Ab Van Deemter

Co-founder and Managing Director of Kalimba N.V

September 3, 2014

Kalimba rents and sells both bottled and point-of-use coolers, as well as coffee machines and they sell coffee and ancillary products under their private “Kabuna” label. Watercoolers Europe were interested to hear Ab’s views on the industry.

Ab van Deemter is co-founder and Managing Director of Kalimba N.V. Kalimba started in 1996 and is based in Limburg, Belgium. As a long-standing member of the BWA (Belgian Association), Watercoolers Europe were interested to hear Ab’s views on the industry.

Kalimba bottles water from their own borehole. They rent and sell both bottled and point-of-use coolers, as well as coffee machines and they sell coffee and ancillary products under their private “Kabuna” label.

  • WE

    What are the main values of your company – commercial, social etc.?

  • Ab Van Deemter

    Our Mission is to have respect for our fellow man and environment. At Kalimba we want to stimulate a conscious and healthy lifestyle by visibly and attractively promoting pure drinking water and water coolers in businesses and private homes.

  • WE

    What makes your company different from your competitors?

  • Ab Van Deemter

    We have deliberately chosen to be a small and flexible company that provides our customers with an outstanding service.

  • WE

    What added value does your company offer its customers?

  • Ab Van Deemter

    We always try to give our customers more than what they ask for, resulting in a very high rate of customer loyalty.

  • WE

    What have been the main changes that you have witnessed in over the years:

  • Ab Van Deemter

    The water cooler business now requires a lot more professionalism than in the old days, for example: Managers need to develop more and better leadership skills; today it’s much more important that also smaller companies have a proper strategy, that they apply strategic marketing and sales and be more professional in the field of HRM.

    The internet is playing a far more important role than 10 years, no, even 5 years ago.

    Margins have come under serious pressure. We were forced to choose whether to go along with strong and in some cases even ridiculous price cuts.

    Clients take more time to decide and have become more demanding and price conscious.

    In Belgium there is a slight tendency in the direction of POU, although bottled water coolers still amount to 90

  • WE

    How do you see the future evolution of the water cooler industry in Belgium?

  • Ab Van Deemter

    Customers will require more and better service. Although it looks as if there is some sort of market saturation, I still see enough potential; taking into consideration the number of companies there are in Belgium and the total number of coolers placed in the market so far. Slowly we see more and more interest coming from the domestic market.

  • WE

    How will your company adapt to this evolution?

  • Ab Van Deemter

    We are well prepared and ready for any change or trend in the market.

  • WE

    What future diversification do you foresee?

  • Ab Van Deemter

    There is a noticeable trend that our customers are more and more interested in one supplier for several product groups. I can therefore envisage that in the future water cooler companies could supply a variety of products to their customers.

Past interviews