Martijn Derks, Mars: ‘‘My goal is for supply chain resilience to become part of our DNA’’

Martijn Derks

Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) coming into effect in 2024, there is an urgent need for supply chains to be able to sway in the breeze rather than being toppled by the first gust of wind. This calls for supply chains to be made transparent and much more flexible. At Mars, they have created a specific role for this, which is fulfilled by Martijn Derks. What are his thoughts on the near future?

In high school, Derks dreamed of working in a biscuit factory and analysing how to produce more biscuits using the existing production lines. It ended up being chocolate bars and pet food rather than biscuits. “I’ve always been fascinated by optimizing dynamic situations, even from a young age. I grew up in the Dutch province of Brabant and we often drove past the Mars facility in Veghel. I found that company inspiring, and it’s partly why I decided to study Industrial Engineering & Management in Twente, to learn how to apply mathematics and physics to food production and distribution,” he says.

What was your first role at Mars?

“I started as a supply chain planner and was immediately responsible for implementing a new planning methodology. It was essential that I had a good understanding of the operation, so I learned an awful lot about the interaction between procurement, production and logistics. I then took on the role of Operations Project Lead, focused on the implementation of continuous improvement projects, so I had to understand the finer details of the production processes. Those operational roles gave me a very solid grounding that came in very useful later on in my career. I learnt to understand how things worked in practice, both in the factory and warehouse and elsewhere in the supply chain.” … … …

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