Interview with helpdesk coworker Frans Vendel
What back in 1985 started as Pannekeet Machine Technique is currently known as JASA. Helpdesk coworker Frans Vendel (52) is part of this organization for over a quarter-century. The proud father of 2 daughters started as a technician in which function he traveled the globe. A walk down memory lane.
*Party at JASA!! Frans works 25 years for the company. (januari 2017)
Frans, tell us about yourself.
“I am married, and I have 2 fabulous daughters of whom I am really proud. Becky (23) and Christa (20). Becky is a medical radiation expert working at the oncology unit in the AMC hospital, in that capacity she performs radiotherapy treatments to cancer patients. Christy studies applied mathematics at the HVA college in preparation for her Master’s degree from the VU university. Both are doing really well!
Me, I am a genuine handyman: I spent most of my free time on odd jobs in and around the house. My wife will think of a project, which in turn, I will design and construct while enjoying every minute of it. Furthermore, I like riding my bicycle to work, and I love photography. The JASA picture that is flaunted on the cargo truck of our logistic partner -Jonker- is from my hand!”
How did you end up at JASA?
“I remember that as if it was yesterday, on January 7, 1992, I noticed one of these small 1.5 x 2.3“ ads in a newspaper, it read; Pannekeet Machine Technique is in search of a service technician. So, I wrote a letter, and the following Thursday I had my job interview around 8 pm. The next Monday morning at 6 am I was the newly minted service technician sitting beside director Piet Pannekeet. We were in his car on our way to a customer. Yes, it can happen that fast! At that time the company was formed by Piet Pannekeet, his then-wife, and 4 employees. From that group, only Piet and I still remain. Piet is approaching 65; hence if I continue working here up to my retirement, I will surpass him in duty years!”
What exactly did your job as a service technician encompass?
“I visited our customers on location; the job could vary from complete machine installation to fixing a minor hitch. I enjoyed the job thoroughly and remained in that position full time for 12 years. Our customers could be located anywhere, it is hard to imagine nowadays, but at that time we traveled without navigation systems or cellular phones. I drove to the city of the customer, navigating by a road map, and the city street plan to find my way. It was the age before Google Maps!”
Have you been to many places?
“Yes, and not only limited to the Netherlands. It was not before long after I started that I traveled to Belgium and Germany. Soon thereafter, my traveling expanded worldwide to countries like America, Canada, Iceland, Greenland, South Korea. The minute a customer called from the other end of the world, I hopped on a plane and flew out to fix the problem. The job required me to travel to all corners of the globe, a great way to see the world!”
Currently, you are engaged in services, what led to your career switch?
“It was actually a natural transformation. At a given time, I started supporting our supervisor by answering phone calls from customers. After he left JASA, I filled the void by taking on the role of office staff for the service department and took on every task that comes with the territory. I am totally on my game in this position. I enjoy the customer contact and the entire process leading up to the planning and assignment of the technician. I take care of everything, enjoying the diversity of the job.”
What has changed over the past years?
“Our social behavior on the work floor. In the past, it was virtually impossible to occasionally get off an hour early, we had too much work and insufficient staff to allow that kind of flexibility. Nowadays we have a bigger pool of service technicians. When one of them wants to go home early, I can plan and facilitate it. They are all hard-working and highly dedicated; hence, their needs should be taken into account as well. The team spirit between us is excellent, and we practice a culture of solidarity.”
What in your opinion is one of the strong points of JASA.
“In my opinion, JASA boasts an ironclad organization. Any job at hand converts into a team effort, and together, we successfully get the job done. All of us are highly result-oriented. A fact for which Piet Pannekeet deserves all the credit, he simply never gives up. At the same time, our general manager Eduard has the insights and knowledge of how to steer a company that faces enormous growth. Looking back at when I started compared to where we are today, shows that growth. JASA started out with 5 employees, from that we have grown into a well-structured company comprising various departments, and currently, we even have a division in America. Hats off!”
A quarter of a century at JASA, what is the best of this period?
“I am tremendously proud of the service department. Nowadays we run this department without a manager, making it a real team effort! Whatever the job demands, we tackle it as a team. Though I feel generally responsible since I was here from the beginning, I helped this department develop from scratch. This department is my baby.”
What will your future activities be at JASA?
“To me, it is essential to focus on the prevention of machine breakdowns, that means planning service jobs in advance by means of signed service contracts with our customers. In the past, we would activate our service technicians only after a call about a problem came in. We would then go to the customer, fix the problem, and leave. The industry has changed though, our customers became more demanding and are often located far away from our plant, leading up to long traveling times. By planning frequent service intervals, we can prevent the most common problems while at the same time, it allows us to meet our customers regularly.”
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