If you’re considering a career in the FMCG & Retail industry but feel uncertain where to start, our interview series with industry-leading companies will provide you with some valuable insights. We spoke with young professionals currently working in the sector, who share their personal experiences and insights from companies such as Ahold Delhaize, Pon, and Unilever.
Meet Sterre Fransz, a dynamic force within Ahold Delhaize, holding the position of Merchandising and Sourcing Assistant for their brand, Albert Heijn. Ahold Delhaize is the overarching organization not just of Albert Heijn, but also of Gall&Gall and Etos. In our interview, Sterre shares valuable insights into her role, the unique aspects of working at Ahold Delhaize, and shines light on the cherished company culture.
What is your full name and what is your position at Ahold Delhaize?
My name is Sterre Fransz, I am 24 years old and I have been working as a Merchandising & Sourcing assistant at Albert Heijn in the Beer category. Before this, I did an internship for the internship bureau of Ahold Delhaize.
What did you do before starting at Ahold Delhaize?
Before joining Ahold Delhaize, I pursued my studies at the Higher Hotelschool (Hogere Hotelschool) in The Hague. My desire has always been to work for a company that has a meaningful impact on people’s lives, which is why I opted for a comprehensive education that allowed me to explore various fields. This path also led me to an internship in the HR sector, ultimately shaping my current role in the commercial domain.
During my HR internship I learned a lot about the company, its culture, and their way of working. Through this experience, I realized that I wanted to continue building my career at Ahold Delhaize. However, I longed for a position that would allow me to make a more significant impact within the Netherlands. Therefore, I continued my career at Ahold Delhaize as a Merchandising & Sourcing assistant. In this role, I work closely with my managers to oversee and manage the beer shelves at Albert Heijn.
How do you experience your role as a Merchandising & Sourcing Assistant?
No two days are alike in the merchandising & sourcing department! While there are daily responsibilities to fulfill, the tasks at hand vary greatly, making it an exciting and dynamic role. A significant portion of my time is dedicated to Beer promotions, where I maintain regular communication with major suppliers. Together, we strategize and determine which brands will be featured in the promotion folder (bonus folder) and when we should highlight important themes such as the World Championship football or King’s Day.
Additionally, I am responsible for managing the assortment in our systems, and creating daily and weekly sales reports to track performance. Collaboration with the marketing and communications team is another integral part of my role. We work closely together to enhance the visibility of promotions. One aspect of my job that I particularly enjoy is the ample opportunity for personal input. If I identify a potential avenue for growth within the Beer category, I am encouraged to explore these possibilities.
What is it like working for Ahold Delhaize?
From the moment I started my internship at Ahold Delhaize, I felt an immediate sense of belonging. Unlike previous experiences where I was simply seen as “the intern” assigned to menial tasks, this internship proved to be refreshingly different. I was entrusted with substantial responsibilities, given room to make mistakes, and most importantly, encouraged to contribute my own ideas. As I transitioned into my current role, I received incredible support from fellow assistants, who were eager to help me settle in. Having a supportive environment where I felt comfortable asking questions allowed me to quickly adapt to my new responsibilities.
Additionally, I became a member of Young Ahold Delhaize, an organization that arranges fun drinks and activities, which allows you to meet new people every time. The relaxed atmosphere within the company makes working at Ahold Delhaize fun!
What is something you wish you knew before you started working in your role as a merchandising & sourcing assistant?
When I applied for the position, my manager insisted that I speak with the current assistant. This step was taken to ensure that I wouldn’t encounter any surprises once I officially started the job. I highly recommend this approach to everyone as it provides a clear understanding of the collaborative dynamics with colleagues and the specific tasks associated with the role. It truly helps in forming a comprehensive picture.
Additionally, I had many coffee meetings with other assistants who held similar roles but in different product categories than Beer. This allowed me to expand my network and gain insights into their respective areas. Through these conversations, I was able to discern which category I was most passionate about working in. Building connections and getting acquainted is key!
Can’t wait to get started as a Merchandising & Sourcing Assistant or do you want to stay up-to-date on other job openings at Ahold Delhaize? Connect with Ahold Delhaize on Magnet.me via this link.