Connecting with the competition: Andre van Peer

There’s no shortage of competitors in the markets in which we operate. In the confectionery industry (chocolate and candy), our biggest ‘rival’ is fellow Dutch contract packaging company Nomi. We’re using those quotes deliberately, because even though we often find ourselves vying for the same customers, there’s a great deal of mutual respect there, too. We spoke with André van Peer, managing director of Etten-Leur-based family business Nomi.


‘Rabid competitors’ is by no means a phrase André would use to describe his company’s relationship with Vetipak. “No, not at all. Sure, we’re competitors and sometimes get in each other’s way, but we also value one another. I would even say I have a good personal connection with Arno, Mark, and other Vetipak employees. I guess it’s the fact that we share the same sort of can-do attitude. We have little time for red tape and procedures, and prefer to just knuckle down and get on with it.”


Cards close to their chest

As industry peers, Vetipak and Nomi cross paths regularly, often bidding for the same tenders (usually without knowing) and attending the same fairs, exhibitions, and other events. André: “We’ll run into each other at the ECPA (European Co-Packers Association) Conference. Arno, Mark, and I like to stop and have a chat, although we make sure to stick to more general topics. We’ll discuss HR-related challenges, energy prices, equipment suppliers... that sort of thing. Of course, we might also ask each other about current calls for tenders we may be aware of. However, that’s when we need to play our cards close to our chest, because as cordial as our relationship might be, at the end of the day we’re still competitors.”


“As cordial as our relationship might be, at the end of the day we’re still competitors” 


Same high standards

In some cases, the two industry peers might take their professional relationship one step further, for example by referring customers to each other. André: “Sometimes, a particular customer or project might not be the right fit for us, in which case I don’t hesitate to send them on to Vetipak – and that goes both ways, for the record. I know they’ll be in good, professional hands with Vetipak, as they have the same high standards as we do when it comes to approaching and serving customers and providing them with the full support they need.”


Fighting over the same bone

André: “There can be a tricky side to being competitors as well. For example, when you suspect that you’re fighting over the same bone. None of us like to see others muscle in on our territory, but even though we’re fierce competitors, there’s a lot of mutual respect between us and Vetipak. I don’t really have a relationship like that with many other players in our field, since you simply don’t always gel with everyone. In our relationship with Vetipak, we’re businesslike when we need to be and warm and friendly when we can. And that’s just the way we like it.”


Andre van Peer

“Vetipak has the same high standards when it comes to approaching and serving customers and providing them with full support”

André van Peer | director Nomi


Innovative versus inventive

Both companies have their own distinct approach when it comes to pursuing innovation. André lauds Vetipak for its innovative spirit and solutions, which differ somewhat from Nomi’s style of work. “Like Vetipak, we’re a forward-looking company that’s always trying to find new ways of using products, but we don’t actually develop any machines or concepts ourselves. In that sense, I would say we’re inventive rather than innovative, which involves getting the most out of the potential of our people, as well as the resources and expertise provided by our suppliers. We always think in terms of solutions and never really turn down a challenge.” 


Vetipak: welcome at Nomi’s anniversary party

Nomi will be celebrating its 35th anniversary next year (the company was incorporated in 1986, but initially operated as a sole proprietorship for two years). André: “My father and I started the business together. I was just 18 at the time, and had just graduated from high school. I had strong language skills and was good at math, but lacked the technical background. We grew and developed our business by listening closely to our suppliers and anticipating our customers’ needs. And next year, we’re celebrating the fact that we’ve endured in the industry for over three decades. I’m pleased to say that Vetipak employees are more than welcome to join us!”


Curious about the other stories from this anniversary series? >