What makes your job unique?
Mainly the fact that I’m the only person in the whole of Ahrend with this job! This role is so varied and I’ve been able to make it my own; that makes the job a lot of fun. My main task is to ensure that a delivery runs smoothly. I plan production, arrange transportation all over the world and am always present for delivery. The moment the lorry doors are opened is always exciting.
Every project is another surprise. Even if just one screw is missing, it’s up to me to take care of it as quickly as possible. In my job you have to act fast, so the client experiences as little disruption as possible. Luckily, I’m not prone to stress; if you are, then this job is not for you. But whatever happens, ultimately it comes down to good communication. If you can explain why something is happening, usually people will understand.
‘The moment the lorry doors are opened is always exciting.’
What do you notice about work cultures around the world?
In general, people in Europe like large spaces, whereas that’s not so much the case in the US, for example. But that’s changing, like everything always changes. Employers can attract good people with a good office environment. You should be able to feel better at work than at home. I see a lot of change in that. Offices are changing from large spaces full of desks to work at, to a pleasant place to meet.
Why do you like working at Ahrend?
I love the flexibility. I don’t have to go to the office every day and I travel all over the world to supervise projects; that’s fantastic. But mostly I love the company culture. Maybe it’s because it’s a Dutch company, but everyone is really kind and caring towards each other. It was completely different with my previous employers in Prague. I really like the Ahrend vibe; it’s unique and that may be the most important thing in my job here.
‘I travel all over the world to supervise projects; that’s fantastic.’
‘Some adventures will stay with me forever.’
Which jobs really stand out in your memory?
In particular, the projects in faraway countries. Kazakhstan for example - we were there with more than fifty lorries. But it was the dead of winter, with temperatures of -25 degrees and a wind chill factor of -50. Not everyone could handle the conditions. I never thought I would ever feel so cold...
At the other extreme was Nigeria. There were mosquitoes everywhere and the temperature was around 40 degrees. You’re wearing long sleeves, a helmet, gloves, goggles... And this was in one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Even more dangerous than Iraq, where I have also been. We had an escort from the airfield to the refinery. Afterwards, I was proud and relieved that it had all gone to plan. These adventures will stay with me forever.
When are you proud of your work?
I’m proud and happy if the client is, if they express their satisfaction, in any way. Because, don’t forget: there’s no such thing as an easy project. But if I have to name one specific job, it’s Booking.com, one of the largest projects in the history of Ahrend. This was for 50,000 workstations all over the world. In three years we completed 270 projects in 57 different countries. That was an enormous challenge. You have to deal with time differences, different cultures... and finding the right people in-country. When it all finally comes together, that does make me a little bit proud.
‘I never thought I would ever feel so cold.’