Stephanie Veltkamp, Managing Director at Jeveka, discusses the company’s growth in both location and staff numbers, the implementation of its new IT system and the importance of trust and communication within a team since she started working at the company 15 years ago...
How did you get into the industry?
Jeveka is a family business. My grandfather started the company in 1937, and now my brother Adriaan and I are the owners. That said, it was not an obligation for us to take over the company. I studied geology and after finishing my MSc, I decided to take on the great opportunity and challenge to run the family company. After some serious talks with my brother about 15 years ago, we decided to go for it!
What kind of advantages are there for a fastener company that is family owned?
As we do not have a board of directors, we have the possibility to make our own decisions and can decide where we want to invest without having to answer to outsiders. Other than that, a family company also needs to work hard to meet and exceed customer expectations.
What are the biggest changes you have seen in the industry and/or the company since you started?
The demands of customers have changed. When I started, the product was the most important. These days it is not just the product that needs to be high quality, also the service, logistical solutions and paperwork needs to meet customer demands.
What does your day to day job involve?
My main job is to talk and especially listen to people. I spend quite a lot of time talking to the managers in the company. I know I can trust them and they know that, but that makes it even more important to keep in touch. I support them where needed, as a sparring partner, or to give direction to operations.
In November we implemented a new IT system, we have been working on this for 1.5 years. This, together with Covid‐ 19, put a lot of pressure on the company and all employees. Luckily, we have a lot of motivated and qualified people working for us, my job is to listen and find the pressure points, to motivate people to continue and to make sure communication between departments takes place.
Can you share some of your career highlights and milestones so far?
In 2014 we moved the company from Amsterdam to Almere to a new building. This was needed because we required more space. Since then we have grown from 65 to over 100 employees, we hit this milestone in October and in November we switched to a completely new IT system.
What is your vision as an owner for the future of Jeveka?
To further grow Jeveka’s supporting departments like engineering, supply chain, marketing and quality control. A few years ago, the tasks and services done by these departments were done by one or two people. This was a very fragile base. At Jeveka we always strive for good quality, not just in our products, but also in our services and relations with customers. By growing the engineering, quality control and supply chain departments we are able to give full support to our customers.
What is your favourite thing about the fastener industry?
The cooperation. It is a relatively small industry, and many people know each other, which makes it possible to develop strong connections.