Nonstopfreshmagazine juni 2019 uk





for the fresh

produce sector

June 2019


Opening HQ Breda

June 15, 2019

Read online:

Foreword Jack Aartsen



All in the family!

This edition of our nonstopfresh

magazine is very special. We are

extremely proud of this issue. It even

has historical significance: as from today,

our name is Aartsen.

Who changes the name of their company? We do! Why? You will find

out in this magazine. I also hope that all of our people will proudly carry

and represent our name.

So much is happening with us! We are involved with many things and

I have to be honest: I sometimes wonder whether it is not getting to be

too much for our people. Fortunately, all of these things are positive and

stem from our success. During the past three years, we collectively

experienced the greatest growth in the history of our company.

Having been in business for a mere 112 years, experiencing steady

growth almost every year, now is the time. Never did I think or expect

that we would be where we are today, which is what makes me the

proudest. A phenomenal team achievement!

It is on the basis of this success that you can start thinking about things

such as expansion, renewal, improvement and innovation. In fact, we are

doing exactly that. We just put the finishing touches on our beautiful

Venlo branch. It is now a top-class branch with the best facilities that

you could wish for. In Belgium, we continue to grow steadily and we are

hatching new plans for expansion. We are also experiencing massive

growth in Hong Kong, while the rest of the world is watching us intently.

Finally, we are pleased to open our new head office in Breda; it is truly an

exceptional eyecatcher. In other news, dozens of people are investing an

incredible amount of time and energy into building our new ERP system,

our Blue Banana project. After the summer holidays, we will start building

a packaging warehouse in Breda and expand the warehouse offices.

Our Aartsen Kids Foundation continues to work towards the well-being

of children, while keeping to the sidelines in doing so. They deserve

centre stage and a wholehearted compliment for their efforts. In short,

the phrase ‘never a dull moment’ certainly applies to Aartsen!

When I do take the time to sit and reflect on everything that is happening,

I keep arriving at the same conclusion: we really do have a strong team!

After all, you can build the most impressive stadiums and lay the lushest

turf, but it all comes down to the players on the pitch. With that in mind,

we aim for the Champions League each and every year.

Every year nonstopfresh.

Now with a new name and a new head office. Now as one united family.

This is power. Yes, Jack, go ahead and pinch yourself, you are

not dreaming...

I hope that you really enjoy this special edition, which will provide you

with good insights and exciting updates on Aartsen!

Kindest regards,

Jack Aartsen


fresh/ 3

On track

for the

next phase

Jack Aartsen on the new name,

the head office, solidarity and the future

There are plenty of good reasons for sitting

down with Jack Aartsen at the impressive

wooden table in his office. Firstly, there is

his company’s name change: as of today,

it is Aartsen. Secondly, the official opening

of the new head office takes place today.

Both of these developments help to

strengthen the sense of family and solidarity.

Jack Aartsen talks about these developments

through the lens of four issues.


name change

‘The name change is something I have been

thinking about for years. That is because the

name aartsenfruit does not really cover what

we do – it only tells part of the story. If you

take a look at the Benelux and our circle of

clients, it is obvious that we are aartsenfruit,

because we have a good reputation and

an established position in the sector. But in

recent years, when travelling in the rest of

the world, I have regularly experienced that

our name raises questions, especially when

I am telling someone about our company

for the first time. If I am talking to a fruit

producer, then it is fine, no problems or

questions. But if I am telling my story about

aartsenfruit to a vegetable grower,

then I frequently get asked why I am

interested in his products. After all,

what does a company with “fruit” in its

name have to do with vegetables?’

‘For some years now, I have known that the

name did not match the content, but I did

not feel an immediate need to change it.

When we started our nonstopfresh

campaign in 2016, my marketing people

told me that our company name actually

was not correct. In a way, they planted

the seed of change back then.

Since that moment, I have really given

it a lot of thought, but a name change is

not something you do on the fly, since

it involves so much.’

‘Now that the new head office is ready,

I have taken the leap and chosen a new

name. It is a good moment for a change.

To make sure we do this properly,

we are giving ourselves a year to transform

aartsenfruit into Aartsen. We are changing

all the external marketing material straight

away, but in practical terms it is difficult to

replace every pen, doormat and sticker.

And besides, it is no longer socially

acceptable to chuck something in the bin if

it has not been used up or still works well.’

‘Like I said, the most important reason

for the change was the confusion about

the fruit/vegetables issue. But there is

something else too. In 2002 we became

a true family business again, and with the

name change we underline the sense of

family even more.’


fresh/ 5

The new head office

‘Today we are opening the new head office,

and if you were to ask me whether it is

turned out beter than I expected, then my

answer would be yes. The same goes for

whether it is turned out better-looking than

I expected.’

‘We were and are a growing organisation,

and at a certain moment you start running

out of space. We are not running out of

ambition, though, so in early 2016 we sat

down with the architects to make plans

for a new head office. We quickly realised

that the existing office building was still

largely suitable for 2016, even though it was

designed in 2004 and built in 2006. That is a

real compliment to the team back then.’

‘Working on the basis of what we already

had, we have now developed a 2.0 version.

As always, we asked ourselves what needed

to be improved. We developed and realised

the new building based on the answers to

this question. We have changed quite a bit in

terms of technology and air conditioning and

we have also looked ahead as regards style

and appearance. Nevertheless, it is great that

we are opening a head office with the same

kind of look and mostly the same choice of

materials. In 2006, the office was built in a

way that permitted expansion, but I could

not have imagined back then that in 2019

we had be quadrupling our floor area.’

‘Over the past three years, we have

experienced Aartsen’s biggest period of

growth. So much has happened for us in this

time. The company is developing at a rapid

pace, not only in commercial terms, but also

with new and growing departments such as

IT. That requires space. It does not need to

be the most beautiful, expensive or luxurious

office. You will not find any gold taps here,

which I do not even like actually, but we do

have a special quality. When you see the final

result, I believe you will agree that we have

a wonderful contemporary and distinctive

office building within our sector. I am really

happy with it and I hope and believe that my

people will love to work there.’

The sense of family

‘In the new building, departments are

physically much closer together than in

the old situation. All the departments work

together in the modern section of the head

office. Everyone works in the same space,

shares the same coffee pantry and uses

the same lunch space. This strengthens

collaboration and solidarity between the

commercial, administration, IT and marketing

& communication departments, thus

achieving one goal of the new building.’

‘Moreover, I hope that the name change

contributes to the sense of family, even if

just by 1%. Aartsen’s success depends on

the quality of the people who work for us.

We employ truly fan-tas-tic people,

and their number is growing all the time.

One disadvantage of growth is that the

sense of solidarity decreases and there is a

risk that the atmosphere will become more

impersonal. Increasing our size is a tricky

issue, I feel, because it also brings some

things I do not like so much.’

‘You see, I want to make sure that we retain a

culture of collaboration, that we are all in this

together. All the management staff do their

utmost to strengthen the team feeling, the

culture and the solidarity. Aartsen is no place

for loners, we always look for team players.

That is our quality. If the name change and

the sense of family that goes along with it

help to promote the sense of solidarity,

then in my view it is mission accomplished.

Time will tell.’

The future

‘To be honest, I am curious about how

many people expected us to announce

something historic today. Many people

may have thought it would involve me.

I have absolutely no desire to retire –

perish the thought. However, in order to

focus my energies on other issues and to

give people the chance to progress in their

careers and take on more responsibilities,

I withdrew from day-to-day commercial

activities at the age of fifty. This has made

us stronger as an organisation.’

‘Looking to the future, I can say that I never

want to become that old guy at Aartsen

who keeps interfering with everything and

everyone. The previous generation did not do

that either and so created opportunities for

new talent and new qualities and abilities at

Aartsen. I need to find the right balance here.

However, what is certain, is that Aartsen

is not for sale and that I want to guide the

company into a new phase. The long-term

future – that will be my challenge for the

coming years.’

Aartsen is

no place

for loners,

we always

look for

team players.

That is our



fresh/ 7

new HQ Aartsen

Tour at the new Aartsen headquarters

‘Each detail is th

The time has come for the opening of the new headquarters in Breda. But what makes the

new office so special? To get the full story, we joined Aartsen’s operational manager

Frank van der Velden, architects Paul Grosfeld and Jaap Bekkers (who are partners at the

firm Grosfeld Bekkers Van der Velde Architecten) and interior architect Jan Geysen from

PUUR architects on a tour at the stunning new building, both inside and out.

ere for a reason.’


fresh/ 9

new HQ Aartsen




Jaap: ‘We gladly subscribed to the longstanding

concept of having a pavilion

alongside the original farm with a subtle

and scenic feel. That principle has been

upheld.’ Jan added: ‘The pavilion – the

office – clearly has a formal, international

and businesslike character. By contrast,

the farm has an informal character.’

‘It is very important that the ideas which

the architects develop can actually be

implemented’, said Frank. ‘To this end,

we involved the contractors in the

project from the start. By doing so,

the construction partners were able to

come up with practical, suitable and

affordable alternatives for certain

components, among other things.’


without going


According to Jan, Aartsen is always

searching for quality. ‘Not only with respect

to the company’s products, but also in

terms of this project. They gave us the

opportunity to forge an excellent working

relationship with everyone involved in this

project.’ The partners’ involvement was

very intensive, which went extremely far in

certain respects. Frank: ‘We built an entire

ceiling fitted with all of the components

for air conditioning, refrigeration, lighting,

sound and fire detection in a site hut.

The aim was to determine whether our

wishes were technically feasible and

whether it was visually what we had in

mind.’ Jaap added: ‘It is quality without

going overboard. We believe that it is

important for employees and visitors to

experience the tranquillity which we aspire.’


fresh/ 11

new HQ Aartsen

F.l.t.r. Pascal, Jaap, Frank and Jan

Jaap: ‘What you cannot see

incredible peace and quiet

Jan: ‘The farm is more authentic than the pavilion. Using the

characteristic connection of a glass corridor creates a larger

contrast between the farm and the office. It is the tangible

connection between old and new.’

Jaap: ‘To me, the effect of the patio exceeds expectations.

The interplay of interior and exterior as well as light and air in

the heart of the building creates a lot of quality.’

Jan: ‘The farm will serve multiple purposes. First and foremost,

it will be where the employees have lunch. It can also be

used for presentations. In addition, it is equipped with a nice

kitchen. Aartsen Kids Foundation will have its own space on the

mezzanine, which is a kind of in-between floor. What used to be

the living room, and later on the canteen, will once again be a

living room for receiving guests.’

Frank: ‘We had a professional kitchen installed in the

farmhouse, so now there is the option of having a caterer

prepare dinners on site for our guests. That way, we can

simply stay in our own surroundings.’

Jaap: ‘When you walk around the building, the high-quality

appearance of the pavilion is striking. Tranquillity, clarity,

beautiful recesses, simplicity, modernity with an appealing

entrance. When you use the main entrance, you experience

the outdoors and indoors becoming one.’

Jaap: ‘We went really far. Take the sunblinds, for example.

We puzzled over this element until the sunblinds’ guiding

mechanisms could be cantilevered and precisely aligned

with the seal joints of the glass.’

Jan: ‘Something that you do not see at first are the ultracomfortable

climate ceilings. All of the technology, including

ventilation grilles, have been incorporated into the joints;

the ceiling does not touch the edges anywhere and we had

the lighting custom-designed. The essence of the space is

emphasised, without the technical elements creating

a distraction.’

Frank: ‘We wanted to keep the dome ceiling as clean as possible.

Consequently, all of the technology is incorporated in or concealed

above the ceiling.’

Jan: ‘We extended the cladding to the inside. The plinth around

the building is made of freestone, which gives it a strong character

of its own, and we extended that to the inside as well. This solution

creates one whole.’

Jaap: ‘The details are incredibly important. If you do not seek out

that level, you will never experience the peace and serenity that you

will experience now. Absolutely everything was considered fully.

Each detail is there for a reason.’

Jaap: ‘We wanted vertical lines only in the zinc roof of the patio.

In addition, we wanted the overflows to be invisible. While that took

a lot of effort, it is all about refinement.’

Frank: ‘Many details in the building remained unknown until late in

the process, which makes it difficult for a contractor to anticipate

effectively, but it all worked out in the end.’

Jan: ‘We are always trying to imagine how people will move around

the office. We ponder this issue together, to the extent that we even

discuss at great lengths the direction in which doors open and the

location of the copier.’

Frank: ‘Although we already had beautiful desks, there were all

these cables criss-crossing underneath them, which is messy.

In the new headquarters, we can easily reach everything,

without cables being visible.’

Jaap: ‘Things do not just happen out of the blue. It takes thought

processes and consultations to arrive at something good. You often

gain new insights during the process as well. As a team, you have

to be open to that approach.’

ut do experience, is the

that the building exudes.’

We are

Marcel Hendriks

I am Aartsen, because I am

a perfectionist too.

This is my family, because

I feel at home here.

Frank van der Velden

I am Aartsen, because I am

passionate about delivering the

quality that we are all committed

to providing.

This is my family, because

I really feel at home here.

Jack Aartsen

I am Aartsen,

fourth generation CEO.

Frans Jongerius

I am Aartsen, because

the company has become

embedded in my genes.

This is my family, because after

years of working together, I truly

feel at home here – part of the

family, in other words.


They are the beating heart of the Aartsen family. Jack Aartsen, Marcel Hendriks and Frank van der Velden

make up the board of directors. Menno van Bremen is the Managing Director Asia. Along with the commercial

management team, consisting of Aart Bezemer, Frans Jongerius and Richard Uijtdewilligen, these dedicated

professionals make sure that all employees feel part of the family.

Richard Uijtdewilligen

I am Aartsen, because I was practically born in

a crate of vegetables. My parents had their own

horticultural business, so I have been immersed in

the world of produce ever since I was a child.

My whole life has been about fruit and vegetables,

with my work for Aartsen being about 90% of that.

This is my family, because we make a fantastic team.

Aartsen’s strategy really appeals to me. We have the

same way of looking at things, which makes me feel

very much at home – it’s just like being with family.

Menno van Breemen

I am Aartsen, because we embarked on

an adventure in the Far East together.

It’s a company with a great organisational

structure, one that I fit into very well.

This is my family, because everyone who

works here has the same values. We work

as a tightly-knit team under the Aartsen

flag, and everyone is committed to the

greater good. It’s a very intimate feeling.

Aart Bezemer

I am Aartsen, because Aartsen is in

my DNA.

This is my family, because it feels

like one.


fresh/ 15

The latest news from Aartsen Venlo


continues to

be strong

The new warehouse in Venlo recently came

into service, followed by the new office

building. Since then, the buildings have proved

themselves to be great places to work. We can

already hardly imagine a situation without the

extra space, particularly in the warehouse.

It always puts me in a good mood when I see

the trucks already standing at our loading docks

early in the morning.

While we have recently expanded our team,

new people are still always very welcome.

There is a very positive flow within the company,

which is also due to seasonal changes.

Spring and summer always bring a different

product range with great products such as

Limburg and Brabant asparagus as well as all

the summer fruits. This change keeps us busy

and in motion – something that excites both

staff and customers.

Frans Jongerius


fresh/ 17

The latest news from Aartsen Hong Kong

Outgrowing the

premises again

The adventure in Hong Kong began seven years

ago. Even though we had to build everything from

scratch, this branch moved ahead nonstop,

right from the start.

I am proud of how we started seven years ago

and reached the point where we are now:

from 0 containers at the start in 2012 to over

3,500 containers this year.

With over 25% of the total turnover, Aartsen Asia

is realising a substantial part of the group turnover.

Our aim is to continue in the same way. It is the

right course and we are really going for it.

As we are booking growth year after year, we are

always seeking people to expand and improve

our team. And yes, we are outgrowing our

premises again. By now, we have moved four

times, but we are once more looking for new

office premises.

Menno van Breemen

The latest news from Aartsen St. Katelijne-Waver

Plans for

the future

Ever since 1995, we have had a location in

St. Katelijne-Waver in Belgium. Following a

vigorous phase of competition in the early years

with the companies already established in the

area, relationships are now fine and all the

surrounding companies have become our clients.

For years now, we have been achieving strong

growth and we have become the major supplier

for many clients. The premises at the current

location were refurbished and expanded in 2008

to provide a floor area of approximately 5,000 m 2 .

We have a good team here, which is reflected

in the growth. In recent years, this growth

prompted us to make plans for the future.

We need space to become even better and

realise our ambitions. As there is a lot of

potential, it is great to look ahead and

make plans.

Peter Hazenberg


fresh/ 19

a full member of the Aartsen family

Aartsen Kids


The change of name for our ‘parent company’ Aartsen also

has consequences for AKF: the foundation’s full name is now

Aartsen Kids Foundation and it has a new logo. AKF has

always been part of the Aartsen family. It provides a

great sense of solidarity, coupled with the knowledge

that the volunteers (Hellen Aartsen, Annick Bezemer,

Caroline Jongerius, Marlies Knevels and Addy van den

Goorbergh) of AKF successfully achieve the goals together

with the Aartsen marketing colleagues (Sophie Bruijns and

Martijn van der Zwalm).

No change to the philosophy

Although it has already been said often, we have

no hesitation in repeating it: we want to make an

essential contribution to children’s health as well as

to their sense of personal value, self-confidence

and well-being.

The foundation gives back something substantial to

society, specifically to children. This initiative stems

from a sense of solidarity. In addition, we do so

because we are convinced that all children have the

right to know how food, nature, health and well-being

are interrelated. We help children to discover their own

strengths and we take a positive approach,

which puts a smile on their faces. This goal

and perspective have resulted in the idea

that ‘it’s cool to be happy to your core!’

(In Dutch: “Stoergelukkig”)

Three pillars

These ambitious goals are not changing

either. We have formulated three pillars

which give focus to our philosophy and

translate our solidarity with children into

very concrete terms.

First are the support projects. In these projects,

AKF works to benefit children for whom a kids’

party or new school items are not something

that they can take for granted.

The second pillar is Cool Treats. This is an

experience-based project for primary school

pupils aged 7 to 9. The aim of the Cool

Treats project is to help children gain positive

experiences with fruit and vegetables,

thus creating awareness of good nutrition.

The third pillar, general projects, includes

sponsoring of fruit and vegetables for sporting

events and school related events too.

The annual Singelloop (Breda Running event)

is another of the general projects. In future

editions of nonstopfresh magazine, we will

devote plenty of attention to the pillars and

the way that they are put into practice.


fresh/ 21

save the date


movie (jack)

nsf magazine

name change









online media



from aartsenfruit

to aartsen







Breda, Venlo, St. Katelijne - Waver, Hong Kong








fruit +



a name change doesn’t just

happen over night










family name

















plan update




What do Porsche, Heineken and

Aartsen have in common? All three are

successful family businesses that are

proud of their name and their history.

As family businesses have a good name

internationally, a name change is a logical

choice. Aartsen is dropping the fruit, but

growing as a family.

Nonstopfresh since 1907

The Aartsen story started in 1907 with a fruit and vegetable

cart. Over the following years, four generations of Aartsen

made the company what it is today: the international

gateway for fresh fruit and vegetables. An important

decision was taken in 2002: after having been under

external management for a while, the company returned

to family ownership. As it is now time for the next step, the

name under which the business originally started, will also

be restored – shorter, more powerful and more meaningful

than ever.


The question was: do we go forward with vegetables,

or do we drop the fruit? Throughout our history, the

name aartsenfruit told only half the story. Since adding

‘vegetables’ to the name was not an option, we decided to

drop the fruit. This choice was diffi cult, but any fruit grower

can tell you that pruning is done for the sake of growth. In

other words, we pruned the ‘fruit’ out of the name in order to

grow further as a family.













We are family

After fi guring out what to do with our name, the following

question quickly arose: how we will communicate it? A

campaign to communicate a new name is not the easiest


St. Katelijne Waver



prospect. It is something that many marketeers avoid. In

the case of Aartsen, however, there was really only one

logical choice: Aartsen is dropping the fruit, but growing as

a family. This phrase is provocative, striking, but relevant and

most of all very true. If there is growth in something, it is in

people. As fruit and vegetables arrive fresh each day and

are marketed, people are the stable factor. People with the

right mentality and a true heart for Aartsen.

We are Aartsen

This notion makes everyone Aartsen, regardless of your fi rst

name. It does not matter whether your name is Jack, Bart,

Esther, Hans or even Toon. Although he retired as Toon Aarts

in 2015 after working for 35 years, being family does not

end once you retire, so even Toon is still Aartsen these days.

The same is true for all of the children in the Aartsen Kids

Foundation. At Aartsen, the family value is not just a paper

value; it is something that we proudly convey in name and

in everything that we do. We are Aartsen.

fruit and



fresh/ 23




We are


According to an old Dutch saying, ‘It is a good

child who takes after his father.’ In other words,

children who do things the way their father

does. Such a nice sentiment.

The saying applies to certain Aartsen

employees, too, since there are a number of

men working here who are not only colleagues

but also father and son. We would like to

introduce you to eight of them in this issue.

Mart Vergouwen, 65 years old

truck driver since 1978

Maikel Vergouwen, 35 years old

truck driver since 2007

Maikel, what brought you to Aartsen?

Maikel: ‘That would be my father, of

course. I was driving for a different

company when I heard that Aartsen was

looking for a new driver. I was keen on a

new job, so that worked out well.’

Did you encourage your son to join

the team here?

Mart: ‘I tipped off Maikel about the

vacancy. Of course, I told him to have

a good think about it. At the same time,

however, I would never encourage my son

to work here if I was not happy here.’

What is it like working with your dad?

Maikel: ‘Although we do the same job,

we seldom run into each other.

Sometimes we start at the same time in

the morning, but on those days we see

each other for a few minutes and then we

both hit the road.’

What is it like to be colleagues with

your son?

Mart: ‘I am thrilled how it all worked out;

still, after a while you do get used to it.

And, as Maikel already mentioned,

we do not see each other every day,

which perhaps is a good thing. On the

other hand, we never have any problems

with each other, neither here nor at home.’

Do you ever talk about work?

Mart: ‘We see each other every weekend –

the kids always visit me – and sure,

when we are gathered around the table

we will talk about work, too. But not at

great lengths or anything; my other two

sons are there, too.’

Why did you want to work for

Aartsen, Maikel?

Mart: ‘He saw that I came home each

night with a smile on my face; that is

a good reason.’

Maikel: ‘The conditions are good and

everything is well-organised. It is a

decent company, the hours are good,

the equipment is in working order and

that suits me.’

We are family!

Joep, what is it like working with

your dad?

Joep: ‘We work together from time to time.

There are moments when I need to look up

a price and then I just tell the customers

that I need to ring my dad. When they

hear who that is, their response is that

everything will work out fine. I like working

with him because I can ask him for advice

and he is always there for me, of course.’

What is it like to be colleagues

with your son?

Youp: ‘It is brilliant being able to

experience his development up close.

He started out as a holiday worker and

when vacancies appeared Joep applied for

them. He told Jack that he would like to be

a truck driver. As it turned out, that was not

for Joep; he is much too active and cannot

sit still for long. When someone in sales

left, Jack said that perhaps that might be

something for Joep. That proved to be

the case: he is enjoying himself and he is

developing well. I am truly proud of him.’

Why Aartsen?

Joep: ‘I started coming here when I was a

little kid. Sometimes during holidays I got

to ride on the trucks with the drivers when

I was 8 or 9 years old. I always liked the

vibe here. I saw that everyone had a lot of

fun and worked hard. That appealed to me,

and it works great for me, too.’

Youp Meeuwissen, 54 years old

sales staff Breda since 1990

Youp and Joep – does that cause


Youp: ‘Actually, having two Joeps or Youps

here is fun. The beauty of it is that my real

name is John and my son’s given name

is Youp. But when I started working here,

there already was a John. I told everyone

to call me Youp; I thought – and still think

– it’s a nice name. A little while later, I had

a son, and we named him Youp. My wife

said that it was bound to cause confusion

since I was already known as Youp at work.

But I said that it did not matter; after all,

what were the odds of our son coming to

work for Aartsen in the future?’

Joep Meeuwissen, 22 years old

stall sales Breda

since 2012 as a holiday worker,

since 2014 permanent employee

We are family!

Dennis, what brought you to Aartsen?

Dennis: ‘My dad was already employed

here and the manager at the time was

a friend of him. I asked him whether

I could get a holiday job. That was indeed

possible, and within two years I joined

as a permanent employee.’

What is it like to be colleagues with

your son?

Kees: ‘It is quite special because

essentially he is my boss.’

Working with your father: is that

all right?

Dennis: ‘Although we work at the same

location, we have hardly really worked

together since I have been here.

Indirectly I am his boss, but he knows

exactly what he has to do and he does

not actually need any supervising. That is

important. We do see each other of course,

but both of us are busy doing our jobs.’

What do your colleagues think

about it?

Dennis: ‘It is fine with them. A half a year

ago, my dad fell and everyone was very

concerned. In that type of situation it’s fine

to acknowledge that we are related.’

Kees: ‘As long as you keep your personal

lives and your work lives separate,

nobody will raise an eyebrow. I simply do

my job and that way I never get the

feeling that I am getting special treatment.

Solid agreements were made to

that effect.’

Do you ever talk about work?

Kees: ‘It is a large part of our lives.

If something happens we share it with

each other.’

Dennis: ‘Everyone talks about their work.

That’s very usual. So yes, I talk with my

dad; since it is trickier to share with your

partner. Work inevitably always comes up

in conversation when we meet up for a

drink or are on holiday.’

Kees: ‘But it is not like we spend the entire

time talking about Aartsen, of course.’

Kees van de Bemd, 57 years old

warehouse employee Breda since 2007

Dennis van de Bemd, 30 years old

assistent warehouse manager Breda

since 2008 as a holiday worker,

since 2010 permanent employee

We are family!

Can we call you an Aartsen family?

Frans: ‘Yes, as a matter of fact.

Wayne and I work at Aartsen, and my

wife works for AKF. And our other son,

Dylan, had a holiday job here a few years

ago. There is a lot of chemistry and

connection with the company.’

Wayne, what brought you to

Hong Kong?

Wayne: ‘Thanks to my parents I was aware

of the fact that Aartsen had opened an

office in Hong Kong and I was very curious

about the operations over there. Jack gave

me the opportunity to do a work placement

in 2015 for six months to see what life

is like here. Within a couple of weeks

I knew that I would love to work here and

that I wanted to move to Hong Kong

after graduation.’

All the way in Hong Kong

Frans: ‘From a parental perspective,

Hong Kong was a big step. We knew

that he would go out into the world.

Wayne has always been a free spirit.

If those are his ambitions, well, then as

parents we can only be happy that it is

with Aartsen. Because there is trust;

we know that it is right. The organisation

likewise has a lot of confidence in him,

which is also nice for a parent.’

Why did you want to work here?

Wayne: ‘I was eager to work abroad

and during my work placement in

Hong Kong I realised that there were more

or less countless opportunities in Asia still

awaiting Aartsen. Furthermore, it is clearly

a family business with close connections

where issues are resolved quickly and that

is always open to good ideas and their

implementation. Taking initiative

is appreciated.’

Frans Jongerius, 57 years old

branch manager Venlo since 1996

Wayne Jongerius, 27 years old

sales employee Hong Kong

since 2009 as a holiday worker Venlo,

since 2016 permanent employee Hong Kong

Do you ever talk about work?

Wayne: ‘We tend to communicate through

Skype or WhatsApp. We see each other

for a few days about three times a year.

We talk a lot about things not related to

work, but we always chat a bit about work,

too, of course. Especially if they achieve

a good turnover in the Netherlands; I will

definitely hear about that. With a reminder

that we need to crank it up a notch

over here...’

Frans: ‘Of course we talk about our work,

but we keep that separate.’

What is it like to be colleagues with

your son?

Frans: ‘It is wonderful that he works

for Aartsen and to see him develop.

My wife Caroline is involved in Aartsen Kids

Foundation and this creates a strong bond

with the family; as a result, Aartsen is often

topic of conversation at the dinner table.’

Developing with

sacrificing qual i

Some developments remain mostly invisible

for a long time. After all, activities such as

creating an inventory, preparing, making

and implementing plans all require time.

The same also goes for the development

of Aartsen’s ERP system. Together with

our partners Thinkwise and Exact, we are

working hard on this ambitious project.

The new update of Blue Banana not only

involves project manager Hans den Reijer,

but also IT manager Hans van Meer. Below

is an account of what they have been doing.


Someday soon, the FreshFuel subproject

(procurement & transport and closing

notifications & commission bills) will start

operating on the basis of shadowing.

A shadowing phase means that Aartsen

uses the old and new system alongside each

other. Depending on the result and the user

experiences, it will then be decided when

FreshFuel will actually go live. The kick-off will

involve the closing notifications & commission

bills element, followed shortly after by

procurement & transport. Some subprojects

will run in parallel; for instance, FreshFuel and

FreshAccount (for the implementation of Exact

Financial) will be worked on simultaneously.

Following the implementation of the first project,

FreshAccount will quickly come into service as

well. As the data from shadow runs and realworld

use come closer together, the pressure

and tension are sure to rise as well.

Several internal presentations have already

been held and the staff at Aartsen is looking

ahead to the new phase with a degree of

hesitancy as well as expectation.

Additional subproject

In other news, the launch of FreshTrade

(sales & logistics) has already been achieved.

Following a phase for analysis, inventory and

planning, we expect construction of the system

to begin after summer. A new subproject has

now been added to the planned subprojects,

known as FreshData. Recently, we have been

working hard to compile all required data for

FreshFuel and FreshAccount. FreshData has

been set up in order to store and access the

data better as well as to structure them properly.

This process will ensure that the data required

for all other packages can be stored at one

central point. FreshData will undergo a process

of validation, correction, control and completion,

which will ensure the quality of data at Aartsen.

Hardware and software

Of course, an ERP system will not work without

hardware and software. Hans van Meer is

responsible for IT at Aartsen. His team is already

doing a lot of work within the company.

This approach suits Aartsen, because the

company likes to keep hold of the reins without

sacrificing quality and speed. Instead of choosing

standard products, it has been decided to carry

Blue Banana
















until 2018 as of 2019


ty or speed

out highly specific work in order to get

the absolute most out of the infrastructure.

The first step was to make an architecture

panel – a kind of construction panel which

sets out what Aartsen wants to achieve in

terms of infrastructure and capacity. As regards

hardware, the company has chosen for the

brand HP, which has supplied products from

Europe, America and Asia. Everything is being

configured and structured specially for Aartsen.

Innovation and


The IT team has been expanded in response

to this dynamic period. A lot is being asked

of our staff, which presents an opportunity

for them to develop their abilities quickly and

broadly. This situation is benefiting the team

and hence Aartsen as a whole. Work on the IT

infra-structure is now under way and all going

well. The construction phase will be followed

by the migration, after which it will be the turn

of the fall-back location in Venlo. As IT is the

lifeline that keeps the company running, it is

important to have another option to fall back on in

emergencies. The team is ensuring that we have

a low-maintenance infrastructure, which always

offers room for innovation and improvement.

‘Some while ago Jack Aartsen compared the

shift from the existing computer system to

the new system with trading in a Polo for a

Mercedes, but I am convinced that a change

from a Polo to a Formula 1 racing car is a

better comparison.’ Hans van Meer

About Thinkwise

Thinkwise is a Dutch software company and a

supplier of a proprietary software development

platform that realises smart enterprise software

conveniently and quickly. Software is often

lacking in flexibility and unable to grow in line with

an organisation, meaning that it quickly goes out

of date. In order to keep up with developments,

a company such as Aartsen must be able to

respond quickly. Thinkwise facilitates this goal

and is ready for the future. In the next edition of

nonstopfresh magazine, we will explain how it is

making Aartsen future-proof.

About Exact

Dutch company Exact is the business software

market leader in the Benelux. They are the

go-to provider for companies looking to automate

their accounting, financial, ERP, HRM and CRM

processes. They also offer a range of industryspecific

solutions. All possible technological

resources are used to ensure that an

organisation such as Aartsen is able to take

sound, well-considered decisions. We will talk

more about the role that Exact is playing in

Aartsen’s ERP project in a future edition

of nonstopfresh magazine.

update Blue Banana




in the future



fresh/ 29



Aartsen wants to stand out in everything that the company does. The fruit and vegetable

market is no different from the job market in that sense. In addition to the best kiwis and

courgettes, Aartsen looks for the finest apples of our eyes. Our channels to the job market

are always rooted here.

Go to

Aartsen is everywhere

No two jobs are the same, however. A warehouse employee requires a different approach

than a commercial employee. Certain things are more important to a school leaver than

they are to an experienced worker. And a school leaver requires a different type of strategy

and resources as well. One you reach through sponsoring on a football pitch; another you

reach through posters at school. You encounter Aartsen at bus stops, stations, on the radio, on

Social Media and at trade fairs and events. We are everywhere the various target audiences


A question of mentality

Still, there is one thing which connects every job at Aartsen and which ultimately takes

centre stage: mentality. Character and mentality are the most important of all of the job

requirements. While you are given all the room that you need to grow at Aartsen, the

foundation must be solid: you have to be cut out for this. This central theme informs every

recruitment campaign and represents what Aartsen is looking for nonstopfresh.

Talent gets an early start

A good example of the right character and mentality is the campaign aimed at commercial

talent. These people are not the most difficult group to find; commercial talent is everywhere.

Although things were going quite well in terms of applications as well, the focus at Aartsen is

on the morning and everyone has to start early. It turned out that this requirement was a deal

breaker for many people. We have since turned it around: you cannot start early enough.

Nonstopfresh on Monday morning

Instead of conducting job interviews during the day, we asked applicants to arrive for an

interview on Monday at 05.00 a.m. While this approach considerably reduces the number

of applications and interviews, the advantage is that you know where you stand as an

applicant. What is even more important for Aartsen: every applicant can be hired virtually

on the spot. After all, the truly talented are there at Aartsen on Monday at 05.00 a.m. in the

morning. Not only do you have a good alarm clock, but – most importantly – you also have

the right mentality to start nonstopfresh at Aartsen.





Getting rid


bananas before



Aartsen zoekt nonstopfresh

Breda, Venlo, St. Katelijne - Waver, Hong Kong


Go to


m ba

You can’t

start early


Apply as warehouse worker on, then you’ll be

the first one for a job interview on

Monday morning at 5


Breda, Venlo, St. Katelijne - Waver, Hong Kong


Stop boring.

Start boarding.


Click here>>

We are looking

for new

crew members

Click here >>



Wij zoek

waar v







of Aartsen.

See you


Singelloop Breda

Sunday 6 October 2019

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