Piet Pannekeet in 1994

JASA: from cutting vegetables to packaging machine specialist

Entrepreneurial blood runs through the veins of the Pannekeet family. We mentioned before that both Piet Pannekeet’s father and grandfather ran their own business. Piet’s company, PMT, started with servicing machines and evolved into packaging machine specialist JASA. Even though Piet began on his own fixing up and maintaining cutting machines, it didn’t take long before he hired his first employee. It was the start of 33 years of JASA.

Piet Pannekeet op de AGF in Ahoy Rotterdam 1995

The first employee

“I was always on the road to help customers,” Piet Pannekeet says. “I needed someone to help me repair and revise the machines as well as answering the phone.” PMT was doing so well that Piet needed to hire someone within the year. “The first person I hired was Nico Venneker, he just got out of school,” Piet remembers. “He worked at a company where he didn’t enjoy working. When I went over to his house, I was initially going to ask his brother to come work for me. But when I arrived, Nico’s mother answered the door and told me Nico was looking for a new job.”

Piet rented a workshop close to home where he could store and fix up all the machines. “Nico was very good with the machinery. He took everything apart, cleaned it and put the machine back together.”

Nico also answered the phone and talked to customers. In that time mobile phones were still nonexistent. “I always carried a pager with me so Nico could reach me. And after every customer visit, I called the office to ask Nico if there were any other customers in the area I needed to see before I headed off to my next appointment.” Nico stayed with JASA for a long time as the head of the technical department before starting his own company.

Piet op de Potato beurs in 1993

PMT to JASA, packaging machine specialist

It didn’t take long before Piet acquired customers in Belguim, but the first customer in Finland was a special milestone. The project itself proved to be a great challenge because of the low ceilings. It meant the packaging machine needed to be built in a very specific way. This was the moment where Piet hired more service mechanics. “I went to Finland for a week to assemble the machine. If during that time customers in the Netherlands needed help, I wasn’t there to help them”, Piet explains.

In the beginning, PMT was known for servicing and maintenance of packaging machines, cutting machines, washing machines and centrifuges for vegetables. Later Piet stopped servicing the latter three and referred customers to companies specializing in these machines. JASA still maintains close relationships with the companies that specialize in the services that complement JASA’s.

After service and maintenance, the next logical step was developing packaging machines. It didn’t take Piet long before he started to build his own machines. “I used to import the packaging machines from Germany, but it turned out it was better to develop my own vertical packaging machines.”

It went so well for PMT that they grew out of their office and built the Hazenkoog 14 in 1994. Just a little under ten years later Hazenkoog 16 was built. To this day you can still find JASA here.

In 2005 the name PMT changed to JASA. It was a name that was better suited for international clients. “Some customers say the name JASA sounds a bit Chinese,” Piet Pannekeet laughs. But it couldn’t be further from the truth, JASA is a family business, and the name reflects that. JASA is derived from the names of Piet Pannekeet’s children: Jarno and Sandra.

Piet met de JASA 60 graden in 1994

Packaging machine specialist JASA now

At the moment JASA is growing fast and working on expanding internationally. Eduard de Haan is in charge of the day-to-day basis operations and works on standardizing processes and machine options. This makes it easier to sell to customers and to inform them of their options. It set a clear expectation of what JASA can do for her customers. This conflicts a bit with Piet’s ‘everything is possible’ and ‘we can build anything’ mentality, but he also sees that this improves the quality to make it easier for JASA to scale and sell their packaging machines.

“I’ve known Eduard for almost fifteen years through the UMA,” Piet says. “After Eduard sold his last company I asked his advice on improving our processes. He loved working at JASA and let me know he was looking for another company to invest in and wanted that to be JASA.”

Since Eduard came aboard, JASA is growing. All processes are being streamlined, and things are viewed from all angles. “We used to just focus on the technique of the machines,” Piet explains. “Eduard focusses more on processes, marketing and is a real initiator. For instance, he says: build a zero series and see how you can improve on that. We really embraced that, and that’s something you can see in the Next Generation Sleever and its development process.”

Now that JASA is crossing the border to the USA, standardizing is more important than ever. With a clear focus and product, it’s easier to conquer the American market. Something Piet is excited about: “I love seeing all these new development. And I think forsee things are going to come out of this.

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