Jan Willem Pruim – Regional Manager Projects

Jan Willem Pruim is regional manager projects and is responsible for the design and construction of the new De Heus complete feed factory close to Nairobi. In this interview he shares his vision and involvement in building the new De Heus animal feed factory in Kenya.

When did you get involved in the Kenya feed mill project?

The first time I heard about the project was the day I started with De Heus-  August 19, 2019. Already In October 2019 I met with a number of potential contractors and starting outlining the project.  At that time, we also were working on the idea for a construction of a complete feed plant in Ivory Coast. Which we gave priority. Therefore,  we are able to take key learnings from Ivory Coast into account and integrate them into the current design of the facility in Kenya.  

What were these key learnings?

There are multiple learnings, for example we carefully looked at the layout of the office. It is normal practice to have an infirmary or a prayer room in the office, which we have included. Also, we took care of extra soundproofing and smart ways to decorate the building.  Also within the factory we adjusted the way the production lines are laid out. Also we incorporated a waste pipes which enables easy and thorough cleaning of the factory floor.  

Enabling smooth management and training of staff

Within the factory, the plant manager should be able to oversee the operation and the staff easily. Therefore, it’s common practice in Africa to incorporate a room for the plant manager within the factory. Also the presence of a good quality meeting room to conduct operational meetings and to organize trainings for the staff is required within the factory.

Where will the office be located?

The office will be on the same plot but somewhat separate from the factory. We plan to use the design of the Dutch head office as an example for the lay-out and look and feel of the office. The open work spaces enables fast and open communication between the employees. The office supports the De Heus family identity and brand.  Also we aim to build on what we know, rather than a redesign each time.  

Are there any specific challenges, fun things or insights?

I find it hard to pinpoint. Kenya is already a developed country from the perspective with professional contractors, which should support a professional, high quality construction. However, there are some challenges with the infrastructure. For example to ensure the right quality concrete is poured, the contractor might need to construct a temporary concrete plant close to the factory, to avoid traffic jams from the concrete factory to our site  

When will construction begin in Kenya?

The land is being prepared now and we are planning for the groundbreaking ceremony to take place early April.  Directly after this, the construction will begin. We are still working on the permits, which involve procedures and time. Our local consultants from Green Designs are supporting us with this.