Lex van den Schoor - Business Information Manager
Data is, and will be even more, crucial within Interfood.
Hi Lex, could you please introduce yourself?
My name is Lex van den Schoor, I’m 27 years old and I currently live in Eindhoven. I’m originally raised in Heythuysen, a small village in the county Limburg, the Netherlands. In my spare time I love to play tennis and golf, watching other sports like football and F1 and I love to go out for diner and drinks. At the age of 17 I moved to Breda to study Finance at the Avans Hogeschool. During my study I got highly interested in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) and did two internships at large FMCG firms.
After obtaining my Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Friesland Campina gave me the opportunity to join them as a member within their ERP project. That’s when I got introduced to the dairy industry and more importantly, to Business Intelligence & ERP. After two years I moved to Interfood and started in the role of Reporting & BI Specialist. Implementing a new BI system during the Unite project (ERP implementation project) was one of my core activities.
Nowadays, I’m working as Business Information Manager, being part of the global IT team. In this role I manage a team full of enthusiastic data- and process specialists. Every day we work on new data insights, process improvements and digital innovations across the company.
What was your motivation to start a job at Interfood?
My previous employment was with Friesland Campina at the headquarters based in Amersfoort. I experienced that, although I loved the work, working within a big corporate has pros and cons. Due to the static organizational environment, it was hard to get changes implemented. I felt a distance between myself and decision makers and that’s hard because I’m constantly searching for innovations and improvements within IT or any other business domain.
With Interfood I found a “small” organization in terms of amount of employees, but business wise, acting really big in the dairy market. This, in combination with IT/analytics as a core strategic pillar and a position close to the decision makers, suits me perfectly.
What is your favorite thing about Interfood?
Every day I’m working with my international colleagues from all global offices. Together, we’re working on projects that contribute to Interfood’s core business and let us stay ahead of competition . I get the opportunity to work and learn new things and apply that knowledge.
Next to that, Interfood takes good care of their employees by providing, for example, a daily lunch, many activities with colleagues (and families) and the yearly Interfood weekend.
What is your best memory of your time at Interfood until today?
In the past 3 years I made a lot of nice memories. Business trips to the UK, Poland & Singapore definitely are on top of the list. Meeting my foreign colleagues and experiencing their work environment and cultural habits, really helped me in developing various skills. I will never forget the fun teambuilding activities with the colleagues from Singapore earlier this year. In addition, of course, the Interfood weekends are really cool. During those weekends you get to know your colleagues in a different way, which helps to develop (future) business relationships.
About your job at Interfood, what does your average working week look like?
My job is all about data insights, system integrations and meaningful innovations. I don’t have an average working week because I’m working on multiple projects all the time. I really enjoy the variety and agility. Per project my role is different, sometimes operationally and sometimes as project manager or product owner. It’s possible that on Monday I’m creating a new API or dashboard, followed by a strategical presentation to Interfood Management on Tuesday. I also regularly interact with 3rd parties, because we outsource activities or hire specialists with specific skills for projects. Since September 2019, I’m responsible for managing the data team. Supporting my team members in developing new insights and innovations is one of my main tasks and I really like that.
What do you like the most about your job?
For me the variety of activities, such as working on strategical and operational content, managing 3rd parties and supporting development of my team members, is the best possible combination. Next to that I enjoy the possibilities to learn new skills and to bring innovation to the work floor.
How do you see the future of business intelligence and (big) data for Interfood and the dairy industry?
Data is, and will be even more, crucial within Interfood. Becoming a data-driven organization is one of the recently formulated strategic pillars. Colleagues who know the business are armed with data to make confident decisions.
Nowadays, every organization has a lot of data at its possession. This can be internally generated data, publicly available market information or acquired data from 3rd parties. It will therefore become more important to have the right data architecture and data governance in place.
At Interfood, we can make the difference by connecting the data-analysts/scientists to people with domain knowledge. It’s so important because data can be interpreted in a lot of different ways, but by adding domain knowledge the reliability will increase.
Our internal data team is constantly searching for new data integration possibilities, which can lead to better decisions or potential new business. But, not only new data combinations can contribute to the business. Visualizing data in a different way can give the business totally new insights. That’s why we focus on both aspects.
Next to the data component, I expect an increase in system integrations within- and between companies. Our data architecture and data governance will therefore become more important than ever before. We are already preparing for the future with the Interfood Smart Data & Integration Hub. A data-platform that will help us to do it better and faster and at the same time we can use the platform to develop new things.
Connecting multiple systems of records can lead to less administrative tasks and gives potentially more focus on adding core business value. Smart system integrations contribute to a shorter time to market, drives new commercial opportunities and enables operational excellence initiatives.
Finally, what would you say to potential new team members?
Interfood enables you to develop yourself both within your personal and professional career. We work with an enthusiastic and young team that is always trying to get the best out of each other. As an Interfood employee you will make the difference in steering the operations. If you would like to work in a dynamic working environment with a lot of opportunities, you should join the Interfood family.
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