Eqraft coordinates new construction and doubling capacity Dacomex

Dacomex wanted to significantly expand its ability to sort and pack onions. A new hall with a modern production line offering the solution. A big project involving many parties: from an architect and contractor to an installer and machine builder. To connect all these lines and to make things run smoothly, they called in Eqraft to oversee this complex process.

The family business Dacomex from Sint-Maartensdijk in Zeeland has been exporting onions, potatoes and vegetables for four generations. The company is led by Martin Van Damme and his sons Martin and Jan, who are responsible for sales, purchasing and production. Since its founding in 1961, the company has grown into one of the largest onion exporters in the Netherlands. The lion’s share of their products goes to Africa: about 60% of sales. The United Kingdom is also an important destination, as is South America and the Far East. Martin, who in addition to being the sales manager was also the point of contact during this project, believes in the quality of Dutch onions: “As far as I’m concerned, maximum quality is the goal, not maximum payload.”

Ecraft as a Cartricker
In order to maintain this quality, he decided about three years ago that it was time to expand. The company ran into problems during busy periods: “We wanted to be able to operate more quietly and be able to deliver large volumes even if a customer came in at the last minute,” Martin explains. Moreover, the machine was old and in need of replacement. The choice ultimately fell on Eqraft: as a supplier of a number of machines, but also as a project manager. Martin: “Ecraft really specializes in onions. We were looking for a party who knew exactly how the process was done.”

Program requirements
The first stage in such a project always begins with identifying the client’s desires, says Rutger Keurhorst, Commercial Director of Eqraft. “What does he want his company to look like after this project is completed?” These ambitions must also qualify: What exactly is the output the customer wants and what is the flow required for that? The remaining streams are also already being considered. Eqraft brings all of this information together into a requirements program, including a flow chart and a process description.

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In the case of Dacomex, the requirements were clear: on the one hand they wanted to replace the old line and on the other hand they wanted to expand their capacity. The new line had to be compact and able to operate at a speed of 60 tons per hour. Rutger: “In order to present a good plan in which all Dacomex desires appear, we discussed a lot in our office. We ask each other crucial questions: If I were at Martin now, would I find this layout compact enough? Or if I walked into the hall as a forklift driver, what would it be? Logical design?” You can notice, says Martin: “As a company, you want to hear this extra addition to your plan, to be surprised by insights you didn’t have until now. At Eqraft, the plan has improved a little bit with each meeting.”

Delivery Agent
Once all requirements are defined, project manager plays Nico Bredenhof. He provides valuable advice to the rest of the team to ensure quality and to ensure that the project is completed within the stipulated time frame and on the agreed budget. He also thinks about the third parties that will be involved in the process. Nico: “In this case, a new building had to be built, so an architect got involved at an early stage. Nico explains that he can only sign and send a quote if he knows what kind of machinery should fit into the building. Appropriate permits must also be provided. Timely and any inconvenience must be taken into account: Is the new plant not too noisy, isn’t there a lot of trucks coming and going? Finally, Nikko ensures coordination with the insurance company. This is because it sets all kinds of safety requirements for the new hall and line. “Regarding That, among other things, by putting in place the most fire-hazardous operations and dividing the plant into parts.”

With the right parties around the table
Then there are all the other parties with whom he has to coordinate the necessary matters: the builder, the contractor, the utility installation technicians, the company that installs the security cameras and other machine builders of the parts to be combined with the Eqraft line, to name a few. Nico: “At every stage I put the appropriate parties together on the table, so that all considerations are discussed and Dacomex can make the right choices.” But he also considers practical details: “I make sure that clear agreements are made in advance about on-the-job safety, construction site layout, latrines and canteens that technicians are allowed to use, etc.”

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The men met every two weeks. Martin: “I thought a lot the night before, what should we talk about tomorrow? But then we sat down at the table and Nico suggested item by agenda item.” He was very reassuring to Martin that he could outsource the process. “I think that with new construction you always need a project manager. You don’t have that knowledge yourself and, moreover, you don’t have time to think about all those details: your company keeps going. You want to make a new hall right with the machines at once.”

Good planning is half the battle
To make sure the installation runs smoothly, Nico makes a detailed script and associated layout. Ranking is important. Niko cites some examples: “The building must be freed up by the contractor before the machines go in. Sometimes the only way to install the machine is to put it in first and then install the wall. If asphalt is needed, we can’t immediately drive over the site with trucks.” In short: everything is intertwined and if one person does not control each other, all parties are always waiting for each other. In addition, it is very important for the customer to minimize downtime. Nico: “We are working in different phases, ensuring that the phase in which the customer line has to be stopped is as short as possible.” This is also taken into account in the installation order: for example, the filling part was the first to rotate. In the event that the sorting department is not ready on time, which is unlikely, Dacomex can sort the new crop using the old line and fill it with the new line. Fortunately, it turns out that this is not necessary.

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During the installation, foreman Jorrit Boersma of Eqraft monitors on site whether everything is going according to plan, while Nico keeps a close eye on key features from the office. But if he does his job well, he won’t have to put out too many fires at this busy and important point, Niko explains: “If you make sure you put your planning in place well before the crowds start, then during installation, you have room to move if things go differently for the subtraction and then the party.” Of course sometimes you have to improvise at the last minute, but that challenge is what makes his job so fun, says Niko.

When the new line was delivered as agreed on July 1, the new harvest turned out to be delayed. As a result, there were no onions to test run with. Martin Van Damme immediately went to buy a batch of onions and they rolled out their new sorting line the same day.

bond of trust
Nico’s detailed and attentive project management goes hand in hand with the overall solution that Eqraft wants to offer: not only providing a machine, but also performing an important advisory function. Eqraft has participated in the new Dacomex line as a supplier to various tailors, reading rooms and even flows, tilting stashes, packing machines and belts. But perhaps the role of the coordinator was more important: from the construction of the new hall to the completion of the entire line, including coordination with third parties. Nico: “Customers charge us with this responsibility because they know we care. Even if the line itself is relatively simple, a mistake can have a huge impact on an onion company whose worst nightmare is an unplanned downtime. If they can put that risk on us, it will save them Lots of tension.”

for more information:
Rutger Kurhurst
+31 527256 130
[email protected]

Martin Van Dam
+31 166662550
[email protected]

Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

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