Groningen business conquers the world with used electronics
Gerard Katje and Jannes Cruiming have passed on the daily running of the company to a management team and are investigating new markets to continue growing. “We have grown to date because of our technical knowledge and mouth to mouth advertising”, says Katje. The company repairs and deals in equipment that drives, among other things, machines in production lines of factories. Large electronics manufacturers stop after a while with the maintenance of that equipment. Which is the moment that the Groningen company steps in.
The equipment is dismantled, repaired and tested. After that reserve and replacement parts and well packed and sold again all over the world. This is complicated and time consuming work which we require highly trained staff for. Staff which are in short supply throughout the Netherlands. As there are so few suitably trained staff available, the company organises this itself.
JC-Electronics dives into the filing system at the UWV and looks for unemployed people with potential and an interest in electronics. These people are approached and offered a technical education. The business worked initially with a regional educational centre but now has its own business school where people can attain an mbo diploma. We train older, out of work people, refugee status holders, and young people. Also people who have difficulty with social contact in an ‘ordinary company’ but are very good technically find their place here.
If there is nothing available in the world to solve a technical problem, our research and development try to find their own solution. We have highly trained staff who can, if necessary, design new devices if there is enough market demand to invest the time and energy.
The reason for the success is the dependence on large production processes of electronic equipment. A small defect can therefore sometimes shut down an entire factory production line, at great financial cost. It is therefore possible that relatively inexpensive part is sent at great cost on a private jet from Eelde to a factory in France.
VW and Coca-Cola
The refurbished items find their way via local suppliers to companies such as Volkswagen, Coca-Cola and Fuji. The old devices come from bankruptcies and surplus. Sometimes the people of JC-Electronics just find it in the rain on the side of the road. For example, tens of thousands of euros of old equipment was found after the demolition of an old Suikerunie factory.
When necessary the company sends people on location to the clients in order to solve a specific problem. For example, just before Christmas to a large butter factory in the Achterhoek. There was the manager of the factory with his head in his hands, because thousands of butter bell clocks had to go out and the production line had stopped. A few technicians have also recently helped out the local funfair when one of the attractions failed.
Future of Circular Economy
Gerard Katje thinks that circular production is the future and that his company can make people aware that things can be done differently whilst still making money “You can wonder whether new is always better and whether the problem cannot be solved. In the past people did not throw everything away and now you see that culture coming back a bit.”
According to research presented at the World Economic Forum in Davos, only 9% of the economy is currently circular. The government which, like the European Union, is aiming for a fully circular economy by 2050, will shortly come up with plans to further boost the reuse of products and raw materials.
*Source: Rob Koster, https://nos.nl/artikel/2268733-gronings-bedrijf-verovert-wereld-met-gebruikte-elektronica.html