How it started as a specialist
Leon Torfs is born in 1932 as fifth child of 6 in a horticulture family. Soon he turns out to be a real handyman and carpenter. During the difficult war years, he finishes Technical School in Mechelen in 1947. During his first 14 years as an employee he masters various technical disciplines: central heating, matrix construction, transformers, mechanics and plate maker. So he became an all round technician. Back
… And entrepreneur!
For the blooming horticulture in the Mechelen area he created – from his background as handyman and his technical skills- a carrot cleaner to diminish the manual labour. Herefor he bought a scrapped lathe from the Technical School. Really a unique event back then. Leon Torfs describes it as follows: ‘With the first money I earned I bought welding equipment. Our first order was a moveable conservatory (on self-made wheels) of 1000m² with irrigation and heating, which could be moved with only 4 people. The orders came in and in 1967 I decided to establish my own business and to quit as an employee. Back
From horticulture and canned food to the food industry and more!
The horticulture and canned food sector in the seventies covered mostly transportation and processing of cans and glass pots. Automatically the freezing applications were added. When the local sector weakened, the technical managers of Torfs customers discovered other industries. Soon the number of orders of the chocolate, pharmaceutical, meat and biscuit sector rose. So the Torfs team became an all round and experienced team. The real focus was internal transportation systems. In the food industry the accent came more and more on HACCP, the norm for hygienically processing and clean transport of food products before, during and after the processing. Back
We prefer a constant growth over a fast grew
Leon Torfs: ‘Very soon I engaged the first employee. The number of employees rose very fast.
Expansion of the staff with a continuously attention for an open and reliable cooperation is the base for a long employment. When you are loyal to your own staff, you are loyal to your customers. Thereby we focus on anyone’s talents en respect for specific functions. This is very important in a small business, just like mutual respect.’ Back
Expansion was necessary: first the atelier, afterwards an extra warehouse (14 x 28m).
The good business made it possible they were paid off very soon. The company knows a constant grow and every year we welcome a new employee. We prefer a constant grow over a fast grow.
The Torfs strengths back then and now!
Three very strong points in the Torfs approach are:
- We take great care in understanding completely the real need of the customer! This means listening to both the people who work on the assembly line and the head of the technical department!
- Grow in a creative way with our own people and learn from our mistakes.
- Keep on evaluating, for example with the switch from people at a drawing table to people who work with 3-D CAD-station (2002). So we entered the world of the ‘big guys’. Back
The next generation
On April 4th 2003 Leon passes on the leadership to his son Jan, who is just as his father a specialist with a very developed eye for technical solutions and a listening ear for customers and employees. Jan expands the offer with engineering services, an extra strength based on years of experience in challenging transportation situations in various industries. According to Torfs a good system solution starts with professional engineering!