Jan Maes, from Lommel, Belgium - the village that is home to one of Farm Frites production facilities - has been working at the Quality department of Farm Frites for almost a year. The official title of his position is ‘quality project engineer’. ‘That’s quite a mouthful’, he says.
‘In this new position I take the responsibility for a variety of quality-related projects’ explains Jan. ‘As an example, together with the project team I examine the current plans and use risk analysis to try to estimate in advance any potential food safety hazards. At a later stage, I can then adapt the HACCP analysis and procedures if necessary. Smaller-scale projects and training often end up on my desk too. I see myself as an ‘all-rounder’ within the Quality department.’
‘Farm Frites is a fantastic company where I truly sense the perfect balance between the drive of a family-owned concern and the will, but also the vision, to become a global industry leader. I have only been working here for a year now. I also worked before in the potato industry, so starting to work for a potato processing company felt a bit like coming home. And, as someone born and bred in Lommel, finding all this on my doorstep is an amazing bonus!’
‘My work at Farm Frites is special because of its diverse aspects. One the one hand, there are many different tasks on the work floor and at my desk, and on the other the various projects are all different too. No two days are identical.’
‘In the past year I supervised the installation and HACCP analysis of new equipment such as a length grader and a new shaping machine. In addition, I developed a new procedure for dealing with crisis management at the factory in Lommel. Other projects include the development of a new procedure that clearly describes the regulations contractors and third parties must observe when performing work on our site. As an extension of this procedure, we have also developed a training course that contractors and third parties can follow annually from this year. The sessions will be given in the brand new training facility next to our reception area.’
‘The first thing you notice at Farm Frites is the hands-on mentality and the loyalty and readiness to help shown by colleagues.
Even though all of us are faced with challenges from time to time, the atmosphere at work is always fantastic! Many of my colleagues have a long track record at Farm Frites and they are always willing to take the time to share that wealth of experience. One of my colleagues occasionally compares Farm Frites to a large pond. If you keep enough of a hands-on attitude, you can swim around in it with pleasure for a very long time.’