The conveyor belt industry has traditionally been an almost exclusively male domain, with big, noisy, potentially dangerous machinery churning out huge rolls of thick black rubber. Not so very long ago, the thought of women being involved in such a process was almost unthinkable. In the industry as a whole, that is still the case but it is certainly not the case in Netherlands-based Dunlop Conveyor Belting, where being different from the rest and ‘ploughing its own furrow’ seems to be the very ethos of the company’s culture.
At a time of record levels of cheap, low grade, the unbranded belt being imported into Europe from South East Asia, the company refuses to compromise on its historic approach to the market. Having a business strategy based on manufacturing and supplying conveyor belts that are deliberately engineered to provide the highest quality at the lowest possible ‘whole life’ cost is certainly different from its competitors. Doing this while also being the industry’s leading advocate of strict safety and environmental regulations regarding the use of potentially hazardous chemicals and persistent organic pollutants is yet another testimony to their willingness to be different and do the right thing.
The company also has a proud record of diversity and equality. When you look around the company, including the factory floor, what is clearly evident is that women are able to do and achieve whatever they want to achieve. And this applies literally throughout every level and every type of role including, no less, the role of Chief Operating Officer with the appointment of Kerstin de Haan at the beginning of the year. Dunlop Conveyor Belting may well be 100 years old but it is great to see a young-minded company that is breaking all the rules in the most positive ways possible. I for one am extremely proud to be part of such a company.