Flash Interview of the Month | Joost Pijnenburg - Neskrid
The Flash Interview of the Month is a very short talk with one of our members, where the interviewee is able to talk about his/her experience in an informal way and where all stories are told in the 1st person. This month we are very pleased to introduce Dutch entrepreneur Joost Pijnenburg from the Neskrid group, including the companies 4Allfeet and Gerla. Joost recently decided to support the Chamber with both companies in the form of a Corporate Membership. Thank you very much, Joost!
1- Gerla and Neskrid are old family businesses. Can you tell us a little more about the history of these companies?
Gerla Products BV was founded in 1904 in the Netherlands and, to its great pride, on its 100th anniversary in 2004, it was awarded the designation “Supplier to the Court by Royal Decree” by the Dutch Royal family. Gerla has been market leader in the production and sale of clogs for decades. In 2013, the Portuguese production company Gerla Lda. was founded for the serial production of the clogs, using high-tech production techniques such as polyurethane direct injection molding and robots.
Neskrid 4Allfeet BV was founded in 1924 in the Netherlands as a manufacturer of children's footwear and later, work and safety footwear. In 2014, Neskrid transformed into a sales and production organization for individual (semi-) orthopedic work and safety footwear, special work and safety footwear, and orthopedic insoles. In 2016, the Portuguese production company 4Allfeet Lda. was founded for one-off production, using high-tech production techniques such as 3D scanning, 3D modeling, 3D milling, and AGO machine production.
2- Neskrid makes orthopedic, work, and safety shoes in Portugal. Why Portugal?
Portugal is considered by Gerla and Neskrid as the ultimate production country for footwear due to the presence of the desired vocational training, availability of good professionals and craftsmen, expertise of organizations such as CTCP, and Apiccaps, wide choice of suppliers, and top technological companies in the shoe industry. The pleasant manners and warm family ties of the Portuguese people are also greatly appreciated.
3- Innovation and sustainability are important focal points for your company. Can you tell us more about that?
As the owner of Neskrid and Gerla, I have a long-term horizon in terms of investing in technology, suppliers, and people. An important motivation is the possible follow-up in the coming decades by (several of) my children, who are already working (partly alongside their studies) for the organizations in the Netherlands and Portugal. Innovation is leading in this respect, with regard to technology, products, and processes. And our employees are trained for this and continuously refreshed in their knowledge.
These efforts have resulted in tremendous growth for both Gerla and Neskrid in recent years. The products are now delivered to customers in more than 15 countries within the EU and in recent years deliveries have also been made outside the EU. To accommodate this growth, investments will be made in the coming years in new production means, such as polyurethane processes, robots, cutting machines, woodworking, and 3D digital technologies. This also requires a new production facility that can accommodate all these processes and the more than 150 Portuguese employees.
4- What has the role of the Chamber been for your company?
A year ago we came into contact with the Chamber with the request to support both Gerla and Neskrid in Portugal in business matters, such as innovations, subsidies, tax, government, housing, etc. Thanks to the efforts of the Chamber, various subsidies have been obtained and a large network of contacts with knowledge has become available. We are very grateful to the Chamber for this.
5- What are your future plans?
The coming years will be dominated by the implementation of new technologies, expansion of the workforce, and new production facilities. We rely on the Chamber's available expertise to support us in all these processes.
Thank you Joost ! We also look forward to work together and continue to support the growth and innovation of your companies.