“I completed my internship here at FoodeQ as part of my degree and I liked it so much that I never left,” says Manager Services Rick de Feijter laughing. He is a typical example of someone who always sees and grabs opportunities with both hands.
“At the start, I spent much time with Jaco, and I learned a lot during that time. Not long after, I was required as chief mechanic to visit customers for installation and service work and before I knew it, I was spending a week in China working on similar jobs. This all happened in the first month. Now that’s what I call being thrown in at the deep-end! It required a lot of improvisation, because at that point you’re really on your own.”
“Over the years, I have seen our range of machinery continue to grow, and as such, we are playing an increasingly important role in our customers’ production chain. This also means that those customers rightly expect us to organise the service and maintenance side of things effectively, because the machines we supply must continue to run at all times. Especially in this sector, where fresh products are processed, a halt in production is costly. That’s the reason why customers choose for excellence and with our service team we are able to provide a top-notch service.”
“We’re supplying more and more machinery, so it’s imperative that the team continues grow at the same pace,” Rick explains. “We not only take action when a machine breaks down, but also carry out six-monthly inspections and planned preventive maintenance. In the event of a serious malfunction, we make every effort to ensure that the machine is running satisfactorily again in no time at all. That means that we always know what time we leave, but have no idea what time we will return. We demand this mentality from all our service engineers, but when the malfunction is repaired and the machine is up and running once again, it provides us all with such enormous satisfaction.”
Some glitches can be dealt with on the phone or even remotely. “But if deployment on location is required, we will set off with a fully equipped service van so that we have all possible tools at our disposal on site to resolve the problems adequately. If it concerns the control technology, or if there is something wrong with the frequency control, this can usually be remedied quickly with the right knowledge and insight. When a part needs to be repaired or replaced, it may be necessary to grind and/or TIG-weld, bearing in mind that this is done in an environment where strict food safety requirements apply. So that requires improvisation, talent and craftsmanship.” FoodeQ’s Service Engineers are not only there to prevent problems and to resolve them when they need to, but they also support product development, build prototypes and complete machines. “We test machines and take care of the installation and their commissioning for customers. It’s highly varied, a really fascinating area of expertise and our vibrating machinery range is without doubt a sight to behold.”
“If you indicate in which direction you want to go or in which area you want to specialize in, we will provide you with the best opportunities, allowing you to reach your goals. We ask a lot of our employees. You have to be able to think in terms of possibilities and have great problem-solving abilities, not forgetting a positive outlook and disposition. Customers often want us to carry out our work outside the standard production hours, so sometimes our engineers are required to work unusual hours and this requires a flexible attitude. In Italy I was required to work on the machine lines at night, but that gave me the opportunity of discovering Italy during the day. Most of the work is in the vicinity, but a trip abroad is also part of the job as our foreign customers also need us to service their machines. In March 2019, I myself inspected and modified machines in three factories in Canada and America, all within a week. I thought it was a great experience and of course I combined the work with a little R&R. We offer this sort of opportunity to our workforce. We work hard, but there is also time for relaxation and that ensures the right balance!”