Swiss fruit marketer Tobi Seeobst is building a brand-new competence center for the processing of berry and pome fruit in Egnach. Guido Brägger reveals in an interview which success factors Tobi paid attention to and which sticking points had to be solved during the construction phase. He is a member of the management team and heads the operations.
Mr. Brägger, how did the planning and construction phase for the Egnach berry center go?
“Very pleasing overall. The mostly very good construction weather in spring/summer 2020 helped us make up for an initial construction delay. The cooperation with the authorities as well as with the contractors and craftsmen was goal-oriented and expeditious. We also fortunately had no difficulties or delays due to the pandemic situation.”
What were the sticking points to be solved?
“Shortly before the start of construction, asbestos was discovered in the property. So we had to remove the asbestos before we could start demolition. Fortunately, we found a specialist company at short notice that could carry out this work professionally and was available. Nevertheless, the actual construction project started some two weeks late as a result.”
What did you place particular emphasis on when choosing the construction companies?
“When choosing the partner companies to carry out the work, we placed particular emphasis on quality, adherence to deadlines and regionality – we awarded all the main construction lots to regional companies.”
What equipment will be used in the berry center and how many people will be working here?
“Eight systems for sorting, packing and labeling berries and pome fruits will be installed in the new packing hall, three of which are completely new and will be installed in April/May 2021. Depending on the season, between 40 and 80 people work at the Egnach facility.”
Have there already been reactions from the population or the Thurgau trade?
“There has been a lot of interest from the population, from customers and from our production companies, which makes us very happy. We are currently examining possibilities as to whether and how we can meet the request for a tour despite the pandemic situation. Of course, we would be happy to show our new premises to anyone interested.”
How satisfied are you and the management with the result so far?
“We are very satisfied with the result and also with the timely commissioning of the building. And we consider ourselves lucky to have very good premises for our employees and for supplying our customers with excellent fruit.”
What are the next steps?
“The final work is now being carried out on the new building and we have started on construction lot 2: This essentially comprises adaptation work in the existing building, for example the renewal of the lighting systems and preparatory work for the installation of the new pear sorting system, which will be brought in in July 2021 – another milestone for Tobi and our fruits with bite!”