BIT Hotmelt Technology celebrates its 40-year anniversary
On the 3rd of March 1982 BIT Nederland BV came into existence. My father, Kees van den IJssel, and his business partner, Martin Bourgondien, were its founders. Martin and Kees had met each other at their former employer, Nordson.
Back in the 80’s, the world was a different place. The internet did not yet exist in its present form and the global marketplace was far less transparent. Glue equipment suppliers where hard to find, unless you had worked for one of the major players in the industry like Kees and Martin. The company’s name was quickly found by combining the founder’s last name with their first supplier, Indemax: Bourgondien Indemax Trading, or BIT for short.
Starting a business rarely goes off without a hitch. This also applied to BIT. Nevertheless, the founders were very resourceful and always willing to roll up their sleeves. In addition to glue equipment, they also tried their hand at selling woodworking machines and multi-burners. But whatever the business, the BIT fax machine in the windowsill kept on producing a slow but steady stream of orders.
After a couple of years, Martin left the company and Kees, supported by my mother Els, started to focus exclusively on Hotmelt equipment. Back then, the company was located in our living room. With a healthy dose of enthusiasm and creativity, the company expanded their customer base. New opportunities were embraced: from collaborations with service and maintenance partners to a new supplier in Germany: UES.
UES was an impressive, fast-growing company with big ambitions, led by a charismatic and creative managing director. BIT went along eagerly. Its business network expanded rapidly, and new opportunities abounded. The focus on product quality increased and the BIT got its first clients abroad.
In 1996 the story of BIT also became my story. As a 21-year-old youngster I was hired by the old man. My first order of business was to pack my things and leave for Germany, to master the technical side of our product. The experience enabled us to gradually develop our own service and maintenance activities. Together, father and son expanded the company even further. Until 2008, when my father passed the baton to me.
Over the years, BIT continued to develop and outgrew the living room a long time ago. In addition to wholesale which we started with, we expanded our business with other activities like service, maintenance, repair and assembly. Nowadays our company is based in industrial estate Tappersheul and contains an office area, professional workshop, and warehouse. Our mechanics move through the Netherlands (sometimes even abroad) in mobile workshops, and we welcome our clients in our brand-new demo and test center.
This kind of growth requires suppliers that fit our changing identity. A good example is ADB Techniek, a supplier of Hotmelt guns and nozzles, amongst other things, located in Montfoort. Throughout our journey ADB Techniek has remained a reliable and flexible partner. We were also fortunate to find a main supplier who shares our vision and values. Focke Meler Gluing Solutions lives up to the high standards we set for our products. With them we have enjoyed a mutually nurturing collaboration for quite some years now.
It is impossible to look back at our history without mentioning our clients and the amazing projects we have done. Many of our clients have been with us for over 25 years. The projects we have carried out with them meant applying our products to items as diverse as synthetic turf pitches, eggs, carpets, roof elements, hospitality gifts and cocoons to plant trees with. Not all projects went as smoothly as we would have wished, but we learned something from every single one of them and, in doing so, honed our craft.
All in all, I am very proud of what we have achieved and very grateful to everyone who has contributed to our success. I have already mentioned the founders of BIT, our suppliers, and our customers. I would like to finish with the group of people that have been supporting me throughout the years: my colleagues. Their loyal commitment, day-in and day-out, has led us to where we are now.
Finally, I would like to express my hope that BIT will be able to continue like this for many years to come, as a successful and healthy company, where we love to work, realize interesting projects and service our clients to the best of our abilities. A company that my colleagues are just as proud of as I am.
Paul van den IJssel