Spinder Dairy Housing Concepts - one of the three finalistsVFO

Spinder Dairy Housing Concepts - finalist VFO 2020

22 September 2020

Interview with Jehannes Bottema, commercial director of Spinder Dairy Housing Concepts

The well-being of both humans and animals is key

“You can compare furnishing a barn with buying a kitchen. Every farmer has his own specific situation and wish list that we can fully furnish customer-specific with standard components.” Jehannes Bottema, CEO of Spinder Dairy Housing Concepts, knows how a farmer thinks. The same goes for his employees. “Everyone here has a link with the farm. That creates a connection, with each other and also with the customer.”

CEO Jehannes Bottema

Appreciation for each other

Drinking troughs, feed fences, calf pens, cow brushes, separation fences, manure mixers, cubicle matrasses and even waterbeds for cows: this is just a small selection of the complete product range of Spinder Dairy Housing Concepts. Barn furnishing products that are designed and produced in-house, in the brand new building in Drachten. Jehannes Bottema, CEO of the company since 2016, is himself a farmer’s son. So he knows about daily life on the dairy farm and what the farmer needs. “That makes us a serious discussion partner for a farmer. But actually everyone here has some connection to the farm.” Although Spinder is no longer a family business, the company still has many similar properties. “If you take good care of your company, you take good care of your people” is Bottema’s motto. “Employees can just address me as “Jehannes” and that is greatly appreciated. I think it is a great way of interacting with each other and I believe our customers notice and appreciate it too.”

Koecomfort en aandacht

Smart and innovative solutions

Our customers are located in more than twenty countries, including outside Europe, because Spinder produces barn equipment for dairy farmers worldwide. 'Solid quality and smart solutions for the daily activities of the cow', that is what a customer can expect from Spinder. With just as much attention to cow comfort as comfort for the farmer. A striking and innovative example of this is the Cuddlebox. Bottema: “It is a smart aid that offers optimal conditions for the farmer, the cow and the calf during the calving process." Spinder developed this award-winning product together with Vetvice, a team of veterinarians. “Thanks to this collaboration, there is even more attention for animal wellbeing, because a farmer naturally wants his animal to be healthy, so that they give more milk. In addition to working efficiently, it is just as important that people enjoy working. And a well thought-out barn concept contributes to this.”

Making the most of it together

Despite the corona pandemic, Spinder is in good health, although Bottema had something else in mind. “I had to adjust the growth scenario that we had drawn up for 202. Unfortunately this also meant that we were unable to renew the contracts of a number of temporary labourers. Nevertheless, turnover developed well. As of July we are back at the 2019 level around the same time this year.” The fact that Spinder had just moved to the completely new, much more spacious building on the Azeven Noord industrial area in Drachten, turned out to be a fortunate coincidence. This means there is enough space for all employees to work corona-proof. “As a gesture in this special time, we have provided Friday lunch for our people in the recent months. At an appropriate distance from each other, but purposely together.” He mentions selling products via video calling as innovative and surprising. “That was previously unthinkable. Customers want to be able to see and feel the product. Fortunately, they understood the need for adapting and doing things differently. We really made the best of it together.”

Bold choices

“The sector in which we operate is very exciting, but also one that has seen many lows in the recent years. Nevertheless, we took the step to make our company more dynamic and to focus more on export. We consciously chose to invest, even in corona time.” Bottema explains the reason for this daring choice: “A large part of the steel we use comes from Italy. We increased our stock of raw materials in order to be able to continue producing properly, which enabled us to supply the customer quickly.” These kind of choices characterize Spinder, where they like thinking with the customer in an entirely unique and “Frisian” way. “We want to be top of mind. Responding to new developments such as those in the field of sustainability. It is not without reason that the Spinder logo is the color green and our motto is “it can never be green enough.” For example, our new building is built entirely sustainable and we make dairy housing furnishing that will last a long time. Dealing with the well-being of humans and animals in a respectful and right way is always key.

Interview in LC 18-09-2020