A silver jubilee is being celebrated this year; JB Besturingstechniek exists 25 years. JB stands for Jan Bos, the man who decided in 1993 that the time was ripe for his own business. That became a company where control systems for special machines are made. Special machines come in all shapes and sizes; from Ferris wheels to machines for the meat processing industry. Jan Bos also works with the NOM on the Factory of the Future.
"My company consists of a club of people with a penchant for complex jobs. Our customers are machine builders, who generally approach us at an early stage. They build a machine, we build the controls. We supply the software and the hardware. Where necessary, we do the whole process, including placing and installing the control cabinet."
Bedroom as an office
Jan Bos' entrepreneurship began in a duplex house in Drachten, where his growing business took up more and more space. The bedrooms were swallowed up; Bos and his wife lived and slept in the living room. When it became impossible to lift all the materials and control boxes up and down the stairs, it was time for a new location.
That became Oosterwolde, in 1996. A home and business premises in one. Meanwhile, a quarter of a century later, there are also branches in Oldenzaal and Winschoten and about forty people work at JB Besturingstechniek.
That growth was steady except for a few big jumps; the growth spurts. Bos: "A spurt like that is always difficult, then you need people and so you are less critical of staff. That doesn't always benefit the quality and focus on the work."
That's precisely why Jan Bos chose a few years ago to focus more on machine builders. "Until then we basically worked for everyone, now we want to be a specialist. As a result, we also have more national exposure. To keep serving our customers well, we keep growth in check."
Employees themselves know best how to do their jobs
JB Besturingstechniek is one of the partners in the Region of Smart Factories, an initiative of the NOM. Within this network program, forty companies are working together on the Factory of the Future. A factory characterized by intelligent, customized production processes. Bos: "Within this network, all kinds of collaborations arise. Also with educational institutions. I have known NOM for about fifteen years; we participated in another program before. For me, NOM guarantees a good network and valuable contacts."
With rapidly developing technology, Smart Factories are getting closer and closer. "We make sure we keep up, buy new stuff and try it out. This is also important for employees. You have to make sure the work remains challenging, the atmosphere good, and trust that people themselves know best how to do their jobs." At JB Control Technology, self-managing teams are used based on that trust. "We work with two project managers. They are ultimately responsible, but not in charge of others. If people dare to be vulnerable and communicate well, you don't need a management layer."