“You can’t deny what’s in your blood. That’s one way to describe my path. While studying Commercial Engineering, I was attracted to Logistics, but I chose Marketing and Personnel & Organization. After my studies, it quickly became clear that neither sector offered me the challenge I was looking for. Until I ended up at H.Essers. From the first introduction, I was immediately triggered by the ‘tangible’ nature of logistics. Working with people and physical processes instead of just numbers. Optimizing efficiency. Making process improvements. Those were the things I wanted to get involved with. So I did not hesitate for a moment and enthusiastically stepped into my Operational Manager Traineeship. Three years later, I am enormously honored to be nominated for the Rookie of the Year award.” – Lien Briers
The Operational Management Traineeship gave me the opportunity to discover every aspect of the job. Among other things, I took part in transport – and even went on the road with a driver – followed the managers and learned how rates are determined in solutions design. That knowledge is still very useful to me today. Then things moved very quickly. The vacancy at Operations Support matched my traineeship perfectly, so I applied immediately. Here I learned everything about the analytical and financial side of the warehouse. A year later, the position of Warehouse Manager became available. I felt I had sufficient knowledge of finance, but I wanted to grow in leadership. So I took my chance. With success. That position was the perfect preparation for my current job as Operations Manager.
The best thing about working in a warehouse? The activity and variety. I haven’t been bored a single day. A multi-customer warehouse, in our case pharma and chemistry, is of course quite complex. I see it as “our big project” to eliminate some of that complexity. Step by step, I want to make it a stable and profitable environment where everyone enjoys coming to work. I get great satisfaction when I can take myself and the team to the next level.
Furthermore, I value self-development very highly. If I don’t know something or find it difficult, I look it up, buy a book or ask for help. I have an excellent relationship with my Business Unit Manager. I can always go to him with questions. I can also just say what is on my mind. Thanks to his support and pats on the back, my journey is made a lot easier.
I worked on these improvements in recent years:
- Different layout of the hall for more space and efficiency
- A verifiable link between complaints and operators’ follow-up calls, also they get weekly updates on quality or complaints.
- Memory training through visualization of the ‘topic of the day’.
- Encourage correct sorting by ‘nudging’ (hooray for my marketing background)
- General operational improvements and system changes, such as optimal pallet composition for customers with different packaging types, barcode scanning, operators more specific to their specialization (pharma or chemistry) and standardization of procedures and systems.
I feel like a fish in the water at H.Essers and can totally identify with their company vision. I have a positive attitude and try to convey that to the team. I really enjoy people around me. I am also very interested in the sustainable aspect. As a transportation company, you can effectively make a difference.
About the future
I have been working as Operations Manager since July 1 and am still learning every day. So my further future plans have not yet taken shape. But I am certainly open to further growth when the time is right. I also get a lot of energy from self-development and “lessons learned.” It is always nice to find that your approach is even more effective and efficient the second time around. The translation of a creative thought process into a concrete noticeable improvement, that’s what it’s all about!
My lessons learned
Ever since I was young I have set the bar very high for myself. Very critical and never satisfied, even if the result was positive, I always had to perform to the max. My drive and perseverance have helped me a lot in the logistics sector, and vice versa. I have learned that you cannot control everything. And especially: that you don’t have to. Because unexpected situations always crop up. So let go. There is room for mistakes, it’s just a matter of putting things in perspective and looking for solutions. And ensuring improvement. I enjoy it when I can give free rein to my creativity and involve my team. I strongly believe in the wisdom of crowds and open dialogues. Not everything goes the way we want it to, but humor and connection are strong motivators.
My message to other rookies
Believe in yourself. When you are a recent graduate, you are somewhat unsure in the world. Because, of course, between practice and school is a world of difference. Get over that doubt and just get started. With a good dose of motivation and your logical mind, you will probably succeed. And good guidance, of course. I have nothing to complain about.