from customers when we’re presenting it. It’s exactly what they’re looking for and want.
Which functionalities are people most enthusiastic about?
The flexibility for providing cloakroom compartments is proving very popular. And we’re finding there are more questions from people looking to take in and issue IT equipment in a secure, well-recorded way. Both are related to the new hybrid way of working.
For people who worked with our previous locker products, what do they see as the biggest advantages of our new solution?
What really stands out is the touchscreen and the ability to use your mobile phone to open your locker – we’re working with the latest technologies and solutions. And our new AEOS locker proposition enables a system that’s just as powerful for locker management as it is for access control.
What’s the main advantage of combining locker management with access control?
In one system, you can collate all door and locker events, and manage all your employees and contractors and more. It also means that all the security features available in AEOS are also available for locker management, including single sign on, data encryption and SOAP interfaces.
What are you looking forward to most in the coming months?
I’m looking forward to sharing all my experience and knowledge with our partner network. I’m also looking forward to gaining experience with end customers because I’ll be visiting them to collect feedback and give demos or training sessions.
How does it feel now the new AEOS Locker Management product has been launched?
I see it as a milestone, but certainly not the end. By that, I mean I’m already working on new things that will come next in terms of lockers. The development doesn’t stop – and it shouldn’t because we’re getting feedback from customers and we’re going to do something with it!