‘We’ve got our house in order on an operational, tactical, and strategic level’

‘We’ve got our house in order on an operational, tactical, and strategic level’

Laurens Luijckx (30), Purchaser at VDH Products

What procurement entails

‘If I had to explain in a few words what I do at VDH Products, I’d say that I buy everything that is needed to make measuring equipment and control cabinets. For that, I liaise with our suppliers to see if we can get what we need, when we can get it, and at what price.’

Supply reliability

‘While price is a key factor in procurement, supply reliability might actually be even more important. You want to be sure that your products are delivered when you want, so that production can continue. As a purchaser, you play a key role in ensuring the stability of the production process. And that is especially true today, where you have to order certain components an extremely long time in advance.’

Strategy is key

‘Strategic procurement has, as a result, become increasingly important. That’s why everyone at our department works closely together. My colleague and manager Pieter Rauwerda takes care of the strategic side of procurement, and Wiebe Hut drives the transition from procurement to planning and production.’

Knowing both sides

‘I have a background both in sales and in procurement. This means that I know how the game of awarding contracts and negotiation works on both sides. The electrical engineering market, however, was new to me when I started here, but I like it a lot.’

Wanting good for each other

‘The art of procurement starts with knowing your market, knowing what you’re talking about, and coming up with well-founded proposals based on that. You also have to maintain relationships with your suppliers. Transparent, honest, and clear communication are the key to success in this respect. You want both of you to have good products at a reasonable price.’

Realistic sales offer

‘Needless to say, making a profit is very important. Our aim at the procurement department is to keep stocks small and maintain a steady flow of parts coming in and products going out. Our ERP software helps us with that. Well-founded price and lead time forecasts enable our sales department to issue realistic offers.’

Good work atmosphere and working hard together

‘From the moment I joined VDH as a purchaser in 2022, I’ve been going to work with a smile on my face every day. There is a good atmosphere with my closest colleagues, but also with people at other departments. There’s always room for a joke. VDH really feels like a family business: low-threshold, informal, full of helpful colleagues. And it all adds up to an environment where we can all work very hard together.’

Laying eyes on every part

‘Over the past period, both Wiebe and Pieter have shown me the ropes. We go over the MRP together twice a week. With 40 years of experience under his belt, Wiebe never ceases to surprise me; it is amazing how many item numbers he knows by heart. I often go to the warehouse myself, because I want to eventually have laid eyes on every single part.’

Production keeps going as normal

‘Whenever I spot a problem, I start solving it as if it were a jigsaw puzzle. First I identify all the factors, produce order out of chaos, and then I start getting things done. This is especially the case with rush orders. Things always get extra complicated when a certain material is not available. But a different material will then also work: our R&D colleagues will figure that out in no time. This way, the production department can keep going as normal.’

The relationship is important

‘Sometimes there is great urgency, such as when someone from production comes in to report that a certain item doesn’t fit or doesn’t work properly. We then engage with our supplier to work it out as quickly as possible. These are instances where it is extremely important that you have a good relationship Though you do challenge each other on errors, you stay respectful and get it solved in all reasonableness.’

We’ve got our house in order

‘Despite the long lead times for certain components these days, production has not been down one single minute over the past years. This means that we’ve got our house in order on an operational, tactical, and strategic level here at the procurement and logistics department. Our customers reap the benefits of that.’