Globalization and the rise of low-wage countries have permanently changed the position of Dutch production companies. How do you, as a company, maintain the right to exist for the coming decades?
“In my opinion, it is about dedication to your company and your relationships. Zaanlandia does not make disposable cans, but goes for sustainability. Both in terms of looks and in its customer relationship.”
Daan Kriek (Managing Director)
After working outside the company for a number of years, I started at Zaanlandia. My father said: ‘Great if you want this, but you don’t start in my neighborhood. Just start in our other production location (which was then located in the Achterhoek). And just on the production floor. As a possible successor you will have to understand what is going on in your future organization, what your people are talking about technically. You must be able to participate in this. And you will need to know what you can sell ‘.
It became clear to me very quickly. In a company of this size you have to be able to do a lot, see everything, follow a lot and be able to make decisions quickly and make adjustments. I already had an entrepreneurial spirit in me as a child. The only question was what would I do. It should be something very tangible, because it suited me best.
So I entered this family business relatively freely. I knew that my father would love it if one of his three children wanted to continue his life’s work. But he also knew very well that I was stubborn enough to say after a certain period of time: “No, I don’t have the ambition to take over your company and still take a different path.” In 1999 the shares were fully transferred from father to son.
The triggers were being able to act autonomously, the breadth of the job and the proper organization of your time without losing focus. But especially the kick to see products from their own company in the market. You are part of a process that creates, where something tangible is made that can be measured. And hopefully this leads to a satisfied customer who, partly due to our gaze, is more successful with his products. That is my drive and gives me complete satisfaction!
Family businesses characterize themselves by focusing on business for the longer term, fueled by long-term relationships. This certainly also applies to the relationship with our employees. We give them, solicited or unsolicited, sincere attention when it is needed and we value them for what they add to this company. For me as the owner that is an important starting point. It also applies to our customers and reliable suppliers. Give attention and go for a long-term cooperation.
As an independent manufacturer, you do not have a balanced right to exist without an extensive clientele. We strive for satisfied customers who are loyal but above all remain. Through our input, approach, ideas, the art of moving into them and being committed. Every day again.
In addition, I try to make our family business safe for employees, to expand it further and perhaps pass it on to a fifth generation. But that could also be another organization. It is my goal to get Zaanlandia to become 125 years old in a healthy way. And in such a way that the return is still invested in new technologies, better machines, more efficient accommodation, smarter routing or the right people.
It is our mission to continuously make adjustments, to adapt to the different time phases and to the rapid changes in society, world, technology and therefore our customers. There are many opportunities, but also challenges and threats for companies such as ours. We will have to maintain our strength, continue to inspire others and make every effort. Sometimes with falls and getting up quickly again, sometimes with euphoria and sometimes a disappointment. Only headwind makes a kite take off.
We have been achieving good growth for years. By making beautiful products and opening up new markets. Nurture existing customers and let new customers choose us. How? By making them feel better at home with us and really relieving them. By advising them on developments in our field, but especially by delivering high-quality tin packaging in an optimal mix of price, quality and delivery reliability.
Off to 2032!
(1999 – present)