The Old Dutch story starts with one word: quality. Established in Minneapolis in the early 1930’s, the company has continued to deliver the finest snacks, fresh from the heart of the Upper Midwest. Since the very beginning, Old Dutch has made its chips with the utmost care, the purest ingredients and on a processing line that can guarantee the company’s high standards. “We’re proud that quality lives here, within each and every one of our products and throughout the whole organization,” says Jorn Remmem, Principal Project Manager at Old Dutch.
Old Dutch has seven manufacturing facilities in North America and distributes its products in the Mid West, Canada and New England. The company builds on strong brand recognition in the market place and differentiates itself through constant investments in quality. Old Dutch counts itself among the top 10 chip suppliers in North America.
Quality through investment
Almost two years ago, Old Dutch went out and started looking for a proper chip sorter. The philosophy of the company is to have quality at every level, which made them look for a supplier that shared the same values.
“We learned about an alternative sorting equipment manufacturer in Europe, through publications, word of mouth in the industry and by visiting several trade fairs. We soon had the impression that this could be a potential partner to us,” Remmem comments. “Whenever we make capital expenses, it is very important to maintain a good economical approach that positions the company for future growth. We make conscious decisions, selecting equipment capable of improving quality while reducing costs.”
Old Dutch made a thorough market inspection. “After first contacts with Jim Timmer, the local representative for TOMRA in the Mid West, we got to see the capabilities of the sorter. We were impressed with it and decided to further investigate TOMRA’s offer. Through successful demonstrations at the headquarters in Belgium and reference visits in France, TOMRA proved that they could deliver what they were promising.”
“During the demonstration with our own chips, simulating our production environment, we could experience our actual results. The sorter provided excellent results at an attractive price,” concludes Remmem.
At the end of the day, when it was time to make a decision, one of TOMRA’s strong points was that they were able to provide outstanding support and customer service. When we wanted to perform a test on a machine, there was no problem and when we wanted to see one working, it was no problem. Every claim that TOMRA made, they stood behind. TOMRA showed professionalism throughout the entire organization.
“That gave us a good and comfortable feeling, because not only did we see a capable machine, TOMRA’s Genius™, at a good price, but we also saw a strong and reliable organization behind it that could help and support us whenever needed. Our decision was made!”
“TOMRA works with local representatives in different countries. Timmer did a very good job on presale and follow-up. He was there when we needed his advice and help. Having local people who you can talk to and who go that extra mile for you is part of the excellent customer service TOMRA provides. They made sure that the project was successful.”
Results after installation
“An important element in our decision was the sorting efficiency of TOMRA’s Genius™. TOMRA is able to pick out the bad product while minimizing the good to bad ratio, which is one of the crucial parameters defining the cost of ownership of a chips sorter.”
“We have now operated the machines for about one and a half years and they do a great job every single day without any problems. We are very satisfied with the performance and would absolutely recommend TOMRA's sorters. Since we installed TOMRA’s Genius™, we have experienced low installation and maintenance costs.”
“Installing the machines properly in the current line was crucial to keep both installation cost and operating cost low. TOMRA took the time to adapt the machine to fit into the line so changes were minimal, minimizing the total cost of ownership.”
“In the beginning we had some difficulties in getting the machines set according to the correct parameters, but there again, we all worked together. We got the machines and the rest of our processing line where it needed to be and we soon noticed that the quality we were getting was even better than what was specified during the tests.”
“We know these difficulties in the beginning are something you need to go through and I have to say I was very satisfied with how things came together throughout the process. We haven’t seen any problems with the seven TOMRA sorters after the initial commissioning challenges.”
One of the biggest challenges of the chip industry is finding the right balance between quality and yield. “The consistent performance we see from TOMRA’s sorters enables us to optimize both quality and yield.”