Joost Donkers, Director Supply Chain of Business Group Ingredients

Joost Donkers is Supply Chain Director of FrieslandCampina’s Business Group Ingredients and a happy man. Not just because Supply Chain Media recently crowned him Supply Chain Manager of The Year, but more so because of what he and his team (with whom he gladly shares the honour) accomplished to be worthy of the title: the merger of seven supply chains that created the Ingredients supply chain. “The biggest compliment is seeing how many people are inspired by what we do and want to come work for us.”

Always think about that baby

Another result of the work done by Donkers and his team, is that Supply Chain has gained influence within the company: “Supply Chain was never considered a deciding factor. We changed that. We proved that supply chain can be leading in decision making and identifying opportunities in the market. We are now represented in the executive leader team and can sit in the driver’s seat.”

That sounds terrific but may not be the main concern of someone considering a supply chain career in FrieslandCampina. Especially since it involves B2B products, often seen as B2C’s less sexy sibling. Donkers: “You’ll find our ingredients in products and applications all over the world. From aspirin to sports nutrition to beverages. You contribute to the quality of life of others and you do it while controlling the entire chain, knowing which bite of grass ended up in what product. Much of what we make is used in infant formula. What can possible be better than knowing you help a baby in a faraway country grow and be healthy? Everyone working here shares in the responsibility not to betray the trust the parents of that baby put in us. Always think about that baby.”

We can’t afford to miss

Other motivators that drive people to FrieslandCampina include the company’s sustainability goals. “We are a nourishing by nature company. We aim to get all the nutrition from milk as efficiently and effectively as possible and share it while keeping our environmental impact to a minimum. We have committed ourselves to the Paris climate agreement but want to be more ambitious than that. We aim to grow our business without growing our footprint in the future.”

The aforementioned shared responsibility is in a broader sense also one of the key characteristics of a supply chain professional at FrieslandCampina, says Donkers. “We are a prominent name in the market. That means we can’t afford to miss. Another thing we look for is an inborn drive or hunger for improvement. Of yourself, the people around you and the processes. What suffices today will be obsolete tomorrow, as a figure of speech. On the other hand, things are bound to go wrong once in a while. The key thing then is not to point fingers but to learn from your mistakes.”