Tomassen Vlees: 'Improvement is a continuous process'
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Tomassen Vlees: 'Improvement is a continuous process'

  • 12 April 2021
  • Door: Judith Witte

Mike Tomassen is in charge of Tomassen Vlees in Someren, together with his brother Dennis. They slaughter purely for third parties, of which 70% is Beter Leven, a portion organic and the rest regular. "Mass production is not our thing, we prefer to deliver quality," says Mike. He demands exactly the same from the company carrying out the renovation work. 

Tomassen Vlees wants to lead the way when it comes to regulations and animal friendliness. That is why the slaughterhouse works according to the strict rules of the European Union. "We have the Beter-Leven certificate for slaughtering cattle. Animal welfare starts with the transport of the animals to the slaughterhouse; this is short, which is good for both the animals and the environment. Within our organisation, two people have now been trained as Wellfare officers. They know everything about animal welfare, animal behaviour and the slaughter process and ensure that the animals are treated in the best possible way; from arrival at the slaughterhouse to the stunning process. One of them is always present at the slaughter, next to the independent veterinarian of the NVWA." 

Innovation

Innovation is sometimes found in the little things, Mike continues. "We used to have the problem that the spine would break when removing the skin, just below the beef tenderloin. That is because there is no longer any muscle tension. Recently, we have been able to prevent this breakage with a new device that I helped to develop. Using two probes, we very subtly apply a little current to the back muscles. This causes them to contract briefly and thus stabilises the spinal cord, which now remains intact when great force is exerted on it. Our customers are pleased with it."   

Dennis and Mike Tomassen

Heavy audits

Animal welfare is not the only thing that matters to Tomassen: "Our people must also be able to work well and safely. That is why there are anti-slip floors everywhere and we have invested in new platforms so that they can work at a pleasant height." He lists one investment after another, to conclude with a down-to-earth note: "In short, improvement is a continuous process. It never stops!" And that also applies to the premises where all those activities take place. "It is already 25 years old.  In all those years, wear and tear occur naturally. We work according to HACCP, GRMS and integrated chain management standards and there are heavy audits every six months. If you can show then that everything is perfectly in order, you're already ahead 1-0."

Renovation was necessary; but when do you let it happen? And by whom? Mike: "That did keep me busy, because there is never any time for it; production has to go on. Jack Pluim from JacKit knows that, he knows our industry inside out. He and his boys work 7 days a week, day and night." Mike had picked a small corner that he wanted Jack to repair. "To test, I wanted to see how he would do it," he says. "When that was done, he walked into the cold store, looked around, saw what still needed to be done there and came up with good solutions. That gave me confidence."

Plans

How do you explain that Tomassen's production hardly suffers at all from the repair work? "A matter of planning," says Jack soberly. "My guys are always there for me. Together, we have a clear goal: to get the job done within the agreed deadline. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Tomassen Vlees has a somewhat smaller supply. So I deploy more people on those days, so that we can do as much as possible. And that includes weekends! The most important thing is that the customer has no downtime." 

Work in progress

Quality

Jack starts by removing previously installed plates that no longer meet the inspection requirements. Then they place stainless steel profiles on the bottom and stainless steel plates over them. "This reinforces the weakest part of the wall and floor and makes it watertight at the same time." For the walls he uses the panels from Sealwise WCB. "I only want to deliver quality and Sealwise is the best there is at the moment. Lightweight and 100% waterproof. Antibacterial and antiviral through and through; also the top layer.  We stick the panels over the existing walls with Powerbond from Innotec. This glue has a tensile strength of 28 kilos per square metre; there isn't a stronger one. We seal the seams between Sealwise WCB with Easy Seal white, because I know for sure that mould will not penetrate. The RVS seams are sealed with Easy Seal RVS colour. Innotec gives a 5-year guarantee on both the sealant and the glue. Here too we make no concessions to quality. 

After the cold stores the expedition department at Tomassen will also be taken care of. " When the slaughterhouse is up next, he can come back," assures Mike. "Good to hear!" laughs Jack Pluim. "I'd rather come back for follow-up jobs than win the Jack pot in one go; that doesn't offer any continuity for me. And the food industry has to keep innovating anyway."

www.jackit.nl/sealwise

Source: Vakblad Voedingsindustrie 2021