Van Hessen has three Competence Centers: one for the gutroom, one for the selection of casings, and one for innovation in the area of IT. The Centers are an important pillar of Van Hessen’s strategy to create more value and offer higher quality to our customers and suppliers through innovation in these three areas. But who are the people behind these Competence Centers?
JURGEN SMITS The Gutroom Competence Center operates under the leadership of Jurgen Smits. “In the Competence Center we aim for a higher efficiency in the disassembly of the bowel package and look for improvements in the working environment of our people,” explains Jurgen. “To get there, we invent new machines if needed.” One of the more eye-catching successes of the center is the new knife that was introduced recently (see elsewhere in this magazine). “We approach entrepreneurship as inventors. Innovation is essential for the future of Van Hessen. We need to move forward. Stagnation is decline.”
HARMA EILANDER As manager of the Selection Competence Center (SCC), Harma Eilander usually travels around the world to analyze and optimize processes based on current best practices. However, for over a year now, Harma has been stationed in Paraguay due to travel restrictions. Working there on the launch of a new selection facility, it is still her task within the SCC “to ensure that our selection facilities around the world produce an exchangeable product.” Selecting casings is a specialism without formal training. It nonetheless requires great precision and skill in a dynamic market. “Our work has a tremendous impact on policy and strategy.”
MARCEL VAN DER TOORN Marcel van der Toorn works for the third Competence Center within Van Hessen. The Competence Center Enterprise Resource Planning (CERP) is perhaps slightly less known, but it is equally important. Marcel guides the implementation of Van Hessen’s ERP software, JDEdwards, and helps to bring innovation to the platform. “Don’t think of me as an IT specialist. More than anything, I’m a project manager. Trying to get all noses pointing in the same direction is always a challenge.” With JDEdwards, production processes are handled uniformly to make sharing data easier. “We do not only want to implement software; we also innovate,” explains Marcel. “For instance, we recently developed a tool to calculate uniform sales prices and started using it in The Netherlands. This has positively influenced our ability to understand our sales results.”