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Sioux Source Magazine

Sioux Technologies exists 25 years. During this time, an impressive international system house has emerged. The drive of founders Hans Duisters and Erik van Rijswijk remains unchanged: Sioux brings high-tech to life to make the world a little better. ‘We regularly make the seemingly impossible possible. Our innovative strength is enormous, but our people are the ones that make it all happen. Cooperation, also with customers, is the soul of Sioux.’

A small office in the WTC Eindhoven, a metal shelving unit with some files, two phones on one connection, a laptop exchanged for outstanding holidays with the former employer and two guys who wanted to do things differently… That is pretty much the setting in which it all started 25 years ago for Sioux.

Broader view
‘We had nothing, except the belief that we could do it better’, says Duisters. ‘Erik and I worked for large publicly listed ICT companies for years. The bottom line there was to make as much money as possible, as quickly as possible, which does not sufficiently motivate employees. That is unpleasant, especially when you focus on content and look at the world from a broader perspective. That is why we started for ourselves. With Sioux we wanted to create real value, for us, our people, our customers and our environment: fun & value. That dream has now become reality.’

International system house
Fast forward. A quarter of a century later. Sioux has offices in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Russia, Romania, China, Singapore and Vietnam. It employs more than 900 people and has an annual turnover exceeding 100 million euros. The company has grown into an international system house and provides support to high-tech OEMs in developing and building complex modules and machines. Over the past few years, the Sioux Campus in Eindhoven has gradually emerged. All competences come together here: software, mathware, electronics, mechanics, optics, mechatronics system engineering, prototyping and assembly… The Sioux Campus now consists of 7 buildings, including the central meeting place Sioux Labs.

People and culture
‘I regularly walk around here with a sense of wonder’, says Duisters. ‘We work on incredibly complex technology, for example for Thermo Fisher, NXP and Elekta. By combining all the expertise and talent within Sioux, we regularly make things happen that seem physically impossible. If it is impossible, just ask us. I find this not only unique, but also simply wonderful. Nevertheless, Sioux has essentially not changed.’

Van Rijswijk: ‘Of course it feels different than before. The responsibility to keep Sioux going weighs more heavily now; we have more to lose. In the beginning it was pure survival and now we are busy shaping a beautiful future-proof company. But the core is still the same as 25 years ago. With our solutions, we want to make the world a bit more beautiful, safer and healthier. We do this together, with good people in a good culture. Sioux is not the big Hans and Erik show. There are more people who take the lead here, including many veterans. We lift each other to a higher level and have a lot of fun at the same time. That fills me with a lot of pride.’

Extra bread
You cannot build a company like Sioux without trial and error. However, the partnership between Duisters and Van Rijswijk is still as close as 25 years ago. How do you maintain that in the pressure cooker of the high-tech industry? Van Rijswijk: ‘We share the same values and standards, listen to each other and have a common goal. We both want to win. Average is not good enough; our ambition is enormous. But squeezing out orders to the last cent to put an extra bread on the table has never been our motivation. The soul of this company is cooperation between our employees and with our customers. Only then can you create real value. That has led to a steady and natural growth of Sioux.’

Pushing boundaries
‘The secret of Sioux’s success therefore lies to a large extent in staying true to yourself’, Duisters adds. ‘Pioneering is in our blood. With that attitude, I left for Suzhou two years ago. We now work there with about 100 people for Western and Chinese customers, and slowly a second Sioux is emerging in which all our capabilities are united. In addition, our development is characterized by adding new knowledge and expertise, for example in the field of photonics. Sioux is far from finished and that is a good thing. If you don’t set the bar high, you don’t push boundaries and there is no fun in that.’