‘On the road from start-up to solid partner’

A fast-growing company, EZ Factory likes to talk to experienced and independent experts who act as a sounding board and help with strategic decisions. That is why we established an Advisory Council in May 2020, which has been a source of pride ever since. Below, an interview with chairman Toon Verhoeven (Bakker Logistiek CEO), who introduces the Advisory Council and talks about their main activities.

Why was the Advisory Council established?

‘EZ Factory is a young and energetic company with a great deal of potential. In a setting like that, one is forced to make choices all the time. When it comes to strategy, it isn’t so much about what you will do, but all the more about what you will not. It is important to remain focused on the things that matter. Enthusiastic entrepreneurs benefit from the ability to spar with other experienced professionals. We do this on a regular basis, the Advisory Council and EZ Factory’s management meet around six times a year to discuss current and strategic challenges.’

Who are on the Advisory Council and what are their contributions?

‘The Advisory Council consists of three people. Paul de Kroon fulfilled various strategic roles over the past twenty-five years in the areas of finance and technology, such as CEO at RBS Turkey & Israel, President at KrypC and chair of the Supervisory Board at Knab. With this background, he brings a lot of knowledge, experience and an international network in those fields.

Alexander Belderok has been a senior partner at Roland Berger for fifteen years now and has a great deal of experience in strategy development and supply chain management, including in the domains of agro-business, food, consumer goods and retail. In addition, Alexander represents Roland Berger Tenzing (assists start-ups with pro bono consultancy, among other things), which has committed itself to the success and expansion of EZ Factory.

I am the CEO of Bakker Logistiek. My prior experience includes thirty-two years with FrieslandCampina and eight years with Nestlé. I possess a considerable network and a lot of experience in the food industry, especially when it comes to production, logistics and supply chain. From our perspective, we are able to provide EZ Factory with objective advice.

Each one of us has a different approach and background when it comes to looking at the subject matter. We have a strong sense of responsibility for the advice we put out, so we dig deep, debate with persuasion, challenge, discuss scenarios and formulate proposals that can help EZ Factory with their decision making. This is also interesting for us, because it forces us to think about things carefully and explore new perspectives. Not to mention the fact that it is a lot of fun to be part of the rapid development that EZ Factory is going through.’

What are your most important topics of discussion?

‘We offer solicited and unsolicited advice about a wide range of topics that are put on the agenda either by EZ Factory’s management or by ourselves. This year for instance, it was all about pricing, sales strategy, collaborative partnerships and investor relations. Organisational topics were discussed as well, such as HR and compensation policy, internal reporting and KPIs. The overarching theme is always the same: how can EZ Factory develop in the future? It involves highly strategic questions that Alexander, Paul and myself are happy to commit ourselves to with all of our experience and network.’

What is the greatest challenge facing EZ Factory?

‘Randy Appiah and Robert Bouwman (EZ Factory founders) have created a successful start-up that absorbed a lot of time and financial investment. Now it needs to achieve the scale and margins of a ‘normal’ company. From the energy boost of the start-up phase to the steady profit and success of an established, mature organisation. A major step for company and founders alike. They committed themselves to the company with a great deal of enthusiasm and will now have to start delegating in order to achieve the desired growth. In addition, it is vital to make sure their attention is properly divided: continue to develop the product, attract new customers, expand the implementation with existing customers and thereby create structural value.’

What is your opinion of EZ Factory and their product?

‘It is a magnificent product because the EZ-GO platform helps operators execute their everyday tasks properly and it supports management with clear reports; an excellent foundation for continuous improvement. The focus currently remains with the manufacturing industry, but the platform can be applied wherever safety, quality, training and efficiency of processes can be improved. Plus, both the product and the company behind it are very flexible and most importantly: they truly understand the reality on the ground. The combination of a good product that really solves a problem on the one hand and committed leaders on the other, is a golden foundation for continued growth.’

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