INTERVIEW WITH WOUTER BERENDSEN - TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENT MANAGER
DAIRY VALUE ENGINEERING - MATCHING CUSTOMER NEEDS WITH SUPPLY POSSIBILITIES IN TERMS OF TECHNOLOGY AND BUSINESS
Hi Wouter, could you please introduce yourself?
Hi, I’m Wouter Berendsen. I am 42 years old and was born in Gouda. My wife and I recently became parents to our son. I have lived for 17 years in five foreign countries including Germany, Russia, USA, Switzerland and France. My passion for discovering the world led me to travel to a wide variety of exciting destinations, such as New Zealand, Chile and Kenya. Hence, I enjoy communicating with people from different cultures and backgrounds. I have a technical and business background. Since March 2017, I am Technical Development Manager at Interfood.
What was your motivation to start a job at Interfood?
When I joined Interfood in spring 2017, I was given the chance to co-create and co-develop our Dairy Value Engineering value proposition. In this role, I am living my dream of bringing change and creating opportunities by connecting expertise in business and technology. In addition, I feel inspired by the organization’s entrepreneurial culture, which feels like family.
Since you’re working for Interfood for a while now, what’s your favorite thing about Interfood?
Interfood’s working environment, which encourages employee engagement, empowerment and development. The company even became ‘Best Employer in Food 2017 – 2018’ in the Netherlands (reference: https://www.vmt.nl/mensen-loopbaan/nieuws/2018/02/interfood-holding-en-rijk-zwaan-zijn-beste-werkgevers-in-food-10134275).
About your job at Interfood, what does your average working week look like?
Together with my colleagues, I look for solutions to technical and business challenges to create new opportunities. This involves communicating with people around the globe. While ‘Skype for Business’ is a useful tool to share presentations, face-to-face meetings are key in my role for building relationships. In an average working week, I travel 10-40% of my time.
What do you like the most about your job?
To discover out-of-the-box ideas and implement them. For example, during a business trip to South Korea in January this year, we learned about the opportunity to market Interfood in Korea by promoting Dairy Value Engineering at the Seoul Food & Hotel 2019. Together with a team of colleagues, we made it happen and it was a success: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6537225182816407552/
How about your work-life balance?
I feel fortunate for having a wonderful family and social life as well as an inspiring job at Interfood. This requires flexibility on all sides. While my job requires travel on weekends from time to time, my family comes first in case of trouble or special events. This philosophy is shared by Interfood and is supported by its family culture.
You are talking about Dairy Value Engineering, what is this exactly?
Dairy Value Engineering means matching customer needs with supply possibilities in terms of dairy technology and business. The dairy market is a complex market and the sourcing of dairy products (e.g. cheese, butter, milk powder and derivatives) depends on the applications they are used for. Interfood studies the application performance of such dairy products in our Dairy Food Studio to provide technical solutions and create new business opportunities.
How do you see the future of Technical Development at Interfood?
At Interfood, we strive to create strategic partnerships with customers and suppliers, where Interfood acts as ‘matchmaker’ in terms of supply chain, financial and technical services to deliver excellent service to all involved. In this endeavor, Technical Development plays a key role. To sustain and further grow the success of Technical Development, we are looking for self-driven students who are interested in increasing technical business knowledge by e.g. performing product and application trials in our Dairy Food Studio. By the way, currently we are looking for new students to strengthen our Technical Development team. If you’re interested, visit our LinkedIn page and find out if you’re the right candidate. https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6549184137016684544