Working at Tembo: Michiel van der Sluis #WeAreTembo

Sales Director, Member of the Board
Working at Tembo: Michiel van der Sluis #WeAreTembo

Michiel, what does it mean for you to work at Tembo?

It is great to be able to successfully continue our family company and prepare it for the fifth generation.

I am always very proud to see the ingenious solutions our developers come up with and to see our machines running stable production in our customers’ factories.

Naturally to first work closely with my father, now with my generation and hopefully in the future with the fifth generation is a big bonus.

How do you describe yourself, as member of the board?

Not the biggest talker, I specialize more in listening, analyzing and then make a common conclusion of all the (sometimes different) visions and ideas around the table.

How do you see the company in 10 years?

In ten years a lot can change, but I am quite sure we will still be making machines for the fast moving consumer goods.

How far our roots in tobacco still play a major role is depending very much on the success of the less harmful products on the market. The demand for traditional combustible cigarette machines will not come back at the levels they were 5 years ago. However, if the new products take off there will be a huge demand for innovative machines.

I am confident our new endeavors in paper straws and water soluble solutions will have expanded quite a bit in the next 10 years and I am sure that within 10 years we will find a few other markets where we can provide good machine solutions. Preferably in the area of reducing waste or other “green” industries.

What is needed for this?

Apart from finding the markets where we can play a role, we are heavily dependent on our skills to develop the solutions for these new markets.

So, keeping and expanding our development and engineering capabilities is vital for our success.

What are you proud of? (from a business point of view).

I am quite proud on the fact that we have been in the center of the big change in the tobacco industry. For both the Tobacco Heating products and for the vaping products we are the chosen development partner for the leaders in this transition. Most of the new products on the market are made on our platforms.

Also I am very proud of the way we can enter into new industries, like paper straws or washing tablets, and quickly become a very much respected partner for the biggest companies in these markets.

The fact that our machines are already making straws for McDonald's and Burger King and we currently have a machine for making pods for one of the biggest laundry brands on the floor is quite impressive.

To what extent are you an 'alternative type'? What about your own 'plastic addiction and sustainability' in private?

This is always a tricky one. On the one hand I try to do good, with my electric car, house full of solar panels and solar boilers, eating organic food etc. On the other hand, I fly all over the world to meet our customers. So if you calculate my ecological footprint it is probably huge.

I hope the governments will now finally put a high price on CO2 emissions. This will force also the aviation industry to move to hydrogen powered planes. So I can still fly all over the planet without destroying it.