January 1st, 2022 will mark 20 years at the helm for Jan Pieters. During these two decades, Rioned has experienced unprecedented and continuous growth, even in times of global economic uncertainty. This growth has been accompanied by many challenges and numerous changes. The first major change came in 2001 when Rioned moved all its operations to a combined site in Tilburg.

Success achieved by all employees working together

Jan Pieters: “From 2001 onwards, we were a single, centralised organisation working in the same building. Although we were one company, with teams coming from two separate sites, obviously, there were differences. Commercial people were now working alongside technical people, but each team still had its own culture. We had to work towards creating a new, cohesive company culture. And we had to structure the production department. In addition to the move, we were dealing with changing market conditions brought about by European unification. In short, we had a lot of challenges to meet. By working together, we responded to those challenges very successfully. I emphasise ‘together’ because our success was down to the hard work of our entire staff. Thanks to them, Rioned is known around the world for delivering a complete package of high-quality products and services  that offer operational reliability and meet our clients’ needs.  That’s the foundation of our  success. Other things have also contributed to that success. I’m thinking particularly of  the  growth in exports, our strength in innovation, and the  development of our hire services.”

Exports, a driver of growth

“The strong growth in exports has been a significant factor in our success. We’re achieving fantastic results worldwide due to an effective combination of direct sales and distributor sales.  We recognised the importance of controlling the distribution chain early on, especially for maintaining competitiveness. Shortly after the turn of the millennium, we started direct sales from the Netherlands to Belgium, and we opened an office in France in 2003, which eliminated the need for middlemen. In 2006, we brought this strategy to the UK, where we set up our own sales and service office. The 2013 acquisition of Andy Guest Jetters, an English drain and sewer cleaning equipment manufacturer, gave us a fully-fledged UK branch, Rioned UK. The UK is now our biggest market by far. The most recent development is Germany. We now also sell our products directly there, although the setup is different, with sales going through KaRo. KaRo was acquired by our parent company Heico in 2017, and it became a sister company to Rioned. We’re closely involved in its business operations, which makes KaRo a direct entry point into the German market for us. We have very successful distributors in many other countries with whom we have  worked for many years and who contribute significantly to our company’s growth.” 

Innovation is key to our success

“Alongside our growth in international markets, innovation has been key to our success. We recently developed the eCityJet, the world’s first completely electric high-pressure jetting machine. We see this product as part of building a sustainable future, and it offers many opportunities. Not just with environmentally conscious companies but also for situations where regulations demand that work is carried out without emissions. There are already countries where certain contracts are only given to companies that can work emission-free. Constant innovation allows us to respond swiftly to this sort of market development. Another major innovation is the eControl, our electronic control system for high-pressure machines. We’ve developed the eControl with the global market in mind, so it can be operated in multiple languages, even Chinese. And very soon, we’ll be introducing the new generation of control systems, the eControl Touch. Innovation isn’t just limited to our products; it can also be seen in our manufacturing processes. For example, we’ve been testing new machines with our own professional testing stations for several years now. The water that we use during testing is collected for reuse. It’s just one of the ways in which we work as sustainably as possible.”

The development of hire services and a look into the future

“Another important development is machine hire. This has already taken off, particularly in the United Kingdom, where the preference is often to hire rather than invest in purchasing a machine. That’s why we’ve set up a hire service there, and this has been very successful. At the moment, we have about 50 vehicles with built-in jetters available to rent in the UK, and we’re currently rolling this concept out to other countries. Here in the Netherlands, the rental arm operates on a smaller scale and is limited to trailers rather than complete vans for the time being. But we already have a few units available for hire in Germany. Hire is something we have great confidence in, and we have plans to expand it. This new development is something that fits in with my vision for the future. I think that we’re slowly but surely moving from pure production to service provision. Customers will be able to purchase a solution from us, hiring or leasing a service that they can more or less pay for by the hour. The machine we make plays a role in this, but it’s no longer the central product. We’re changing from being a machine builder to a fully comprehensive service provider. So Rioned’s motto of ‘Keeping your business flowing’ will be even more fully realised in the future.”