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Supply Chain & Customer Care
Together with his girlfriend Rianne, Bram lives in the idyllic town called Simpelveld, at a stone’s throw away from the Medtronic Heerlen office. Simpelveld is situated in the middle of the South Limburg hills, surrounded by such a great environment that we can imagine Bram’s main hobbies are related to outdoor sports: road cycling, mountain biking and running. Recently, Bram also participated in his first triathlon. It helps him to clear his mind after a dynamic day at the office.
After graduation, Bram joined Medtronic, which is almost nine years ago already. In the past years, Bram took some career steps which led to his current role as Coordinator Restorative Therapies Group (RTG) and Diabetes for the emerging markets - EMEA region (Europe, Middle East and Africa).
From a customer care perspective, I’m the first point of contact for the RTG & Diabetes business unit managers for the emerging markets region. It’s key to build a strong relationship with the business units, so that we can rely on and trust each other in order to streamline the end-to-end ordering process. During a regular day, I am having a lot of business calls to keep alignment between all parties and to improve processes if needed. In my role, I also need to coordinate high value tender orders and make sure quarter ends are managed well in terms of prioritization, allocations and shipping of goods. The end of a quarter is usually a rather hectic period. On the one hand, the incoming order volumes are very high and we need to make sure that these orders can be shipped in time. On the other hand, we are very committed to meeting our revenue targets.
After my bachelor’s degree in Sports, Economics and Communication, I immediately started at Medtronic in the customer care area. First, I was part of the order-to-deliver team for European customers, but after a few years, I switched to the distributor team for the emerging markets. When Medtronic merged with Covidien, I moved from the
Cardiac & Vascular Group (CVG) business to the Minimally Invasive Therapies Group
(MITG, the former Covidien business units) to become a Customer Care Coordinator for the emerging markets. Last December, I moved to the position of Coordinator Emerging Markets RTG & Diabetes.
My main challenge is to close the geographical and cultural gap between the different regions in the emerging markets and the European Operations Center (EOC) in Heerlen. Every region requires a different approach and has its own habits and culture, so it’s my main challenge to deal with these differences and don’t let this influence the final result.
What I like most in my role is to build a good relationship with my customers and with the related sales people in the field. When they are happy with my service, I’m happy as well. For example, it sometimes happens that a specific product is not available, while our sales colleagues need it to serve our customers and their patients. This sometimes causes frustration. If I can manage to get more stock available for these customers by working closely with our supply chain department, that has a direct impact on being able to serve our customers better and on the lives of our patients.
The fact that Medtronic is constantly on the move. I like to work in a dynamic environment because it requires me to challenge myself constantly. As a result of that, I am developing myself and I am learning every day.
We are shipping a huge volume of our products to the EMEA emerging market countries and these markets are strongly growing markets. Obviously, this will contribute to helping more patients to alleviate their pain, restore their health, and extend their lives. One of the challenges of the emerging markets is to reach more patients which do not have proper access to healthcare right now.
‘Further Together’ for me means that we – all the Medtronic employees from all over the world – work together to serve our customers and do whatever it takes to accomplish that.
Three years ago, I went to Dublin for two months to support the transition of Covidien activities from Dublin to Medtronic in Heerlen. Our task was to move all Covidien customer care activities to Medtronic. We got acquainted with the different customers and their habits, in order to avoid them being impacted by the transition. We also had to translate and transfer Covidien-specific processes to Medtronic processes. We were a group of
five colleagues in Dublin and we had a great time together. It also gave me the opportunity to explore the rest of Ireland during the weekends. Working abroad with these five colleagues is my most memorable experience of my Medtronic career.