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Reinforcement for the HEUFT management

Tilman Kerstiens, until now managing partner at Tönissteiner Privatbrunnen, is moving to the top management of the HEUFT group of companies on 1 August.

"Quality is when the customer comes back."  The new Technical Director at HEUFT SYSTEMTECHNIK GMBH is perfectly aware of this.  After all Tilman Kerstiens was responsible for technology and quality control over the past 25 years first in his role as Technical Manager and then as Managing Director of the largest mineral water exporter in Germany as regards sales volume.  He came to HEUFT time and again as a customer in order to maintain the highest level of quality of the 160 million fills per annum at the Tönissteiner Sprudel Dr. C. Kerstiens GmbH private mineral water company in Brohl-Lützing, Germany.

Mr Kerstiens was already confronted with quality problems in the returnable bottle pool in 1988 shortly after he had finished studying production engineering and had joined the tradition-steeped family business.  "In those days we still had a very unsatisfactory empty bottle inspector from another manufacturer," he recalls.  "Above all the problem was that it could only detect plastic tamper evident rings, which the consumer had often put into the bottle for fun, very inadequately."  An intolerable situation for a premium provider!

HEUFT as a partner

"Sometimes I was at my wit’s end because of that," he admits.  "But then HEUFT came along and said:  We now have an electronic empty bottle inspector."  He had the system, which had just been developed, installed without further ado because Tönissteiner had already gained positive experience with the "legendary HEUFT DELTA-FW" the first multi-segment rejector ever.  With success:  the foreign objects were reliably detected from this time on.  "HEUFT was pleased to have the practical experience and we were happy to finally have a competent machine," according to Mr Kerstiens.  "It had a transputer, a fast computer system with digital picture evaluation – nothing like that had existed until then."
For the 52 year-old this project marks the "beginning of a great partnership always characterised by congeniality".  Other systems for an in-line quality control and a bottle flow optimisation followed quickly.  One of the first labelling machines constructed by HEUFT was added in 1998 and the new HEUFT InLine IX empty bottle inspector last year.  The graduate engineer confirms "their outstanding performance as a long-standing and satisfied customer and from now on as a proud employee of the HEUFT group of companies".  However what is just as important is a close cooperation with the clients:  "We always received good support – HEUFT is more than a supplier, HEUFT is a partner."

Service as a priority

Mr Kerstiens, who occupies himself with the technology of old televisions, jukeboxes and gaming machines in his spare time, wants to maintain and continue to develop this status in his new role at HEUFT.  He is responsible for production, company organisation, quality management, quality assurance, customer care and service with the main focus of his work on providing customers with a comprehensive service.  Because he managed an important filling plant himself until now where he will remain a partner and was chairman of the Technical Committee of the "Verband Deutscher Mineralbrunnen e.V." (VDM - the Association of German Mineral Water Producers) since 1999 he knows exactly:  "Every line standstill costs money.  This can be compared to an aeroplane which only earns money for you when it is in the air.  Therefore when providing a service it should not make a difference whether we are five or 500 kilometres away.  We always have to be globally available."

Mr Kerstiens fascinated by the organic growth of his new employer also upholds continuity in his other areas of responsibility.  "I do not want to reinvent the wheel - artificial actionism is out of place," he assures.  "First of all, I would like to look at everything in detail, collect information and do a lot of listening."  He strives for "cooperation at eye level" both within the management and with the specialist departments.  After all it was the flat hierarchies and the "noticeable team spirit" in particular, besides the size of the global player with more than 1,000 employees and the new challenge in the B2B sector, which persuaded him to change to HEUFT.

Experience as a HEUFT customer

The married father of two children wants to bring with him all the expertise which he has collected as a HEUFT customer and technology enthusiast.  "The experience which he has from this perspective will certainly be extremely useful in the years ahead," predicts Bernhard Heuft, the founder and managing director of the company.  "We are therefore delighted about his decision to take on the challenge with us."

Mr Kerstiens promises in return:  "I will do my best.  I am ready for anything."  He will also be at drinktec 2013 in Munich.  Visitors to the world’s leading exhibition for the beverage industry who do not know him yet can meet the new Technical Director personally on Stand 315 in Hall B4 in the middle of September.