Annemarie van der Werf - Buyer: ‘At Gpi De Gouwe, we work as a team to make beautifully engineered process equipment and process lines’

The fact that she is one of the few female employees at Gpi De Gouwe doesn’t bother Annemarie at all. She is not easily flustered by her predominantly male colleagues and business relations. As a long-standing employee who has been with the company for nearly ten years, she enthusiastically does her best to help bring Gpi to an even higher level.

“I started with Altermij De Gouwe, the predecessor of Gpi De Gouwe, as an administrative assistant and general Girl Friday”, Annemarie says when asked how she ended up at Gpi. After Altermij De Gouwe was acquired by the Gpi Group, she was promoted to the position of office manager at Gpi De Gouwe.

If you had to describe her in a nutshell, ‘eager to learn’ and ‘self-development’ are the keywords that immediately spring to mind. “I enjoy breaking (work) processes down into all the individual steps and immersing myself in the details. Because everyone plays an individual part in the work process, identifying the connections between everyone involved is all the more important, so that we can understand each other’s processes and possibly improve them”, she says. In addition to the general administrative duties that were her responsibility in her former position as an administrative assistant, Annemarie also handled a number of accounting tasks. “I felt I needed a better understanding of the financial ins and outs of a company, so I enrolled for and successfully completed a short course in accounting. This not only added an extra qualification to my CV, Gpi has also benefited”, Annemarie points out.

Annemarie van der Werf

Her career at Gpi continues to develop positively. She has been responsible for procurement since 1 December 2021. “The thing I like most about this position is that it combines everything I enjoy. I love seeing how all kinds of different components, ranging in size from tiny to large, come together to create well-engineered process equipment and the fact that my working days are so diverse”, she says cheerfully. “You never really know what the day is going to bring. The only thing I can say with any certainty is that my working day will start with a cup of coffee and a quick glance through my email, followed by the morning meeting with my colleagues from production and the warehouse to discuss where we are with our projects. That discussion always highlights (ad hoc) issues, which require action on my part in some cases. My work consists of approaching suppliers in order to procure parts, supporting colleagues and handling the financial aspects of the procurement transactions. The job can be chaotic sometimes, but it is always challenging and rewarding!” says Annemarie.

Annemarie van der Werf

Continuous improvement and development
Annemarie clearly enjoys her work. For example, she says that she feels comfortable with the company’s culture; the diversity of her colleagues, the family atmosphere and the overall trust and loyalty. “We make really good products and do so as a team. Each and every colleague has his or her role in this: that feeling of joint responsibility and all being in it together”, she explains. “You grow by continuing to develop and improve yourself, which has a positive effect on your work and, by definition, on the cleverly designed stainless steel process equipment and process lines that we make for the food industry in particular.” An additional advantage, in her opinion, is that Gpi is willing to give you the opportunities and trust you need to develop yourself further. Gpi is an open-minded group. A clear and focused company where finding solutions together in every area is the main priority. Where engagement, both within the company and outside, is a key driver and the attitude of ‘simply getting on with it’ suits her perfectly. When asked what value she adds personally, she modestly answers that she is always on the ball, keeps an eye out for possible problems and tackles them effectively when necessary, and always puts in at least 100%. “Speaking for myself: you’re never too old to learn, there are always things you can do, and ‘good enough’ doesn’t cut it with me, because you can always do better.”

Annemarie van der Werf

Personal attention
She also describes herself as a “people person” in both her work and private life. “I feel that a company should take good care of its staff, get to know them at a personal level and not just see them as faceless employees”, she says. So she is also a member of the Works Council (WoCo). “I ran for the Works Council because I want to make sure that my colleagues enjoy coming to work, in the knowledge that they can work safely and that the collective interests of all the employees are properly represented.”

Her job as company buyer suits her perfectly for the time being and she says that her work is challenging enough at the moment. “If I ever feel that this position no longer gives me the satisfaction I currently experience, I know that Gpi will definitely offer me opportunities to expand my horizons!”

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