‘In the supply chain, the results of your work are tangible from the word go, which has always fascinated me.’
‘After graduating from secondary school in Düsseldorf, I took the international track at Maastricht University School of Business and Economics. Supply chain management drew my attention right away due to the diversity and growth opportunities in the industry. That is also why I chose to do an internship at a German supply chain consulting firm in Düsseldorf. During my time there, I got to experience just how diverse the work could be. After my degree, I made the switch to Erasmus University Rotterdam, where I graduated cum laude in supply chain management in 2018.’
Jens wrote his master’s thesis for Heineken, where he set up the implementation of an online merchandise shop. The brewing company was so impressed that they brought him in as project manager. After a little over a year, a job opening came up in Nigeria – an opportunity to work abroad. Jens grabbed it with both hands and launched a logistics service provider management programme in the African country. ‘I worked eighty-hour weeks, that’s how challenging this job was. But I did get to learn an awful lot.’
Around that time, COVID-19 began to take hold of the world, and Jens decided to take a short sabbatical to explore opportunities as a consultant and find a more varied job. He obtained a handful of certificates and began looking for firm that might suit him. ‘By dumb luck, I ended up on the second page of the Google results and found 4Supplychain Consulting right at the top. While they were a relatively small firm, they responded to my mail right away. Some firms take weeks to get back to you, but their reply was instant. I had an interview with Paul and Jasper the very next day and before I knew it I had a job.’
After a short familiarisation period at 4Supplychain Consulting, Jens rolled up his sleeves and got going. First, he went looking for a tool to improve trade promotion for a German sweet manufacturer. Next, he worked as a project manager at a logistics company where he was made responsible for expanding their refrigerated warehouse.
After that, a franchise of one of the largest supermarkets in Belgium and France asked Jens to implement end-to-end optimisation. ‘Waste rates at the fresh fish counter and bakery counter almost hit 15%. Our team analysed routing and the ordering systems and made significant proposals for improvements. I am fascinated by the process: you make improvements, cut costs, and the chain becomes more sustainable as a result.’
Next, Jens and a 4Supplychain Consulting colleague were deployed at a large Dutch pasta producer to implement an S&OP cycle. ‘We improved the sales and operations process and changed the schedule to help the manufacturer cope with peak demand.’
Currently, Jens is working with a major UK juice and smoothie producer as a consultant. Again, he is working on optimising the operations process and looking to increase production by more than 100%, as per the brief. Planning and operations have been aligned and the production process is currently undergoing a long list of improvements. Jens: ‘I love improvement processes with all my heart. The consequences of your work are so direct and tangible.’