Arno Kosten, QA Services' former owner, is not new to chasing dreams. He, his wife, and his two youngest sons emigrated from the Netherlands to Sweden last year. There Arno rents out several vacation apartments and offers outdoor activities. He left QA Services, a quality control and storage consultancy, in good hands. His daughter and son-in-law, William Hoekman, now run it.
"We're going to continue in exactly the same vein while gradually expanding our activities a little," says William. "We specialize in onions. We do inspections at packers on behalf of exporters. We then compile a report to give customers a full overview of their batch's quality aspects. We try to offer exporters true added value with these reports."
"You naturally have to deal with Quality Control Bureau specifications. However, during our audits, we try to include both the country's and client's wishes, and each segment has its own quality requirements. Importers' quality needs and checks are getting more stringent too. The import onion season is currently upon us again. That ties in well with the export season."
"And we're only getting busier. In recent years, exporters have been making a genuine effort to send even better products and thus try to avoid complaints and claims. A few years ago, most inspections were random; now, entire lots are increasingly being checked. When customers are satisfied with your work, it automatically increases. That's why we'll soon need to expand our team. We presently have three self-employed inspectors, but I eventually want to hire permanent staff," William says.
"We're busiest when the onion season starts. That lessens from the new year, although we begin inspecting imported onions from early April. This year's onions are generally of good quality. At the beginning of the year, there was some bacterial rot, mainly in the onion sets. There's little disease pressure other than more onions having leathery scales than before."
"Besides onions, we also inspect potatoes, sweet potatoes, garlic, and carrots. And we have a background in inspecting bananas at the port of Vlissingen. But we're best known in the onion market, where we've built a unique position. There are other quality control firms in the fruit and vegetable sector, but, in the onion market, we have hardly any competition. On the contrary, we inspect onions for other quality control companies," concludes William.