In Europe, MTSL Surveys is an established name in the area of temperature-controlled goods' quality control. ''However, our main specialty lies with fruit and vegetables,'' says Simon den Haerynck of MTSL Surveys. ''I'm a certified inspector myself, meaning that we can correctly assess all standard fruit and vegetable products according to European legislation, whether it's fresh fruit, vegetables, or nuts.''
Jeroen den Haerynck founded the company in 2010. "He'd been involved in the world of temperature-controlled goods for years. In 2010, a German insurer asked him if he wanted to set up an office in Belgium. He jumped at the chance. The insurer's usual experts constantly had to travel from Rotterdam to Antwerp, so they were keen to have someone onsite."
Simon joined the company at the end of that year, and he and Jeroen have developed the company into what it is today. ''As of 2021, we have eight permanent employees. We have also recruited five more external people to help us meet all our customer requirements. If necessary, we go ourselves. If not, we work with qualified people on site," explains the senior inspector.
That commitment to meet the client's every need extends to 'the competition'. ''If we're fully booked, we'll always refer customers to one of our colleagues in the sector. In our small world, cooperation and solidarity are important values. We have no competitors, only highly valued colleagues.''
What does Simon do on a typical day? ''That varies greatly, which is why it's so much fun. For instance, I may have to inspect eight containers of citrus in Rotterdam, then three containers of blueberries in Venlo. I could then finish with a pallet of Feijoa in Antwerp. The only permanent thing is that I arrive at my first location at 6.00 am, so by now, I'm a traffic jam expert too," he says.
MTSL works on an 'if the client asks, we are there' principle. They aim to accommodate all last-minute changes, whether these are delays or bought-in batches. With that way of working the company has built a solid reputation, especially in Russia. ''Our customers know we can determine, as exactly as possible, in what condition purchased goods will arrive in Moscow, and as many as four employees are at International Distribution Partners every day. There they inspect all incoming goods and log that via the QC One inspection software.''
''The days of using a camera, pen, and paper are over." That is how things were done in 2010 when the company was started. ''In between physical inspections, you had to type up your quality reports and send them on, if you had internet at all. On busy days, you had to phone clients so they could take immediate action. Then you had to type up your reports afterward,'' Simon explains.
As of five years ago, inspection apps have increasingly been making their appearance in the industry. ''Developments in transport and refrigeration techniques mean we're fortunately already faced with fewer surprises, but the software has made our lives much easier. Nowadays, using the app, you can inform all the parties involved in real-time of the products' quality. Also, reports can be standardized and made available in all languages. That adds true value.''
Looking ahead, Simon considers global warming as the biggest challenge. ''The world's weather is changing rapidly. That affects fruit and vegetables' quality and shelf life. Anticipating this requires more well-trained inspectors. We've succeeded so far thanks to our internal training courses. However, it's going to be challenging to keep up with our growth," he concludes.
For more information:
Simon den Haerynck
Tel: +32 (0) 333 63 348