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Next Icon: Pan Oston


Whether you put your groceries on the belt or prefer to scan your items yourself at the self-checkout: there is a good chance that at some time, your products passed a checkout solution provided by Pan Osten. This manufacturing company has been producing these solutions for 55 years. Innovation manager Corné van Braak explains what innovation and sustainability mean to them.

This story was first published in the Next Icons Magazine. You can read the entire magazine here.

You produce belted check-outs, self-service checkout solutions and kiosk solutions. How innovative are you in this respect? 

Corné: “We have a very broad portfolio of solutions that we can customize for the customer. In addition, we provide really tailor-made services for customers who want something that is just a little different. But we also develop proactively. For example, 17 years ago we developed a modular structure for belted check-outs, and around 10 years ago we started a family line of which self-service solutions form an important part. This is topical now, and installations are started throughout Europe. We have our own R&D department. We continue to develop existing products further, but we also make time for developing and testing new things, such as an unmanned store or a smart vending solution. Part of our R&D people have to spend at least 10% of their time on research. It does not matter whether this time is spent on desk research or visiting a conference. By structurally gathering new insights, we determine our innovations and adjustments to our product portfolio. This is how we keep working on innovation.”

A change that the consumer now often notices is the move towards self-checkouts. What part do you play in this?

Corné: “We have a solution for every store type and therefore also want to enable that transition. You can see that one country is a bit further advanced in this transition than another, but since we are active in various countries, we can share that knowledge. In doing so, we always keep the human aspect at the back of our minds. For many people struggling with loneliness, having a chat at the checkout is the only contact moment of the day, so this has to remain in any case. But we also think about how you can preserve that social aspect at self-checkouts, for example in the form of hosts or a realistic digital assistant. Another important aspect in that transition is sustainability. For example, in the design phase we now look more often at what happens with the product when it has reached the end of its product life cycle. Since last year, we have very consciously been working on that sustainability aspect, which for us goes beyond just having solar panels on our roof.”

Do you think that Pan Oston can play a pioneering role here? 

Corné: “Absolutely. Not only do we want to be innovative in the products that we make, but we also want those products to be sustainable. In the past year, we were able to outline a clear vision for the future with regard to this role. We have expressed a certain ambition, and all of us have said: ‘We are going to do it.’ That is why a Sustainability Manager will start working at our company soon. With the CSRD on the way, we really need to have one, because that regulation is an additional incentive to start working seriously on sustainability.

That you are innovative is beyond doubt. Is it also difficult to make time for innovation on a structural basis?

Corné: “On the one hand, it is, because the day-to-day operation of helping customers also continues as usual. We really are an organization that goes the extra mile for the customer. If they have a problem, we already solved that yesterday. In addition, you also want to solve the problems that have not yet arisen and give them sufficient priority. That remains a challenge, but on the other hand, innovation is really part of our DNA. That is how customers see us and and how we are known in the market. That market can be very innovative itself, by the way, but is also still traditional in many ways. In that case, it is especially important that you keep innovating and show that you are good at it. It is therefore essential to us to be solution-oriented, with regard to both the problems that already exist and the problems in the future. If you just go with the flow, you are reactive. You also have to show that you are proactive, that you have a vision of your own, and that you do not put all your eggs in one basket. That is why experimenting is very important to us. Thanks to our innovative nature, we stay relevant.” 

"You have to show that you are proactive, that you have a vision of your own, and that you do not put all your eggs in one basket."

Corné van Braak

Innovation manager Pan Oston

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Pan Oston

Pan Oston, located in the center of the Netherlands, has been a pioneer in the development and production of payment systems for decades. As market leader in the Netherlands and with a strong presence in the rest of Europe, Pan Oston continues to innovate to meet the changing needs of retailers in Europe. With a focus on sustainability and gradual progression, Pan Oston strives to improve the retail experience for both businesses and consumers.

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