In late 2022, food company Paulig in Roeselare was in need of temporary support from an experienced Business Controller due to maternity leave of one of their permanent employees. "Kevin De Clerck, Project Consultant at Transition & Support Roeselare, turned out to be the perfect fit for this job. Not only because Paulig & Poco Loco were familiar names to him as a resident of Roeselare, but also because of his extensive track record in controlling, strong analytical skills, and proactive focus on process improvements," says Carl-Philippe Verfaillie, Business Manager at TriFinance.
Paulig is a family-owned company in the food and beverage industry. The Finnish group produces tortilla chips and wraps for the brands Santa Maria and Poco Loco in Belgium (Roeselare), along with numerous private label brands. The Roeselare production site is the largest within Paulig, with 32 production lines and over 750 of the total 2,300 employees spread across 13 European countries.
We were looking for a Business Controller who could be a true business partner for the sales team.
Deborah Biard, Director Business Controlling at Paulig Customer Brands
Business Controller with strong added value
Paulig is a company in full growth and evolution. After acquiring the Spanish snacking company Liven in early 2022, the opening of a new tortilla factory in Roeselare was planned for late 2022. In between came the company's unexpectedly rapid withdrawal from the Russian market following the outbreak of war in Ukraine and the challenges of the crisis on the entire logistics chain.
Deborah Biard, Director Business Controlling at Paulig Customer Brands: "We were looking for a Business Controller who could be a true business partner for the sales team. As a private label company in a rapidly growing market, streamlining our portfolio is of great importance to engage in more proactive partnerships with our customers. Additionally, there were challenges posed by the market situation: raw material scarcity, high inflation, logistical chain issues... Experience in costing and margin control were important to us, along with strong soft skills: daring to challenge internal stakeholders sufficiently and taking a proactive dive into the numbers to spot opportunities."
Looking beyond the usual way of working
"I always approach a project with the idea of ensuring continuity for the client while also realizing optimizations. Which reports are being generated, and are they all being used by the stakeholders? Should improvements be made to the report? And, most importantly, are there opportunities to automate reporting, freeing up more time for tasks with added value?" explains Kevin. During the project, he also created several Power BI reports and shared his knowledge and experience in this area with the permanent team members at Paulig.
I always approach a project with the idea of ensuring continuity for the client while also realizing optimizations.
Kevin De Clerck, Project Consultant at TriFinance
"In recent years, we have evolved from separate divisions to an integrated group structure. The streamlining of processes and digital tools is still ongoing. Kevin's consultant perspective is highly valuable in this regard. With his analytical mindset and interest in processes and tooling, he proactively thinks about how the new systems can be best set up. In a short period of time, he has developed a good helicopter view within Paulig and can bring a lot of relevant experience from previous projects to the table," adds Deborah.
Paulig and TriFinance both have a flat structure and an open feedback culture. That match became evident during the initial conversations.
Carl-Philippe Verfaillie, Business Manager at TriFinance
Open feedback culture
Kevin is the first TriFinance consultant to realize a project at Paulig, and it is a collaboration that is being positively experienced on both sides. "Paulig and TriFinance both have a flat structure and an open feedback culture. That match became evident during the initial conversations," explains Carl-Philippe.
"The philosophy of TriFinance and Kevin's personality align well with Paulig's values: Strive for Excellence - Stay Curious - Grow Together. In our collaboration, I also notice that Kevin is highly motivated to go the extra mile and is not afraid to challenge the status quo. I have truly seen Kevin grow in his role over the past months, and this energizes me in the collaboration," concludes Deborah.