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“The role of commercial project officer at HuizingHarvest really allows me to focus my energy on a subject I’m passionate about – the agricultural sector. My clients are mainly agricultural machinery manufacturers based in Europe, which means I frequently travel to visit clients and monitor, or even sometimes work on, technical projects. This international aspect, plus the fact that I gain insights into the processes at different machinery manufacturers, makes my job really rewarding. As a commercial project officer, I can play an active role in promoting acquired knowledge on industry developments.
I’m a regular visitor to trade fairs – both at home and abroad – where I meet and talk to current and potential clients. My first week at HuizingHarvest is a prime example. There was a robotisation fair scheduled in France and even though it was only my first week, I was allowed to travel there as a HuizingHarvest representative. My ticket was booked, and I had a limited amount of time to rehearse my English sales pitch about our company. The morning spent at the trade fair was pretty nerve-racking. I grew into my role as the day progressed, had my sales pitch ready and enjoyed chatting to a number of people.”
“Collaborating with this team is a great experience. Together with my colleague Michel, we divided up the client base and scheduled biweekly commercial meetings. We often speak to each other in between appointments and meetings, at the office or on the phone. I am also in close contact with colleagues from Product Support (our external technical service). These colleagues work on location-based projects, which means they aren’t always around. But they regularly drop by for a coffee and a chat if they’re working at the workshop in Emmen. These meet ups are really important, not only to be aware of what’s going on, but also how projects are progressing and to ascertain potential future projects. I strive to match projects to the interests and ambitions of our product support colleagues.”
“As a commercial project officer, it’s important to be aware of the client’s current situation and which projects are on the horizon. It’s also important to identify which professional is most suited to the job – including their individual qualities – to match the client’s requirements. When a project has been clearly defined and agreed upon, I prepare a quotation that includes the description of the project and these agreements. A follow up meeting is then planned with Frank, our technical coordinator, to fine-tune the details of the project. The process involves frequent contact with the client, both prior to and at the start of a project. There are often many different projects running at the same time.”
“We are frequently asked by our clients to actively collaborate and play a role in a number of diverse projects. This might relate to technical support, providing personnel training, freeing up clients from demo tours or offering advice on sowing and harvest optimisation. I’ve also had the opportunity to participate in a few projects. The one I enjoyed the most was on combines. This involved working with colleagues to dismantle four combines so that we could compare their designs. After a few weeks, they had to be reassembled and we documented every component and step taken.
I would like to have worked on certain projects more frequently but the great thing about this job is that you are involved with many different projects. For instance, I would have liked to learn how to fine-tune combines. There are also machinery manufacturers where I would have liked to gain some practical experience and knowledge. When it comes to certain projects, there’s a temptation to get personally involved. The great thing about working here is the level of opportunity provided for personal development. Training courses are offered to ensure that our colleagues are well prepared for projects. Thanks to my professional background, I had the opportunity to lead a training session on GPS systems, which was great fun to do!
The working environment is always positive and friendly, and these values are promoted throughout the company. This sense of shared responsibility means your day really flies past. The company has a very down to earth mentality and the whole team shares a passion for the agricultural sector. I’d like to offer the following advice to my successor: Wear casual shoes and a jumper during visits to clients. This is a company with a no-nonsense culture. There is always room for one-to-one conversations, even with clients. It’s important to be yourself and be social towards everybody. The working environment is fun and friendly, so make sure you keep it that way!”
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