Interview with Eduard de Haan
2022 was a turbulent year for everyone, and JASA too had to overcome the effects of the turbulence in the world. The company succeeded with flying colors, mainly thanks to the employees who demonstrated their strengths during these challenging times.
Eduard de Haan, CEO and co-owner of JASA, looks back on 2022 and ahead to 2023.
How would you summarize the year 2022 for JASA?
"It has been the most eventful year of my entire working career. Many people have already forgotten, but we were still in lockdown at the beginning of 2022. Those are the kind of absurd circumstances we couldn't have imagined ten years ago.
Due to the pandemic, we have been dealing with a huge supply chain disruption over the last 2.5 years, with all its consequences. For example, containers with parts for our packaging lines had to wait on the ocean near Los Angeles for weeks because the transport system failed.
We have had to hire additional staff to ensure we get our parts in order to deliver our packaging lines on time. We are succeeding in that, but it certainly is challenging.
Next, we had to face the war, followed by a solid wave of inflation. As a result, we notice more caution in the market. Anyway, enough sensation.”
What did you like best about 2022?
"Number one by far was the commitment and flexibility of our staff. All the circumstances made 2022 a harebrained year when you look at all that happened within the company, in which they made all the difference.
How the entire staff has dealt with these disruptions and changes is unprecedented. They have shown tremendous zeal and flexibility.
I am genuinely impressed by the commitment and change capacity of our workforce as a whole. In fact, it is what marks 2022 for me.
And not just for me, by the way. The other day we talked about this with the Management Team, and we are incredibly grateful for the team we have here.”
What, specifically, did the employees have to cope with?
"Take, for instance, the assembly and installation team. They had to deal every day with the uncertainty of the supply chain.
Each time it was a question of whether they would get the parts in time, or at all, to finalize the packaging machines and complete packaging lines. They did an extraordinary job and handled it well and flexibly, and they always got the job done.
A second example is the shortage of personnel in the market. This also placed pressure on our customers. Their technical departments are also understaffed, but the packaging machines still have to be up and running.
Despite all the staff shortages, our service department has responded well to the increasing pressure from customers and helped them keep their machinery operational. In that respect too, they delivered an above-average performance.
The market turbulence has resulted in our staff showing their best selves. And in addition to all those challenges, they have also managed to be well prepared for all the innovations due in 2023.”
‘All innovations’, are there major plans on the agenda?
"Yes. 2022 was a year of preparations, and there are a lot of product launches coming up in 2023. But by the way, 2022 also brought a lot of innovations.
For here at JASA, we are constantly innovating. This approach has contributed to more and more projects, many of which focus on sustainable packaging. These include using less plastic, less packaging material, and using more cardboard and paper. In 2022, we accomplished some outstanding projects in terms of sustainability.
As a result, in the paper and paperboard segment, there have been developments on existing vertical packaging machines, as well as entirely new developments, such as:
- Two different in-line packaging solutions for cardboard trays based on the sealing technologies of the SLM-1200 and the JASA Delta robot;
- The Pop-Up Pack™ (Plano packaging), a complete packaging line for cardboard trays; and
- The JASA Delta Robot; a pick and place robot for end-of-line solutions.
In 2023 we will continue this trend, only more expanded and improved.”
What will those launches bring us?
"In 2023, we are treading a new path. We will, for example, not participate in the Fruit Logistica but, instead, realize our launches in the form of events and customer days. I can already reveal: it will be huge!
So I encourage everyone to keep an eye on our social media channels and newsletter to stay informed. You really don't want to miss these events.”
You keep it very mysterious; can you give us a little glimpse?
"About the launches, I will keep quiet for now, but what I can tell you is that we are working on very cool developments.
For example, we want to keep expanding the product program centered around the JASA pick & place robot to place trays and bags in crates and boxes. With that, we are replacing manual labor with a robot. In other words, we are developing further in end-of-line applications.
A new website is also forthcoming, which fits well with the growth, internationalization, and professionalization of JASA.”
Which 2022 trends will you continue in 2023?
"We are doing more and more projects focused on processed foods, and this means not only fruits and vegetables but food in general.
This stretches beyond convenience food; we focus on processed food, meat, fish, and vegetarian products.
We also see many developments in indoor & vertical farming for leafy greens, tomatoes, and meal salads.
Considerable investments are being made in new greenhouse complexes and vertical farming because of their advantages. Think of:
- Less use of pesticides
- Less use of water
- Year-round growing
- No dependency on weather and climate
- Efficient use of farmland.
With our expertise in packaging solutions for fragile products, we can seamlessly match these developments.”
What's in store for your American branch?
"Internationalization is, of course, one of our pillars. Last year we were able to accomplish fantastic projects in America for leafy greens, vertical farming, and greenhouses, and we are also planning some exciting projects for 2023.
We can achieve this by being the industry forerunner in integrating the most innovative and high-end packaging machines into our packaging lines, including our lightning-fast Rotary Filler.
Due to the success in America, we opened a new branch in Canada. A mega achievement.
That also leads to a fun internal battle at JASA: which branch will be bigger in 2023, America or Europe?”
What will be on your mind in 2023?
"At JASA, we have an unprecedentedly strong, talented, and professional team fully dedicated to the company. I will be committed to keeping everyone happy.
Furthermore, 2023 will be a year of spectacular growth, and I expect us to have a particularly dynamic year. I would even dare say that 2023 will be the most exciting year ever for us from a marketing point of view.
Other than that, we continue to consistently build and expand our market position in the Netherlands, Germany, and North America with our projects. So there is plenty going on.
I dare say that I am eagerly looking forward to 2023.”
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Video of the SLM-1200