Ferdy Bruyninckx – Senior Business Controller

"The dynamic nature of markets and the opportunity to analyze and strategize financial decisions was for me the reason to join Interfood."

The global dairy industry is extremely dynamic, and data, numbers, figures, currencies and risks are involved in every step of the way. For Interfood, as one the leading global suppliers of dairy ingredients, dealing with large volumes in an ever-changing and fast-paced industry brings a lot of complexity.

In our line of business, teamwork is key to make the right decisions at the right time. Next to our commercial team, our team of business controllers is crucial to make that happen. “We manage risk not only for our customers and suppliers, but also for ourselves.” states Ferdy Bruyninckx, Senior Business Controller at Interfood. Ferdy has been with Interfood in the Netherlands for almost two years.

In June 2022 you started as a Business Controller at Interfood. What drew you to finance as a career, and what do you enjoy most about working in this field at Interfood?

“I was drawn to finance because I have a strong passion for financial analysis and want to have a meaningful impact on the company’s worldwide performance. The dynamic nature of markets and the opportunity to analyze and strategize financial decisions was for me the reason to join Interfood. It also allowed me to work closely together with the commercial team and make sure that the risks are managed and the best deals are done.”

You describe it as ‘impactful’. How does your work in finance contribute to Interfood's overall mission and goals, and what do you find most challenging about your role?

“My work as a business controller at Interfood is all about making sure the numbers align with the company's big mission and goals. Whether it's optimizing budgets, making strategic financial decisions, or ensuring resources are well-managed, my role directly impacts how Interfood grows and succeeds.

The most challenging part? Well, the constant juggling act of balancing financial strategies and risks with the ever-changing dynamics of the market can be quite a puzzle. Staying ahead of the curve, adapting to new challenges, and making sure our financial moves sync up with the company's overarching goals — that's where the real excitement and difficulties lie."

Can you talk about a time when you successfully implemented a financial strategy or process that improved efficiency or profitability for Interfood?

“On a weekly basis, we engage in the Mark-to-Market meeting with the MT and the commercial team. This gathering holds particular interest for us as business controllers because it serves as a focal point where various crucial elements converge. Discussions during these sessions encompass a wide array of topics, including financial decisions, risk assessment, market movements, and forecasting. We as business controllers have a crucial role in this process.”

What's your most memorable moment so far?

“I reckon a lot of people will answer this question the same way: The Interfood 50 years global event. This has truly been the highlight of my Interfood career so far. All employees from around the world came together, and we spent a weekend creating beautiful memories.”

What about the sense of purpose? Do you feel you can make an impact?

“Absolutely! The beauty of Interfood is that the lines are very short between all the different employees. There's a wonderful culture here where everyone's opinion is valued. Of course, from my role, I'm not the one determining which direction Interfood sails, but I definitely feel that my alternative perspective is appreciated and that I can truly make an impact.”

What does the organization have to offer?

“Interfood provides a (healthy) work environment from different perspectives and through various aspects. The starts with the daily free breakfast and lunch that is being offered. Secondly, the free gym and gym lessons they provide. Third, the opportunity you get to organize or attend various sporting events such as our weekly indoor football, a yearly triathlon or mud run, or our yearly tennis tournament.

But even more important, Interfood is an employer that empowers its people with autonomy, providing an environment for personal development and growth. By giving the employees the freedom to take responsibility and make a significant impact, they align individual goals with the corporate mission. All this is underlined and reinforced by the company culture and guiding principle "Together for better.”

You mention personal development and growth. Can you tell a bit more about learning and career opportunities?

“I think I'm a good example of that myself. After working as a Business Controller at Interfood for a year and a half, I've already been promoted to Senior Business Controller. You get the space and time here to showcase yourself, and when Interfood sees potential in you, they're not afraid to invest time and money in you.”

And how might a growth path look like?

“That's a tough one because there are a lot of options available. When I look at all the business controllers within Interfood, they have actually taken quite different paths. As a business controller, you get a comprehensive overview of the organization, so you see all aspects, which means nearly all options are open. You could consider moving towards a managerial role like mine, but there are also possibilities in the direction of trade. The options are endless!”

Which skills do you need to be successful as a business controller in the dairy industry?

“The dairy industry is constantly evolving, which means that as a business controller, you have to adapt as well. The world is changing rapidly, and as a business controller, you have the role of ensuring that you can effectively support the company in keeping up with those changes. This requires a wide range of skills, including persuasion, understanding of data, proactivity, and of course, analytical skills.”

Why should someone with a great job elsewhere consider working here?

“I can actually recommend everyone to come to Bladel and experience the atmosphere in the office. You feel the energy as soon as you walk in. We have a very young team and there is a fantastic open culture. Once you've been in the office, you'll fall in love instantly.”

Lastly, what advice would you give to aspiring business controllers interested in a career at Interfood?

“Be proactive and ready to ask questions. At Interfood, we're fortunate to have exceptionally smart people from whom you can learn a tremendous amount if you dare to ask the right questions. Feel free to come by and see what a fantastic environment we have!”

Ferdy Bruynickx 2

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