In the mid 1990s Freek was still the typical outside supplier of its day. Driven by the pioneering spirit of its senior, carried by highly motivated employees, with few formalities but all the more specialised in the niche market. At that time 100% of Freek's business was with simple heating elements for the household appliance industry, especially heater batteries for clothes dryers. The resulting dependency on just a few major customers in this sector was therefore high.
With the advent of globalisation and the spread of computers these companies then approached Freek with demands to extend the range of products, increase standards of control, and introduce new technologies and price reduction programmes; it became evident that with its out-dated structures, methods and instruments Freek would no longer be able to survive on the market.
The answer was: diversification and cooperation – two strategic aims with far-reaching consequences for the company. Within the space of just five years Freek has increased its client base by more than tenfold, set up its own completely new production line for nozzle heaters (fig. 2), and initiated the European cooperation network EUCOPET.