An interview with: Harry Hoeksema (SUP & seal)
- Harry was born in Groningen, and raised in Noord- and Zuidhorn
- After Noordhoorn Harry moved to Winschoten, where he picked up a few different jobs along the way.
- By 1987 he got a job at current LPF’s predecessor: Form Plastics (‘FP’ from here on out).
- After finishing his trial-time he moved back to the, for him, relatively well known Grootegast.
Harry’s first years in the packaging business
Harry can still remember how different Form Plastics/ LPF was back in 1988. Especially interesting is the differences when it comes to machines. The pointed bag machines of 1988 could only produce two pointed bags per ‘cut’, so FP had twenty pointed-bag machines in the factory back then. With at least 15 of the machines being active at any time it was a frantic undertaking. These days our machines can produce 8 pointed bags per cut, which means we can produce more pointed bags per day while having ~10 less machines compared to the 90’s, Harry explains.
The Clondalkin Group and FP’s fusion with LPF.
Getting fused together with LPF was definitely a unique period for Harry, both due to the cultural differences between FP and LPF employees and the difference in workflow. The love-hate relationship between the Frysian and Groningers also presented it’s challenges.
“It took some getting used to, but these days our combination of the Frysian and Groningse culture only add to the charm of LPF: being down to Earth and transparent are very important here.“ He adds.
About the job
Harry started in the seal department, working at a ‘hook-machine’. Back then work was more rigid, you worked at ‘your’ machine. But working at LPF is more fluid these days:
“Our times are less regular because there are more different shifts, and we’re also trained to be widely utilized. These days I work at the machine that needs me for that day. It requires us to be more flexible and well-trained to work so broadly, but as an employee I like the variety.” – Harry
Despite the wide utilization, Harry’s specialty is the SUP machine, and also his favorite spot. It’s a job that has you work with your hands but adds a digital aspect due to the SUP machine’s computer. It also enables consistency because the machine can ‘log’ information for future repeat orders.
“The combination of my own book where I keep the details of all my previous orders, and the machine’s computer means getting a new order is often like laying a puzzle. I compare the new order to the previous runs, and try to fit and optimize the new order. Being able to look back on previous runs means we can always find something to improve on.” – Harry
Harry adds that the SUP machine works best with the heavier pouches. When looking at LPF’s core capabilities that’s not surprising: we live for the creation of high barriers. Our machine’s preference for aluminum and/ or multiple layers is an extension of our own: high performance packaging.
Closing thoughts: when asked for Harry’s thoughts on the personality for the job
By working together closely with our drawing department, Harry’s end goal is creating a phsyical pouch that matches the measurements and form of a customer’s needs to the dot. Having a focused and precise personality is integral according to Harry:
“Because even the smallest deviations can have a large impact on the end-product, your skin should be crawling when you’re just 1 mm off.” – Harry
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