Netherlands-based Jonker, which now revolves around the manufacture of quality petfood internationally marketed under Jonker's own brand names as well as under private labels, started as a flours and compounds trading company in 1937. Ever since making the transition to petfood, the Jonker family-which still runs the business-has been particularly in tune to market changes, foreseeing upcoming opportunities.
Moving on up
The ability to realize new possibilities for continuous improvement and expansion of the Jonker brand led to the decision during the 1970s to start the company's own pellets production, first both for feed and dog food and soon after only for dog food. Between the 1980s and 1990s, many other changes were made, including:
"Every gradual improvement has constantly been designed and implemented while thinking ahead," says Tjerk Jonker, current owner and son of the original Jonker founder. "As a company, we always want to be ready and prepared to meet new market requirements in preparation for further growth."
Putting people first
Human resources are a key asset to the company's inner workings. According to Jonker: "Business success is largely influenced by people's dedication and personal welfare. It is of greater importance to us, as a business, to provide a good, stimulating work environment for our employees."
Martin Sonneveld, production and logistic director, is living proof of this company culture. Sonneveld started with Jonker about 18 years ago as a production operator, developing his skills and experience until his current position as a director. He has witnessed and has been involved to a great extent in Jonker petfoods development efforts. As director, Sonneveld has been working tirelessly to progressively increase the production capacity, as well as to upgrade production methods, process technology and product quality.
"The continuous search for improvement is critical for us, and we're still pushing further advances we achieved during the past decade and beyond," explains Sonneveld. With the installation of a modern milling and mixing line, as well as expanding silo storage to reach a sum of 25 raw material silos with a total capacity of 2,250 metric tons and 59 end product silos with a total capacity of 2,500 metric tons, Jonker was able to increase the total production capacity to about 20 metric tons per hour.
A piece of every pie
This remarkable volume is achieved through three extrusion lines. The multiple lines are entirely automated from dosing, mixing, drying, coating to cooling of the finished product.
Jonker petfood is able to cover different market segments because of its innovative production facilities. Its highly lucrative private label production, for example, offers over 200 customized recipes formulated internally. Several packaging options are also available according to customer demand, such as 10 or 20 kg to 2-5 kg or smaller (1 kg to 200 g), bulk and bags to be repacked.
Jonker focuses on quality control and good manufacturing practices and meeting, if not exceeding, customer demands. Continuing to set the bar for innovation and flexibility, the Jonker plant has recently been certified and is suitable for the production of organic petfood. "One of the more recent and promising niche-segments, which appears to be increasingly attracting consumers despite these latest challenging times," is how Jonker describes the business-savvy move.
When Jonker decided to set up its third extrusion line, the company was not just looking for extra capacity but also for high flexibility, the most advanced technology of the entire extrusion process and to gain both in cost efficiency and product quality. Jonker found the right partner with Dinnissen, explains Martin Sonneveld, who closely followed the extension project, which was completed and fully operational by 2007. The new line, called Magi-N.ext, was adapted to fit inside the existing building and completed with dosing silos for finished product and a system to minimize contamination and manual cleaning.
"The Magi-N.ext's major benefits for us are the ability to switch fast and efficiently to new products and recipes, enabling us to produce a wide variety of petfoods of different kinds and rangelike standard to premium and superpremiumall from the same single line," says Sonneveld. "We also realize savings in terms of energy consumption and production costs due to downtime reduction."
While cat trends continue, the pandemic has added to overall slow-growth treatment of the cat food market.
Premiumization and humanization, as well as automation, fueled continued operation growth in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.