Five years ago, Ridder added screen fabrics to its portfolio. They decided to take up this challenge after their existing clientele expressed a clear need for an additional screen supplier.
Johan van Erven, commercial product specialist at Ridder, explains: "From that starting point, Ridder started to explore the opportunities and we soon realized these existed."
In collaboration with Mario Scherpenzeel, a start was made at the time to develop an extensive portfolio. “At that moment the portfolio was still far from complete, but we did have a number of good products to enter the market with. It was a good time to introduce a new supplier.”
Ridder started with twelve screen fabrics - all available from stock and in three different sizes. Now seventeen types of screen fabrics are supplied from stock and the complete assortment consists of more than thirty types, including screen fabrics produced entirely in the Netherlands.
Left Arjan van der Klaauw, right Johan van Erven
Last year Ridder started with "co-creation". In addition to the already existing fabrics, they developed the "co-created" fabrics. Niels Lünnemann, operational director: “Together with the customers, we map out their wishes. Based on the existing fabrics, we develop a variant that meets their specific wishes and needs. This way we contribute to the solution to the challenge that our customers face in their project, supported by the existing knowledge and experience within the Ridder Group. A great development that we are proud of.”
In addition to the introduction of new and co-created fabrics, Ridder is constantly looking to optimize the current fabrics. A lot is invested in R&D. Niels: “For example, we are investigating how we can achieve higher energy savings with our energy screens, for example by increasing the thickness of the foil. But we always keep looking at the net return. When we compare the additional costs of such a new product with the advantages, we still have to conclude that we have the ideal mix with the current RES 10 FR fabric. That is also an outcome of a development.”
Niels and Johan tell about the knowledge within Ridder. Without that knowledge, they would not be able to realize new developments, such as "co-creation". The foundation of this knowledge was laid by Mario Scherpenzeel. Johan: "The professional and stable base that he created within our department ensures that there is now an incredibly good team that is ready to go through."
Niels also agrees that this foundation is very important to Ridder: "Thanks to the foundation that Mario laid, the team can now continue to develop with enthusiasm and energy."
Ridder has already delivered more than 4000 ha of fabric. Last year Ridder reached a milestone by supplying 1500 ha in the Netherlands. There are now four knitting machines at the production location in Maasdijk. Incidentally, there is no intention to bring the total production to the Netherlands. “The most important thing is that production in the Netherlands is going to provide us with a lot of knowledge and experience. This makes us less dependent on our partners in Asia. It also ensures that with our production we are closer to the customer. “It is now also possible for our customers, together with the grower, to come and view the production of their screen fabric,” says Niels.
The team of Ridder continues to grow. “Our department now consists of eighteen employees. Most people will know my colleagues Joachim Keus, Alice van der Helm, Arjan van der Klaauw and Johan van Erven. And of course we can always use new people, because we are growing fast.”
With the celebration of the fifth anniversary, the screen team of Ridder looks back, but they also like to look forward. “We have now positioned ourselves well in the market. We have made progress and are developing new screen fabrics ourselves,” says Johan. Ridder would like to make the difference in the current market over the next five years. Niels: "Customer care is paramount."
Five years plus one
“The invitations had already been printed and we had made many arrangements,” Johan laughs. Due to the coronavirus, the celebration could not take place. But then he says: “Delay does not mean cancellation, the party will definitely be held. When? We have to wait and see. If the current circumstances do not make it possible to celebrate this year, we will make it ‘five years plus one’.”