After working for the Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) and travelling the world as a flight attendant for eight years, Nicole landed in Valkenburg and started working for Medtronic in January, 2009. First as a temporary contractor, and in November 2009, she was hired permanently. At this time, Nicole is the Manager Customer Care Benelux.
My teams and I work closely together with our customers, patients and our business units to provide a smooth order-to-delivery process. It is important for our team to understand the hospital processes and our own internal processes, so that we can align these and better support our customers. We want to understand the customer needs and we try to meet these as much as possible. We support our business units by translating their business ideas into operational processes. As the Customer Care team, we are right in the middle of the operational action and in close contact with various internal departments to improve our processes – from contracting & pricing to finance teams, from supply chain to transport teams, from order entry to project teams.
I used to be a flight attendant, and while traveling, I always wondered what happened inside offices and warehouses. Now I know! After eight years of working for KLM, I decided to make a career change. Never thought I would end up in an office and work closely together with a warehouse. With my hospitality background, I ended up at the Medtronic Customer Care department. I started off with supporting the Diabetes business unit and the Restorative Therapy Group. After a few years, I was promoted to Team Supervisor in the Netherlands and I also supported the Benelux organization for more than a year. After the merger with the company Covidien, Medtronic became much bigger and I was promoted to Manager of the Dutch Customer Care team. Last year, the Belux Customer Care organization was added to my role again, which broadened my scope. I am now responsible for the Benelux and Diabetes Customer Care teams.
Medtronic grew fast and became more complex for our customers. The main challenge for us is to smoothen our processes and making it easy for customers to do business with us. At the same time, we are going through changes together and we need to be ready for the future in healthcare. Medtronic has so many capable and skillful employees that are working hard to make improvements. Everybody understands we are not selling just any product, but products that can change a person’s life.
I like the fact that you gain so many insights into a big company. And that you work with various departments to get end-to-end visibility on how a company as Medtronic operates. I also like being able to work closely together with our customers. Working with our customers, hearing what is important for them and what their internal processes look like, so that we can align our processes as much as possible.
We are not selling just any basic product or solution. We are selling products that can really change a person’s life. I find it important to be committed to the brand and to the products or services that we sell. Every year, we organize a Patient Event, where patients and their doctors talk about the Medtronic therapies they received, and what a difference they make to the lives of these patients. Those stories make you proud to be a part of this organization. And it does not matter whether you are selling the product, developing new products, entering orders, working in IT, finance, legal, HR, the distribution center or supporting at an implant, everybody plays a role which contributes to changing a patient’s life. As we say: “There is a patient behind everything that we do.”
Being fully aware of what we are doing and why we are doing what we are doing. Being able to think from a customer’s perspective and understand that there is a patient behind everything that we do.
For me, it always meant to work together with our customers, sharing experiences and knowledge within the organization. Creating a strong foundation for the future.
It also means something else to me. Recently my partner unexpectedly passed away. I was in a complete shock. As from that moment, my life just stopped while the world around me kept moving. Within our customer care and supply chain organization, we have some ground principles and “Being there for each other” is one of them. That is exactly what I experienced. The amount of support I received throughout the organization is heartwarming. Colleagues took over my work and were there to help me get back on the fast-moving Medtronic train. As one colleague mentioned in a card she send to me:
“Know there is a Medtronic family waiting for you”. That is exactly how it felt when I returned to the office. Further Together…
Knowing that there are so many people in the organization that really care is very special. Caring about our patients and caring about each other, that, for me, is Medtronic.
The last few years have been very challenging, as we faced an important system outage and the hurricane that hit in Puerto Rico. These events impacted our supply facilities and the local employees over there, and they also highly impacted our customers and employees. What I experienced, was that everybody stood up as one team. All together, we had one common goal and that was to get our products to our customers. Within my team, everybody was standby for duty day and night. At one point in the weekend, after the system outage had been resolved, only one WhatsApp message was enough to get everybody online on a Sunday morning to start processing orders. And it was not only our team, together with all other teams within Medtronic, we went the extra mile as one team during these challenging times.
This is also what I see now during the COVID-19 situation, everybody adapted so quickly to the situation. Working from home as much as possible. Colleagues in the warehouses that do an amazing job. The Respiratory & Monitoring business that is going the extra mile to make sure that COVID-19 patients get the products that are needed. Employees from other teams that stepped in to support our Diabetes team during the COVID-19 situation. It is so special to see the resilience of the employees and the drive that everybody has. It makes me proud to work for Medtronic.