Kontich-based FAM has specialised in industrial cutting machines for various types of food since 1980. For example, for potatoes that need to be cut into French fries or crisps, mozzarella to be sliced to put on pizzas, lettuce and vegetables for supermarket salad bowls, pre-sliced soup vegetables, and more.
The company, whose slogan is “we shape food worldwide”, has performed strongly on the international market, taking leadership positions in different segments in a vast number of regions spread across the globe. FAM is now active in 97 countries and this December is celebrating its 40th anniversary.
FAM has been on a very strong growth journey in recent years. In the last five years, its turnover has increased by no less than 107%, from 14 million euros in 2014 to 29.68 million euros in 2019. “The vast majority of this growth, some 91.3%, is based on our turnover from exports”, CEO Mark Van Hemelrijk proudly explains. “We are undoubtedly in a very healthy export position, and are present on different continents, in no fewer than 97 countries. And we have no plans to stop expanding yet.”
‘Export Lion’ as recognition of a successful strategy
In September 2020, FAM won the ‘Export Lion’ (‘Leeuw van de Export’), a Flemish prize awarded annually to Flemish companies with the most striking export strategies and results. Mark Van Hemelrijk, FAM’s CEO: “Our outstanding results in the last five years speak for themselves, of course. But FIT [Flanders Investment and Trade] also praised our strategy for standing out in one specific market, in which we have conquered the world.
Last but not least: FAM is living proof that you can develop and implement a healthy and sustainable export strategy in which local partners and suppliers have an important role. We believe in playing our part in society, giving something back to Flanders and our economy for all the opportunities we’ve been able to enjoy here.”
Throughout FAM’s history, two words have been central to its policy: innovation and co-creation. These two concepts cannot be separated from each other, Van Hemelrijk emphasises: “We are continually looking for new technologies to improve our products, but we do not want to innovate just for the sake of it. The lion’s share of our innovation comes from analysing the needs of a client, and – in close collaboration with this client – searching uncompromisingly for the best solution to help him. This often leads to innovative applications, which we can subsequently use for other clients.”
In 1980, with the change of name from F&V to FAM, which stands for Manufacturing & Advice for Machine Construction (Fabricatie & Advies voor Machinebouw), the company as we now know it saw the light of day. When the name changed, the company’s focus changed too: from the production of harvesting and sauce-filling machines to the design and production of food processing machines.
In 1997, FAM became part of the Hifferman Group, a holding company for various companies including Stumabo International, which specialises in the production of precision knives.
Photo: Export Lion (Leeuw van de Export)