Making great products10-03-2022
Wiebe Hut, head of work preparation, VDH Products
Wiebe Hut (57) has worked at VDH for almost 40 years: “If I hadn't been so proud of the company, I wouldn't have worked here for so long.”
Started in surface mounting
After studying electrical engineering at technical college, Hut started working on surface mounting printed circuit boards at VDH in 1983. At the time, before the famous SM785D temperature controller, this was still done by hand. When the SMD moulding machine was introduced, Hut switched to the job of process operator. The work process was different in those days. Assembly took place in series and once the last one was rolled out of the machine it often took several days before the new series could be produced.
Over to the warehouse
It soon became 2 days of assembly, 3 days in the warehouse. A nice change between working with your head and your hands. Back in those days, stock management and the preparation of orders were still done with a card system.
When computers arrived in the 1990s, they signalled the start of a revolution. VDH started working with a real warehouse system. Learning to use the administration program was real pioneering work. Hut started working as a purchasing assistant and took care of internal purchasing. That meant lots of logistics, making sure that everything is available and releasing orders for production.
Good work preparation requires an in-depth knowledge of the entire process. Sometimes you decide to release an order even if not all the parts are yet available. Sometimes an order suddenly has priority and you take the parts you need from another order. And in Navision everything is tracked and planned.
‘VDH Products was the first company to start working with Navision 2009. Every night, the computer runs a program to calculate what is needed and what is available in terms of stock. I make sure that the orders for the day are sent to the order pickers. Then I find out what can be done in production. The rest of the time I make adjustments and solve any problems that arise.”
It began with 13 men
When Wiebe started, they only worked with 13 people at VDH. The working conditions were very different.
“You waited for your colleagues to finish and left at the same time, sweeping the floor for each other. Working overtime was the rule rather than the exception, and then you also went to the pub together or spent an evening at the club. I still remember the April Fool’s Day pranks that we played on Van der Heide, the owner-director at the time."Sense of belonging and job satisfaction
One thing that has stayed the same is the sense of belonging. And that’s what makes the work so enjoyable. Hut is still one of the first people on the job in the mornings (“I don't need much sleep”). Then he waters the plants in the warehouse and makes coffee. VDH is now probably too big for that family feeling of bygone days. But people still share their personal ups and downs with their closest colleagues.
Another thing that has stayed the same over the past 39 years is that customer satisfaction is still the top priority.
“Together we still make great products at VDH. And that makes you feel proud. With my input in the process, I help to make sure that everything works. I hope to stay on here for another few years. The pleasant working atmosphere, the personal responsibility and the healthy mentality of working together on an excellent end product really make it all worthwhile. And the fact that we’re we feel as young as ever bodes well for the future."