VDH Products
VDH Products

VDH Products

Cooling and CA

"Together with VDH Products, we are joined forces to provide our complete ripening rooms with a CE certification"

Interview with Gerard Slagter and Martijn Weststrate from Cooling Service Holland, in VDH Products Customer Speak

Together with VDH Products, we are joined forces to provide our complete ripening rooms with a CE certification
03 April, 2024
Cooling and CA

This is Cooling Service Holland

Cooling Service Holland is a reliable name in the ripening technology market. The company also provides technology for the storage of top- and soft fruit, potatoes, and onions (the entire AGF sector). CSH also supplies cooling technology for data centers (<24 Megawatts). In addition, customers can turn to them for heat pumps, air conditioning, heating, and installation technology.

The company is part of KG Nederland BV, which originated in 2011 from the acquisition of Koelgroep Dorenbos from Tynaarlo by Installatiebedrijf Bakker from Oosterwolde. We speak with Gerard Slagter, sales manager industrial projects at Cooling Service Holland and previously sales manager industrial projects at Koelgroep Dorenbos, and with Martijn Weststrate, Chief Sales and Technical Engineer.


How did the collaboration with VDH come about?

'In the time when Dorenbos primarily focused on refrigeration technology for supermarkets, restaurants, and bakeries, they were already doing business with VDH Products. That was about 30 years ago. Their thermometers and thermostats were in our counters, refrigerators, and freezers. When we also entered the ripening technology, we noticed that VDH already had a good reputation in that market for control technology. After a period in which we were a contracted supplier for Chiquita bound to their own ripening system, we developed our own ripening technology. It was natural for us to involve VDH again.'


An independent party

'Well, in the first years, we worked with our own software on HEGA-PLCs. There is something to be said for that because it binds customers to you in that way. But it is also vulnerable: you make yourself and your customers too dependent on the knowledge of a few people. And if you go bankrupt, your software secrets are locked in the safe. That's why the switch to the control technology of the independent party VDH not only provided quality but also a strong selling point. If our customer ever wants to part ways with us, they have technology in-house that someone else can work with.'


The TopTec

'The proprietary ripening technology of Cooling Service Holland is the TopTec. This installation has a reversible airflow, which ensures balanced coloring and temperature. The unit is on top of the ripening chamber instead of inside it: this saves two pallet spaces and makes a tarp unnecessary. In short: more control over the ripening process and more space in the ripening room. Moreover, a ripening room with TopTec is much easier to keep clean. For the TopTec, we use the PROBA, and VDH has added special software for us.'


Leading in safety

'For a large customer (they cool and ripen the entire AGF production process for one of the largest supermarket chains in the Netherlands), we are currently replacing the PROBA 4 in our TopTec with the latest PROBA 5. But in addition to the latest control technology and everything that comes with it, we are also making a big leap in terms of safety.

'Everyone in machine construction issues a CE declaration for their machine. But the remarkable thing is that no ripening room in the market has a declaration for the room as a whole. That's why we, together with VDH and a safety specialist, joined forces to provide our complete rooms with a CE certification. Measurements, notifications, circuits, lighting, control, structure: everything is carefully designed for safety. With this, we are truly leading in our market.'


Feet in the mud and doing what you say

'Our building here on the industrial estate has been here for half a century. No, we don't have an imposing facade. But the building is completely up-to-date inside and has the highest possible energy label A+++++. That fits completely with our mentality. We go for quality and satisfied customers. We share that no-nonsense approach with our customers and with suppliers like VDH.'

'That's also the mentality of our company. Feet in the mud, and doing what you say. We treat each other the same way internally. The management is approachable and accountable for everyone, just like every employee. We are not afraid, if necessary, to tell each other that something is going wrong. And we always solve the problems first and then figure out how to get everything done. That's how our customers know us: straightforward, not rude but just honest.'

'Cooling Service Holland also looks for this attitude in its suppliers. Together with your customer and your suppliers, you solve the things you encounter. You do it all together.'


Customers with whom it clicks

'The market is changing. The end customer is becoming more demanding. Fifteen years ago, trade was faster and there were shorter lines. Now you sit with 6 counterparts at the table, first for the technology and then the purchasing department, and often the management as well. Fortunately, we can adapt well to that because ultimately, business is about mutual trust.'

'And if you focus on your own added value today, you will find the customers who suit you. Sometimes you say no, even if you could use the turnover. And then a customer comes along with whom you have a good connection.


Ultimately, it's about the human scale

'However the market changes, ultimately it's about trust. Trust that you can say no, trust that it is granted to you, and that reciprocity is reciprocal. Very large companies often operate technocratically, but ultimately the human scale is decisive.'


A matter of mentality

How do you find the right people in this market? 'Hardly anyone responds to advertisements, but we have good contacts with schools. If interns show the right mentality, not just talk but also work, we offer them a contract immediately. By the way, diplomas are not necessarily the most important. If you fit in with us... attitude, behavior, and eagerness to learn... then the diplomas and certificates will come alongside your work. You can immediately prove that you can handle the job. We train our own people in the tricks of the trade. Young people also bring new insights from their education.'


Daring to make mistakes

'If you want to innovate, technical problems can arise. You have to dare to make mistakes. As long as you solve them. As long as there is that space, you keep developing. The beauty of VDH is that they really stand by us: together we go for the end customer. If you have a malfunction on a Friday evening, and for example, a controller needs to be replaced, then at the end of the evening, you and two people from VDH are solving the problem, and after a few hours, you give each other a high five when it's done.'


Source and more information

Plan de Recuperación, Transformación y Resiliencia Financiado por la Unión Europea