The drive of… Nadine van Helvoort

Sometimes it seems like there is no such thing as coincidence. For example, a few months ago Nadine van Helvoort had the idea that being a plant manager would be the perfect next step in her career. That very same evening, she saw the opening for the position at Vetipak in Veghel. And the rest is history.


But it’s still fairly recent history, so now’s a good time to become acquainted...

“Yep, here it comes! I’m 31 years old, I live in the center of ’s-Hertogenbosch, and I have a thing for factories, so I studied Technical Business Administration. I started my career at FrieslandCampina, where I worked in a lot of different positions, from trainee, team leader, OPEX manager, assistant production manager and production manager, to cluster manager for strategic partnerships.”


Where does your affinity for factories come from?

“Since I was a young girl, I’ve always enjoyed seeing how things were made and what it took to make them. I’m most interested in the products I use myself, or that are pretty, or that I enjoy eating. And at Vetipak, we deal with items in all of those categories!”


“Vetipak’s strength is
that we really do everything together”


What do you think about your new role as the “boss” of a factory?

“It’s great! I especially enjoy the variety in the work. For example, I can go from a meeting with the team leader and the technical service to a strategic session on shaping partnerships. Vetipak’s strength in that process is that we really do everything together. Sales, innovation, quality, production, engineering... every department is involved in every step, and everyone gives their best. That gives me so much energy. And it’s also good for our bottom line!”


Has much changed since you arrived in Veghel?

“Not really. That actually confirms Vetipak was the right choice for me: the way we do things here is exactly my style. By that I mean that everyone’s equal and equally approachable, and that fun and hard work go hand in hand.”


What do you think is your biggest challenge?

“While we have to keep growing in a demanding market, we also have to remain a professional and flexible partner for our clients. I know we can manage this, because the average Vetipakker is good with technology, exceptionally creative and motivated to achieve the impossible.”


What role do you play in that?

“I’m really the hub of the wheel. I make sure that everything’s coordinated, I monitor the schedule and I take care of communications. So I do a lot of streamlining. I’m often also the initiator, because that way I can keep control over what’s going on. I really don’t like surprises.”


“Getting from a client’s request to a new line,
with the whole team: that’s what I love about the job”


What is your dream project?

“Getting from the client’s initial request to a new line, together with the whole team: that’s what I love about this job. We’re working on a project like that right now, actually, because we’re creating two new product lines for a leading snack and savory brand. As part of that project, our innovation branch studied how we can automate some parts of the process. Production also brainstormed with us during the preparation phase.”


Surely something’s going to change in Veghel in the future?

“A lot of things are going just fine, but of course there’s always room for improvement. For example, we currently work with a lot of short-term temporary production staff, but I’d rather have a more permanent team that I can turn into a well-oiled machine. I’d like to do that by building stronger ties with the staff, including by offering more training and education.”


Last question: what would be your perfect day at Vetipak?

“When the production process is running smoothly and people are enjoying their work. I’d also like to have taken a big step forward, either internally or together with a client – as long as we do it together!”