Pieter Jan de Vries

Purchase Assistant
I was in contact with several companies about an entry-level role. The deciding factor at the time was the feeling I could really make progress at HTG.
  1. Pieter Jan, can you tell us how you ended up at HTG?

    After my studies, I started applying for jobs and I was approached by the HR department at HTG. I’m from nearby Delfzijl, so I thought it would be good to find out if this company was suitable for me. I never knew there was such a large and international company only half an hour’s drive from Groningen! HTG’s international aspect is particularly suitable for me and my education: International Business & Management. I was in contact with several companies about an entry-level role. The deciding factor at the time was the feeling I could really make progress at HTG.

  2. What are your daily tasks?

    It’s quite a list! My work includes arranging purchases, processing invoices, and entering orders into the system. I also arrange the transport for goods we’ve purchased to ensure that everything arrives at our warehouse in good order. This involves a lot, especially if things are not running as planned. For instance, we might have to reschedule a transport, or goods may be missing. I stay in contact with all departments to make sure the purchasing process runs smoothly. Because of some gaps at the department, I have also assumed responsibility for part of our exports to Taiwan and Asia. So you could say my role is a combination of both purchasing and sales. For export, I mainly look after the required documents, but for purchasing I also have a lot of contact with customers.

  3. In your opinion, what skills should a good Purchase Assistant have?

    You have to be very flexible. Nothing is set in stone and things can change in no time. Really, there are surprises every day, such as agreements that are not being kept or developments in the market. Sometimes everything goes your way and sometimes nothing does; that’s what keeps the work so varied. It is important to be agile, so you can switch between different tasks and different working methods. You should also know how to respond to cultural differences in your customer contact. Inquisitiveness is also very important! Keep asking questions about your work – an interest in the profession will make you progress quickly. There is so much to learn about how the market works, so it is important you are genuinely interested.

  4. How would you describe HTG as a company?

    The mix of young and old is a real distinctive feature! The team are very diverse, with a combination of long-serving colleagues and recent starters. The group is very welcoming. It’s very easy to meet and get to know colleagues too, in the gym or at one of the organized events, for instance. Personally, I am in touch with other departments a lot, and I really make time for this: a quick phone call, pop into the office to discuss a matter – it’s the best way to get to know each other.

  5. Finally, how do you envisage your future at HTG?

    I’ve been clear about my intention to be a Trader from the very first time I came here for my interview. I wanted to start with the basics and thoroughly get to know the company so I could progress from there. I am well underway by now: the work is going well and I was given a permanent contract quite quickly. A progression to Trader feels natural to me, with more customer contact and travel abroad!